Portraits of the Dead
by John Nicholls
GENRE: Psychological Thriller
Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed five young women.
A gripping page-turner of a serial killer thriller packed with suspense. If you like Rachel Abbott, Robert Bryndza and Karin Slaughter, discover John Nicholl’s chilling new thriller today.
2:20 A.M. Saturday, 2 May 1998
Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night. But he did. She knew that he did.
Emma woke with a start, tense, alert, and opened her bleary eyes, telling herself insistently that the dark silhouette slowly approaching her was the nightmare construct of her subconscious mind. But initial anxiety became blind panic as the inky shadow took on an obvious human form that suddenly gained pace and loomed over her. And then a hand, a large hot clammy hand, pulled the bedclothes over her head, clamped her mouth tight shut and silenced her scream before it materialised.
A myriad unwelcome thoughts invaded her troubled mind as he pinned her head to the pillow and raised his free arm high above his head, before closing his fingers tightly, forming his hand into a formidable weapon and bringing it crashing down, again and again and again, with all the force he could muster, rendering her unconscious and bleeding.
She didn’t know how long she remained senseless, or what he did to her while she slept. She didn’t know what time he lifted her from her bed and carried her from her student bedroom, down the creaking wooden staircase and out into the Welsh city street. But he did. She knew that he did.
Oh, to be honest, that can be a tough one, particularly for new writers who aren’t used to what, at the end of the day, is very public praise or criticism that’s there for anyone to read online for ever more. Writers tend to be sensitive souls in the main, and bad reviews can feel a bit like someone criticising your children when you start your journey on the writing path! I think that’s particularly the case when it’s your first book.
You really do have to grow a thick skin and take it on the chin when someone doesn't like your work in the slightest. I used to ‘tear my hair out’ when I received poor reviews, but thankfully they form a small minority of the total. My books are emotive, and they will draw strong emotional reactions. I’ve come to accept that. You can’t please everyone however much you’d like to, and that’s just fine. If everyone liked the same things the world would be a pretty boring place. Some say there is no such thing as bad publicity. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I’m just glad that people are buying and reading my books in the first place. Most successful books have about 10% poor reviews, even some of my all-time favourites. Not everyone is going to love your writing. In fact, not everyone is going to like your writing. Some people won’t like it at all. You just have to accept that and focus on the positives.