Great Thrillers Club Monthly Newsletter

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Read reviews and recommendations for some of the best thrillers from a wide variety of thriller writers, get free prize draws, see titbits from the world of books and technology, and news from thriller writer Ian Coates.

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Great Thrillers Club Newsletter Archive

June 2022

Murder, kidnap, and extortion fill the thrillers in this month’s reviews. We’ve got an exciting standalone novel from Simon Kernick and a great mystery thriller from Peter May in his Enzo McLeod series.

As the annual Dagger Awards approach at the end of the month, crime reading gets celebrated this June in Crime Reading Month. Learn more about it below, as well as seeing a colour-changing car, learning how publishers are turning green, and entering this month’s competition.

As always, we’d love to hear your recommendations for authors and thrillers to add to our review list, and any comments or suggestions for topics to cover in the newsletter. Just hit reply to send us an email. We read every one we receive.

Happy summer reading!

First of This Month’s Thrillers: We Can See You by Simon Kernick

Kernick makes life for his protagonist Brook Connor more painful with virtually every chapter. Her problems start when her daughter, Paige, is kidnapped – terrifying enough in itself, but her life continues to unravel further as she battles to stay firm and recover her child. Eventually, she’s arrested for multiple murders.

The book cleverly cuts between her interview at the police station and the earlier events surrounding her hunt for her daughter. When Paige was snatched, Brook and her husband got a phone call from the kidnappers, but they won’t talk to Brook, only to her husband. He is acting strangely, and she begins to suspect he is somehow involved. Her mind is in turmoil as they drive to the handover, but things don’t go as planned and life for Brook starts to worsen.

Soon, she wonders if there’s anyone she can trust. All she knows is she has to stay alive and out of a prison cell long enough to find Paige.

I found it strange at first that Kernick had set this book in America. I thought this might have been his publisher’s doing, wanting to make the novel more attractive to that market, but then I decided it was probably because handguns play a key part in the story and it would have been difficult to keep the plot realistic in the UK, where firearms are not readily available. In the end, I concluded it was probably both reasons – the somewhat annoying use of American-English (for a Brit) did suggest that Arrow was aiming this thriller at the US market.

We can See You is a great thriller – palpable tension, situations getting worse when you didn’t think it was possible, plenty of action and emotion... One of the best books I’ve read for a long time with a brilliantly tense and unexpected ending.

This Month’s Second Thriller: The Night Gate by Peter May

What links a recently unearthed World War II corpse and a modern day stabbing? Enzo McLeod, a forensic investigator, is looking into the ancient death but, while visiting the site, he notices the police at a nearby house where a man has just been stabbed to death. The detective in charge recognises McLeod and persuades him to consult on the murder.

The fact the stabbing occurred only a few days after the World War II corpse was discovered is no coincidence, and McLeod slowly unearths the connection, eventually discovering both killers’ identities. We are rapidly taken into the art world and the German theft of masterpieces from France during the occupation.

I found the way the novel constantly switches between three different time periods a little confusing at several places in the novel. One storyline follows McLeod’s current day investigation, the second comes in the form of an elderly woman recounting events in France during the war that her mother had told her about, and the third jumps back to a few days before the current-day murder, following the main suspect in the time leading up to the crime.

As the three stories unfold in parallel, we see an intriguing story from the Nazi’s occupation of France and how it led to the modern day crime.

It’s a clever story, and the desire to solve the mystery is what keeps the reader glued to the pages. However, because I found the jumps in time somewhat confusing, I hesitate to give it the full five stars. Nonetheless, I certainly found it an excellent read with a believable and ingenious storyline. If you’re happy with books that chop between multiple timelines, then this is a great mystery for you. If not, approach with a little caution, but once you get used to the jumps, you’ll probably love it.

From a Writer’s Desk

I heard from my publisher recently that COVID has delayed their publishing schedule, but the edits on my latest thriller should be back with me by the end of July. That gives me about eight weeks before I need to knuckle down with intensive work on the manuscript. I’ve made the most of the unpressured period waiting for the edits by doing some techie updates to my website. They seem to have come out well and have made it more mobile-friendly as well as much easier to maintain, although they took me a lot longer than expected. It does mean work on the first of a thriller series has slowed embarrassingly, and I really need to get back to completing the first draft. Alas, it won’t be finished by the time edits arrive on my desk, which is a disappointment.

But as the sun starts to shine here in England’s Worcestershire, I’ll be getting straight back to writing the new book just as soon as I’ve signed off here.

News from the Book World: Crime Reading Month

Did you know June is National Crime Reading Month, organised by the Crime Writers’ Association? The festival celebrates crime reading through events and activities in bookshops, libraries, museums, and theatres across the UK and Ireland, as well as online events, culminating in the CWA Daggers ceremony at the end of the month.

To discover the crime reading events near you, go to their website at and select your region from a pull-down menu.

Techie Snips

Has BMW taken the next big step towards James Bond’s invisible car (from Die Another Day)? The heavy-hitting car manufacturer recent demonstrated a concept car that it called the iX Flow. One of its coolest features has to be that it’s wrapped in an e-ink display – that’s similar to the display used in many e-readers, which looks like paper in sunlight and only takes power when it’s changing colour. The designers say it’s designed so that drivers can better reflect their personality but, in a nod to the environmentalists, they also point out that it allows the body to be changed to white when it’s sunny, which reduces how much the car’s interior heats up and leads to less air conditioning use.

So far, it seems to be one colour at a time for the whole body, but it’s built from a series of precisely laser cut panels to fit the car’s contours, so one can imagine the next step being the ability to set each segment to a different colour. If that can ever get to the stage of displaying an image that’s captured real-time by a camera, the car could camouflage itself against the background.

Who knows if concepts from the iX Flow will ever see it into car production, but the opportunities are certainly exciting.

Peak at a Blog

Nowadays, there’s a lot of focus on the environment and, not surprisingly, publishers have started to look at the impact of publishing books. This month’s blog considers what can be done to reduce CO2 emissions in publishing. Is it better to use recycled paper than fresh? Is an e-reader going to be better than buying a paperback? (The answer to that is not as obvious as you might think!) What role does FSC certification play on the choice of paper? What parts of a book’s complete beginning-to-end lifecycle cause the most emissions?

Take a peak of this month’s blog. You can find it at iancoatesthrillers.wordpress

It’s the time of year when we need to plan blog topics for the rest of the year. We’ve got a growing list of possible titles, but would love to get a load more so we can pick the best ones for July – December. If you’ve got any suggestions, please reply to this email and let us have them; if you have a social media profile, we’ll be happy to include that in a credit when we publish a blog on a topic you suggest.

Freebies & Competitions

This month, you have an opportunity to win a signed first-edition paperback of Eavesdrop, Ian’s fast-paced thriller. Unfortunately, we can only open this one to those of you with a UK postal address because of shipping charges – sorry! Just reply to this email with “Competition” in the subject title to enter the draw, which will take place at the end of July.

July 2022

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