Simon Wood

Posts Tagged: crime

TOTGAMy blog tour for THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY has concluded.  So if you missed any of my stops along the way, here are the links to my cyber travels:

TOTGA also picked up a number of nice online reviews:

Quiet Fury
Will Kill For A Story
Carol Taylor Reviews
Debbie Davis
Ebook Friendly
Kings River Life

Please check out all the links and thanks to everyone who’ve helped make TOTGA the success it has been so far.

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TOTGASo THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY has been out for a month (two if you’re an Amazon Prime Member) and reader feedback has been coming in.  Quite a lot of it actually.  On Amazon.com, the book has racked up almost 2,000 reviews so far.  This is understandable as TOTGA (as the cool kids aka my editor calls it) is by far my fastest and bestselling book so far.  Phew!  I may be in publishing for a little while longer.

But a lot more readers mean a lot more opinions.  Luckily for me, people more often than not like TOTGA.  Thank God for that.  I was a little worried about reader feedback because there’d be a lot more people reading out of genre.  More exposure is nice…as long as everyone is of the same opinion and a positive opinion at that.  Well, it looks as if it is so.

Actually I’m quite pleased about TOTGA’s reception.  People, by and large, got it.  They embraced Zoë Sutton warts and all.  I wasn’t sure readers would, considering she is someone suffering from PTSD, which makes her a little difficult to like or understand at times.

But with every book, I get feedback that I wasn’t quite expecting.  So here are a few findings:

  • Quite a few people want or think TOTGA is the first in a new series. I didn’t have any plans to make Zoë Sutton a series character but now you’ve got me thinking. At this point I don’t know how I would take Zoë forward and maintain the same level of danger.
  • I’m surprised and amused by how many women have said they’re going to take fight classes after seeing what happened to Zoë. So be warned predatory men, the ladies are no pushover.
  • I’m touched by the therapists and victims of violence/stalkers thought I got Zoë right. This was a tough book to write because I tried to interview a number of victim support groups and all of them declined to speak to me so I’m glad people feel I got it right.
  • Some people have thought the violence is quite graphic and to be honest, most of the violence is off the page. It’s like Psycho, you see the knife but you don’t see anyone get stabbed. It’s your mind embellishes the rest.
  • And speaking of embellishments, I’ve had a few emails describe scenes/events that never took place. It happens with every book. People always bring something to the story.
  • People think the book is short but it’s longer than my last three and quite a bit longer than the average James Patterson. It’s a product of my writing style that it’s focused and pacey so it tends to feel brief.

When a book meets the public, it’s exciting and daunting because it’s an interpretive voyage of discovery…and the discovery will continue as the book continues to travel.

 

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TOTGAI have a soft spot for autograph hunters and book collectors.  Book collectors kindly gave me an education in the education of book collecting and autographing when my first book came out (as I wrote about previously).  So I’ve always made a point of making myself available for an autograph.  If you want a signed copy of my latest thriller, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, I’ve got you covered in three ways.

  • Autographed copies can be ordered from my website bookshop.
  • You can request a bookplate and I’ll send one out free of charge. Just drop me a note here.
  • And I can even autograph ebooks through Authorgraph.com.

So if you want that book signed, just let me know.  I’m here to please.

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TOTGAI am a proud father all over again in that I am happy to announce the official release of my new thriller, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY.  The back jacket blurb goes a little like this.

“Graduate students Zoë and Holli only mean to blow off some steam on their road trip to Las Vegas. But something goes terribly wrong on their way home, and the last time Zoë sees her, Holli is in the clutches of a sadistic killer. Zoë flees with her life, changed forever.

A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoë latches on to a police investigation where the crime eerily resembles her abduction. Along with a zealous detective, she retraces the steps of that fateful night in the desert, hoping that her memory will return and help them find justice for Holli. Her abductor—labeled the “Tally Man” by a fascinated media—lies in wait for Zoë. For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.”

You don’t have to take my word for it, the books picked up some nice blurbs:

“Simon Wood’s THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY turns the serial killer convention upside down in a genuinely suspenseful novel.”
—Charlaine Harris, author of THE DAY SHIFT

“Wrenchingly intense–the talented Simon Wood goes psychologically dark and deeply disturbing.  For those who like their thrillers twisty, shocking, and relentless.”  
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, author of TRUTH BE TOLD

“Zoe Sutton is one of the most compelling, interesting, and complex heroine’s I’ve read in a long time.”
—Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of NOTORIOUS

“Marvelously nerve-wracking, The One That Got Away is a wicked roller-coaster of suspense that paints a realistic picture of a serial murderer and Zoë Sutton, the one prey that got away.”
—Gayle Lynds, New York Times best-selling author of THE BOOK OF SPIES

We’ve picked up some early online reviews:

Quiet Fury
Will Kill For A Story
Carol Taylor Reviews

It’s available in paperback, as an eBook, on CD and as an audio download.  I hope you like it and please, please, spread the word by sharing this post and annoying family, friends and strangers.  Word of mouth is everything.

Thanks for listening.

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ROAD RASH plays to my two storytelling loves—crime and the supernatural. I don’t do it often, but I love to blend the genres. It’s the story of bank robber, James Straley. He might think his life is cursed, but it doesn’t compare to what lies ahead of him on life’s highway. He’s on the run with the proceeds of a botched bank robbery. It’s all he has. His crew is dead and his getaway car just died on him. He’s on foot with the cash when he comes across a two-car pileup. There’s no saving the drivers, but he saves himself by stealing one of the wrecked cars. Unfortunately, he boosts the wrong set of wheels. Within an hour of driving off, he develops a rash that eats away at his flesh. No doctor can help him—only the car’s original owner. If Straley wants his skin back, he must journey on the road to redemption.


The book started out as a short story and was one of a number of stories I’d been writing with the theme of road travel. I’d been examining the whole aspect of road travel by writing stories that ranged from cars to bicycles, from traffic offenses to road regulations and everything in between. I used these stories to put a dark twist on an aspect of our lives we take for granted. Road Rash was one of a number of tales I’d written based on turning a common term on its head. I liked the idea of road rash being something that could be contracted from the roads if someone wasn’t careful. I submitted the story to an anthology and the editor loved the story, but said it needed to be a book and an exotic twist would knock it out of the park.

When it came to the exotic twist, I knew just what to use. I’m quite an empirical person. I like to write about things I understand, things I’ve actually taken part in or things I have some experience with. So, I hoard experiences to the point of going out of my way to take part in things whether I need them for a story at the particular moment or not. So naturally, when someone offered my wife and I the chance to attend a Santeria ritual while we were traveling in Guatemala, I jumped at the chance.

I don’t think I could have made this up if I tried, it was that wonderful and spooky. The community that practiced Santeria lived in the shadow of three volcanoes and a lake isolated them from the mainland. The only way of getting to them was by boat. We took a trip out to the island, which amounted to a shantytown. People selling handicrafts covered the jetty where we landed. A kid no more than eight said he knew why we’d come to the village and for a buck he’d take us to the witch. He led us through the dirt-covered streets and down an alley into an unfinished cinder block room. An effigy sat in a chair with a cigarette drooping from its lips and a trail of smoke leaking skyward. All sorts of knickknacks and trinkets surrounded it. A woman as old as time shuffled around in an adjoining room. A young woman asked us to sit on the floor and take part in some unknown ceremony. It goes without saying that it was more than a tad creepy and our nerves didn’t hold out, so we got the hell out of Dodge before something happened. I’m as superstitious as the next person. The imagery was very potent and the incident stuck with me and dovetailed nicely into the exotic element the editor wanted for Road Rash. I don’t pretend to understand half what I witnessed, but the incident inspired me to develop a great backdrop for James Straley when he’s forced to travel to Guatemala. It gave the story a whole new different dimension.

James Straley wasn’t as fortunate as my wife and I, as he had stay for the ritual. The experience changes his life forever and hopefully it’ll change yours too when you read it.

Yours eagerly,
Simon

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Are you British? Do you read ebooks?  Then this the place for you!

Several of my books are being promoted this month and having promotional pricing to go with it.

PAYING THE PIPER is only 99p (in eBook form) this month over at Amazon UK with 40% off the paperback.
“For years, the serial kidnapper known as the Piper got rich by abducting children from San Francisco’s wealthiest families. When crime reporter Scott Fleetwood gets a call from a man identifying himself as the Piper and offers an exclusive interview, Fleetwood jumps at the chance. But the caller turns out to be a fake, and the rash decision costs the life of the real Piper’s latest victim.For eight long years, Fleetwood has lived with unbearable guilt—and the enduring disdain of the entire Bay area. Now he hears from the real Piper—and it’s not for an interview. The kidnapper has the reporter’s son. But he doesn’t want money…he wants blood. And he’s going to use Fleetwood to get it.”
WE ALL FALL DOWN is only £1.49 at Amazon UK
“Hayden Duke just landed a coveted contract gig with Marin Design Engineering, largely thanks to his old friend, Shane Fallon. The dream job becomes a nightmare when Shane takes his own life in a seemingly drug induced stupor. The only clue to Shane’s death is an e-mail with an encrypted file he sends to Hayden. It’s a file people would kill to possess. Now Hayden’s got to risk losing everything…before he loses his life.”
My workplace violence thriller , TERMINATED, is only £1. at Amazon UK.

Stephen Tarbell needed that promotion. But they had to go and give the job to his supervisor, Gwen Farris. Now Tarbell has had enough—and he’s about to put Gwen on notice. She has two choices: give him a glowing review on his performance evaluation or suffer the consequences.  Gwen has already survived one violent attack, fifteen years ago. But even that experience couldn’t prepare her for Tarbell’s relentless fury. Pulling a knife on her was just the beginning. Like a sadist peeling the wings off a helpless fly, Tarbell is determined to pick apart her life using every means of physical and psychological torment. The company’s security firm says they’ll handle the situation, but whose side are they really on? And how do you stop a psychopath so consumed by hate he thinks he’s the one being persecuted?
 ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN is on 99p over at Amazon UK.  This was my first novel and after a decade it continues to keep riding the charts from time to time.  I think it’s because of the provocative storyline.
“Josh Michaels isn’t wanted dead or alive—just dead. That fact becomes shockingly clear when a stranger runs his car off the road. Instead of a helping hand, the man gives Josh a “thumbs down” and abandons him to what is almost certainly a watery grave. Luckily, Josh cheats death…this time. But when more harrowing “accidents” threaten his life, it’s clear he’s a marked man.  As his time and luck rapidly run out, he must unmask an insidious conspiracy bent on making a killing—in more ways than one.”
I hope these have whetted your whistle to give them a read…
 

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The German edition of THE FALL GUY came out a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I’d share the story behind the book.

For every seventeen-year-old male in the UK, the number one purchase is a car. It’s a rite of passage–the first step towards adulthood and independence.

I was in engineering college when I turned seventeen. My birthday occurred late in the school year and several of my friends had already turned seventeen, passed their test and gotten cars–albeit jalopies for a couple of hundred quid.

John was the first of us to get his wheels, a ’72 Ford Cortina. Instead of running for the train to get to and from college, we rode with John. The convenience of car ownership was all too apparent to me, even by proxy. The responsibility of this convenience came a few weeks later. We’d returned back from lunch to the college parking lot. John found a stall behind the science block and went to park. He backed the car up, doing all the right things, but his skill deserted him and he reversed into the side of the Vauxhall Cavalier. There was no mistaking the buckling of sheet steel.

We all froze and waited for John’s reaction. Panic spread across his face. He had just kissed goodbye any possibility of a no claims insurance bonus.

“Do you think anyone saw?” he asked us.

The parking stalls were pretty secluded from the main parking lot. We looked around and saw no one.

“We’re going. Cool?”

We didn’t reply, just nodded. John burnt rubber and parked on the street a couple of blocks from the college. We walked back to our afternoon classes. John told us we weren’t to talk about this. He was stern, but I noticed his hands were shaking. He knew the crime he’d committed and the one we were accomplices to.

I was beginning to think we’d gotten away with it by mid-afternoon, until the cops interrupted second period. Two officers walked in with one of the college lecturers and some kid I didn’t know. One of the cops asked for John by name, but not the rest of us.

My heart was pounding, so I couldn’t imagine what John’s was doing. Unlike most college kids, we had more to lose than the rest. We were employed by an array of big name companies underwriting our college education and paying us a salary.

John came back thirty minutes later, looking sheepish. We were forced to wait until break to find out what had gone down with the police. We’d thought our crime had gone undetected but we were wrong. One of the other lecturers had witnessed the fender bender from the classroom. The lecturer not only knew us, but he knew the name of the second year student who owned the Cavalier. Giving the cops their due, they were pretty cool about it all, all things considered. They weren’t pressing any charges as long as John paid for the damage. They would be checking in with all parties to make sure amends were made.

John made good on his error and the event never made it back to our respective employers or parents. We all learnt our lesson. It was a stupid thing to do and we were damn lucky to have gotten away with it.

About a year later, a form of retribution came knocking. Kevin (who’d been in the car with us) came back from lunch to find a broken headlight and a note under his windshield wiper. The note said: People think I’m leaving you my name and address. I’m not.

No one had witnessed the incident and Kevin was left to carry the expenses.

These two incidents have always stuck with me. It’s one of those situations where I’d been on both sides of the equation, even if it was by proxy. So when it came to writing THE FALL GUY, my thoughts fell upon these two incidents and the storywas born. In the novel, the down on his luck protagonist, Todd Collins, backs into a Porsche and leaves a note not dissimilar to the one Kevin found under his windshield. This sets in motion a series of calamities, which winds up with Todd being indebted to organized crime and spending the rest of the story trying to get the monkey off his back.

I don’t know if I wrote the story as a penance or a warning to others, but it may have something to do with a theme that occurs in many of my stories. A crime, even a little one, can’t remain covered up for long. I learned that when I was seventeen.

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