Imagine this: You see a loved one murdered. In the weeks after, you try to piece your life back together, knowing the person responsible still hasn't been caught.
Then, he writes you a letter...
What a strange note to be writing. I’ve restarted it ten times over to try to find a good way of beginning but I don’t think I’d find one so I may as well be direct and get it all over with. I’m the person who killed your mother. There are some people sick enough to make hoaxes out of these things.
So, so you can be certain, I came in through a window at the back of the house and your mother was in the bedroom. I thought I could hear her sorting through clothes. Then I saw her appear in the crack of the doorway. Only for a second. It wasn’t until the police let slip there’d been a witness that I thought it must have been you sorting through clothes that night. It must have been you she whispered to. I’d thought it was panic. That she was talking to herself. Not that that makes much difference I don’t suppose.
But look, Sarah, I wanted to write to you to apologise. You haven’t told the police what I look like which I suppose means you mustn’t know. That’s good for us both. It means we can hopefully move on from this. But what happened that night, what I did. I never would have done that if I’d known you were there – if I’d known you were watching. It’s a terrible thing to have seen and I’m sorry you had to see it at all. I don’t know whether the apology means much.
It won’t serve anyone well if you tell the police about the letter, Sarah. They can’t find me in a room full of evidence so they won’t find me from a slip of paper. But take the apology, would you, and know that I really do mean it.
Look after yourself, Sarah, and let this go.
Sincerely, yours –
Sincerely, Yours is now available to pre-order (for 99p for a limited time only). And so begins the flurry of nerves that comes with a new book: Will people buy it? Will people like it? Those readers who were kind enough to accept Advanced Reader Copies from me are saying nothing but kind things so far. That said, I am especially lucky to have a wonderful group of ARC readers at my fingertips and their kindness has been unlimited in these past months, so they're due a thank you in every book I write/publish/dream about from here on, I should say.
Well, them and my best friend who tirelessly contends with every creative crisis I have - and believe me, there are plenty of those to go around.
But enough about the panics! Let's get to the highs of a new book.
Sincerely, Yours is unlike anything I've ever written because it's told from the victim's POV. A hardcore fan of an unlikeable narrator, I've found myself drawn to the baddie in every thriller I've written. Intention and All I See Is You both have very questionable protagonists at the helm. Meanwhile Sarah, the lead for Sincerely, Yours, is a young woman traumatised by having seen her mother murdered. A strong and determined character, though, she manages to recover, to turn her life around and.... make plans for revenge.
Sarah's life is built around media reports of crime, true crime podcasts, and so much more. Throughout this book I ask - or try to ask - big and bad questions about how violent acts impact those involved, how they stay with them long after the event, and how others can feed off those experiences. But I spin a good story while I'm at it, too...
(If I do say so!)
The blurb for the book reads as follows:
When Sarah was seventeen years old, she hid in a wardrobe while her mother was murdered in the bedroom.
As the weeks and months passed, Sarah gradually moved on from the horror of that night and managed to settle into her changed family life.
After the police confirm that her mother was one of three similar victims the case goes cold. Until Sarah receives a letter: “I didn’t know you were there, or I would never have done that. Sincerely, Yours.”
And, so begins a terrifying game of cat and mouse as the killer collects more victims and continues to elude police, all the while, sending Sarah letters.
As the killer gets closer, Sarah wonders if she comes face to face with him, will she opt for mercy or murder?
Early reviews are saying:
"This book gripped me from the start and I struggled to put it down until I had finished it - absolutely amazing."
"This is a page turner of a book and one you will not want to put down."
"By far the best novel yet from Charlotte Barnes."
Sincerely, Yours will be released by Bloodhound Books on August 24, but it's available to pre-order now for just 99p. This is a promotional price for the first couple of weeks so if you're flirting with a download, now's your chance for a bargain while you're at it. The book will arrive on your Kindle, bright and early on publication day, with the option for paperback due soon, too.