After the large format trade paperback of The Dark Room launched in the depths of the January lockdown, it’s wonderful that the smaller format paperback is being released when bookshops have their doors WIDE OPEN! Out today, the more portable mass market edition, traditionally released some months after a book’s first outing, is designed to attract new readers who prefer a smaller size book.
And the new version also has a preview chapter of my next book, Remember My Name (coming January 2022) in the back 🙂
Even more exciting, I’m thrilled that The Dark Room has shortlisted for Irish Independent Crime Novel of the Year at the An Post Irish Book Awards. With so many amazing crime writers publishing in Ireland, this is a huge honour and I’m absolutely bowled over to be on the same shortlist as Booker Prize winner John Banville, as well the other incredible bestsellers Jane Casey and Steve Cavanagh, Catherine Ryan Howard and Andrea Mara – the winner is decided by a mixture of public vote and an academy vote (booksellers, librarians etc) and every vote counts!
If you have a moment, you can vote for The Dark Room, and your favourite books in the other categories right here: www.irishbookawards.ie/vote
I loved writing The Dark Room – you can find out more about the inspiration behind the story here. The original idea popped into my head while I was sitting just a couple of hundred yards from Frenchman’s Creek in Cornwall, and anyone who is a fan of Daphne du Maurier will recognise references to Rebecca. The Dark Room is a country house mystery, set around an isolated hotel in West Cork called Hare’s Landing. As the Sunday Busines Post said:
“It is testament to Blake’s skill as a novelist that she manages to keep all these plates spinning simultaneously. Her writing is crisp and precise, drip feeding the reader clues as each plot development drags you further into the story….From creepy portraits whose eyes follow you around to hidden love letters, long-buried bodies and illicit affairs, The Dark Room is an infectious blend of Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery (a fact the characters playfully allude to) and Gothic whodunnit with a hint of supernatural chiller. It’s also deliciously good fun.“Sunday Business Post
With everyone literally locked down at home back in January, the only way to reach readers was online, and I had a lot of fun creating content across my social media platforms – from Six Minutes on Story Facebook live video, where I talked about everything from how the plot developed to the characters, to an online launch with paranormal expert Tina Barcoe, and an evening with Northern Irish writer James Murphy and Psychic in the City, medium Seán McGeough. I also did several readings from the book and a Q&A with my fabulous agent Simon Trewin. You can find them on my Sam Blake Books Facebook page – do follow for book news (also cats, the occasional alpaca and other quirky things that catch my eye).
Do grab a copy of the paperback edition of The Dark Room if you haven’t had a chance to read it, and tell a friend if you enjoyed it – there’s no better recommedation. If you’ve read it and have a moment to review it, that would be wonderful!
And don’t forget to vote! xx
Hare’s Landing, West Cork. A house full of mystery…
Rachel Lambert leaves London with Jasper her German Shepherd, afraid for her personal safety after a break-in on her houseboat. Her partner, Hunter, has been involved in a hit and run, and she’s determined to uncover the truth behind the sudden death of the homeless man he was filming for a documentary. The only lead she has is a country house hotel in Ireland called Hare’s Landing.
New York-based crime reporter Caroline Kelly’s career is threatened by a lawsuit and she needs some thinking space away from her job. But almost as soon as she arrives, Hare’s Landing begins to reveal its own stories – a 30-year-old missing person’s case and the mysterious death of the hotel’s former owner.
As Rachel and Caroline join forces, it becomes clear that their investigations are intertwined – and that there is nothing more dangerous than the truth…
Here I am reading the prologue in launch week back in January…