Books that have inspred me. Plus what I’ve been reading…



As well as revisiting the classics, I like to keep up with books, and particularly psychological thrillers being published now. I read Sarah Vaughan’s breakthrough thriller Anatomy of a Scandal, as a proof copy back in 2018. It’s a taut and twisting tale and was made into terrific TV by Netflix.

Reputation is Sarah Vaughan’s latest book. It’s central character, Emma Webster is a Member of Parliament. Writing about the world of Westminster convincingly is quite a feat. But as a former political journalist, Vaughan has the inside track. However, she doesn’t just give us the details of a working MP’s life, she digs deep into the toxicity of the political world. As a backbench MP who sets out to do good, Emma Webster thinks she knows how to play the game. She’s seen by many as a rising star. But personal and professional relationships become entwinned and she ends up being accused of murder.

As well as a compelling thriller, this book exposes the pressures, fears and very real dangers that MPs, and especially women MPs are exposed to. In the UK, with its supposedly proud Parliamentary democracy, two MPs have been murdered in recent years, and more face threats and intimidation on a daily basis. That’s the context for this book. And if you like serious psychological thrillers that go beyond the usual well-worn tropes, you’ll like this.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me here

Reputation cover image


Psychological thrillers are hugely popular, but it’s far from the easiest crime fiction to write. Many go for unbelievable twists instead of plausible characters. So, for me, it’s important to study the real experts in the genre.

 And Nicci French is the expert. Or rather they are the experts, because they’re a husband-and-wife writing team of Nicci Gerard and Sean French. Starting in 1997, the list of psychological thrillers they’ve written together is a long one. They both have backgrounds in journalism and have also written a number of novels and non-fiction works separately.

 The Lying Room (2019) is one of their recent books. The main character, Neve Connolly, has three children, a husband, a job and a demanding set of friends. She rides around London on her bicycle, challenging enough for anyone who knows London!

 I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I don’t like book reviews that insist on summarising the whole plot. But this is the story of a woman with a secret. Many aspects of her outwardly successful life have become a chore. She’s always busy, trying to keep all the balls in the air, and everyone else happy; much like many working mothers. She tries her best to be a good person.

 But when she discovers a dead body, she makes a bad decision. One lie leads to another and her life spirals out of control.

 It’s fast paced and psychologically astute, and kept me gripped. The incidental characters are well drawn. It’s a portrait of the emotional ups and downs of marriage that will resonate with many readers.

 A five star read. Well worth your time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me here

The Lying Room cover image


When I’m in the midst of writing my own work, I tend to read books that are a bit different. Quite often this will be non-fiction. However because of last months giveaway I decided to revisit Dennis Lehane going back to his 1994 debut novel; A Drink Before the War.

A Drink Before the War, is classic American private eye fiction. Set in Boston, Patrick Kenzie and his partner, Angie Gennaro, walk a fine line between the corrupt politicians who run the city and the ruthless gangs that prey on its residents. There are a lot of bullets to dodge and some nasty villains to dispatch, all told in the dry, wise-cracking voice of Kenzie.

Lehane went on to write books like Shutter Island and Mystic River, memorably filmed by Clint Eastwood. He also wrote scripts for iconic shows like The Wire. But the pure lyricism of his first book is a joy, and its take on the racial complexities and inner city blight of contemporary America, is still spot-on, nearly thirty years after it was written. Highly recommended.

Click below to buy a copy. at present only 99p.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me here

Dennis Lehane cover image











To Celebrate the launch of my new psychological thriller,  Her Perfect Husband, I’m giving away paperback copies of these three all-time classics. Barbara Vine – A Dark Adapted Eye. Patricia Highsmith – The Talented Mr Ripley. Dennis Lehane – Shutter Island. To be in with a chance of receiving this wonderful collection, click the button below to email me your name and that you’d like to be entered into the draw.

* Your details will not be stored beyond the end date of the giveaway, If you’d like to receive my regular newsletter please join below in the sign up section.

Cover image for A Dark Adapted Eye
Cover image for The Talented Mr Ripley
Cover image for Shutter Island


She wants justice. Will she settle for revenge?

A grieving mother…

 When Claire loses her daughter to suicide, her world falls apart. Tormented by guilt and her own sense of failure, she’s determined to confront the man she believes drove Ella to it and make him pay.

 A reunion of old friends…

 At a twenty-five-year college reunion, a disparate group of former students, now middle-aged, meet to catch up on each other’s lives. During a summer heatwave, the lies, jealousies and betrayals of the past erupt into anger and recriminations that threaten all their futures.

 A deadly threat…

 For DS Jo Boden of the Major Investigations Team, it’s a job she doesn’t want: being a minder for an obnoxious politician at a college reunion. But with a potential killer hiding in plain sight, she’s in a race against time to prevent a murder.

Five gold stars to show top reviews for Susan Wilkins books
Image - Cambridge street with female figure running away. Foreground image of female face
Crime thriller fiction from Susan Wilkins. Image of book cover. Close up of Police car at nightfall