#BlogTour #Extract-Adam Southward- Trance- “A tense, original thriller”

To mark the publication of Trance by Adam Southward, I am delighted to be hosting an exclusive extract of this very book. Billed as an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, with a speculative twist, Trance is, according to crime writer John Marrs,  A tense, original thriller that perfectly blends the nail-biting suspense and shocks of Silence of the Lambs and Shutter Island.”

So what’s it about?

Three university scientists are found dead in a gruesome murder-suicide, and the only suspect in the case, Victor Lazar, is quickly captured. When the spate of violent suicides follows him to prison he is moved to solitary confinement, reserved for the highest-risk inmates. And then his assigned psychologist inexplicably takes his own life. Alex Madison, a former forensic psychologist turned private therapist, is brought in to interview Victor. He suspects that Victor is controlling his victims, somehow coaxing them into a suggestive trance. It seems like science fiction, but as Alex digs deeper he uncovers a frightening reality of secret research and cruel experimentation—and the perpetrators are closer to home than he could ever have imagined. Too late, Alex learns the true extent of what Victor is capable of—and who he’s after. With everything he holds dear at risk, can Alex take control of a dangerous mind—before it takes control of him?

Intriguing huh?

So here for your enjoyment, is an extract of the book, just to whet your appetites a little more…

Sophie kept glancing at Alex as they descended the stairs to the guard station. He noticed it and wondered what was bothering her.

‘Will you be assessing him?’ she said, after several steps.

‘Him?’

‘Him. Thirteen. Victor Lazar.’

Alex slowed and turned to her. ‘Mr Lazar is why I’m here. Thirteen?’

Sophie’s eyes narrowed. ‘It’s what he called himself when he arrived. Thirteen. So that’s a yes?’

Alex was surprised at her reaction. ‘What do you know about him?’

Sophie bit her lip. ‘Not much,’ she said. ‘His case is sensitive. Robert has access to the full case file. I don’t.’ She shrugged and walked faster.

Alex hadn’t seen the full case file yet either. He’d had a summary history emailed to him by the CPS but was told the full information would be available once he was on site.

As well as the unusual circumstances surrounding Victor Lazar’s arrest, there was the headline mystery, which was that Victor’s previous psychologist had committed suicide while treating him. Dr Henry Farrell, an experienced clinician close to retirement, had interviewed Victor alone in his cell for an hour. He’d left the cell complaining of a headache and driven home to call his wife, who was out of town. He’d made various nonsense statements over the phone, which his wife couldn’t accurately recollect, then jumped out of a third-floor window, landing on the concrete driveway. He was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

Alex could no doubt suggest several theories why a sane and intelligent man would take his own life, but the association with Victor was bizarre and curious. Victor appeared to be special – a potentially untreatable psychopath if the initial report was anything to go by. But that didn’t explain Dr Farrell’s behaviour. Connected or not, Alex intended to find out.

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Trance is published 1st July by Thomas & Mercer (published in paperback and ebook, price £4.99)

Available at Amazon

Twitter: @adamsouthward

Catch up with the blog tour at these excellent sites:

Mark Edwards- Follow You Home

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I would be the first person to put my hands up and say that I have had rather a patchy reading relationship with Mark Edwards’ previous crime thrillers, but very pleased to report that, although not without fault, I really quite enjoyed Follow You Home, a dark, psychologically suspenseful read….

Based on the interesting premise, and as it turns out in common with the author, a young couple, Daniel and Laura, find themselves set adrift on their European tour, with a young Eastern European woman, Alina, in the arse-end of Romania, having had their passports and tickets stolen on a train. Unlike, Edwards own experience, and against all common sense advice of every horror film going, they take a misguided trip into the woods, but what they encounter there stays concealed for a good while, as the story flips back to their return to what should be the normality of their lives in London. It quickly becomes evident that this foray into the backwoods of Eastern Europe has wreaked havoc on their relationship, their mental and emotional balance, and that they are both in extreme danger from what they have witnessed, as certain dangerous chickens come home to roost. Well. Not literally, but you get my drift.

I found this to be a very well-plotted, if slightly too long, psychological thriller. I enjoyed the little teasing vignettes of their sinister Romanian escapade that Edwards inserts intermittently throughout the book, and despite an assortment of misguided guesses on my part, the truth of what they had witnessed is a whole heap darker and disturbing that even the most twisted mind could conjure. It’s dark. Very dark indeed. I thought the characterisation and rendition of the European location was well realised, and that even the most talented of travel guide writers, could not have made this locale feel any less sinister. I did feel a little that so much creative energy had been used on this clever and well weighted plot that the characterisation suffered a little as a result. I found it hard to really relate to Daniel or Laura, as I didn’t find them all that likeable to begin with, but I liked Alina very much, and through her horrific experiences could not help but feel a huge sense of sympathy for her character. She was incredibly well-drawn with a terrific balance of gritty determination, yet emotional fragility, and was a real beacon of interest throughout this torrid tale. Likewise, the comely Camelia who is tasked by the baddies to break down Daniel’s defences, is a welcome addition to the plot, and if you ever want to confess to some minor infraction like nicking a pencil from Argos, she would probably welcome this revelation. You’ll understand when you read the book..

Having already accrued a plethora of glowing reviews on the internet, Follow You Home, ticks all the boxes for an engaging and quite chilling summer read. The plot is well executed, and Edwards controls the dramatic tension fairly evenly throughout, although it could have been trimmed slightly which would have tightened up some of the more meandering London interludes. With a couple of stand-out characters, and a highly original and interesting premise for a thriller, this was overall a satisfying read. Good.

(With thanks to Amazon Publishing for the ARC)