I’m delighed to welcome fellow Bookouture author, Barbara Copperthwaite, onto my blog today. Barbara’s darkly addictive thriller, The Girl in the Missing Poster will be published on 23 February but can be preordered now. Let’s find out a bit about it, starting with the stunning cover.
MISSING – Have you seen this girl? Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins was last seen on 24 June, 1994, when she left her parents’ anniversary party early and ran into the stormy night wearing her twin sister Stella’s long red coat. She was never seen again.
I wrap my arms around the tree trunk, pressing my cheek against it until the bark digs in and the missing poster is finally secured. I try not to look at the photograph on it. At the features so similar to mine. Perhaps this will be the year someone comes forward.
Were crucial mistakes made by detectives from the very beginning?
Could the pressure of living two lives have led my sister to run away – or even end it?
Or did someone in her tight circle of friends and family have reason to want her gone?
Someone out there must know something.
But the last thing I ever expect is a direct response from the person who took Leila. Wracked with guilt and completely alone in the world without the other half of me, I have no choice but to agree to his strange request:private, intimate details of my life in return for answers.
As the final moments of my sister’s life play out before me, I feel closer to her than I ever dreamed I’d be again. So close, it could almost be happening to me.But when I finally realise who is behind this terrifying tragedy, will I make it out alive?
From the bestselling author of The Perfect Friend, this absolutely gripping psychological thriller will keep you up all night and leave you sleeping with the light on. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us this book is for you!
Readers love Barbara Copperthwaite:
‘ALL THE STARS!… If it’s twists you are looking for then READ THIS BOOK!… 5 stars across the board…*INSERT STANDING OVATION HERE*’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘WOW!! This book!!! Holy cow!!!So many lies… who can be trusted? NO ONE!!…I had to keep reading. So many twists and turns throughout the whole book…a psychological thriller unlike any other!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘This book is so good. I literally couldn’t put it down…it kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn’t want the book to end but I needed to know what had happened… This is one of my fav books…WOW!!!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘WOW– I am speechless… I am absolutely blown away by this book… really, really got under my skin… I feel slightly dizzy now and need a lie-down with a soft pillow and lots of chocolate.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘OMFG this is her best book yet!!… just blew everything else out of the water. Seriously. This book had me on edge…my poor nerves were shattered. Buy it, read it, love it! This book gets ALL the stars from me!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
‘A darkly addictive and creepy page turner that had me on the edge of my seat…breathtakingly shocking… the final pages were absolutely brilliant. Left me with goosebumps!’My Chestnut Reading Tree, 5 stars
You can preorder the book here:
Here’s an extract from the story
The face of a murdered woman stares back at me from the reflection of the high street shop window. One minute I was walking along the deserted pavement with my three dogs in tow, throwing a tired glance at the cheery displays in spring pastels, the next my eyes refocused so that I was no longer looking through the glass but at its surface, turned mirror-like by the setting sun.
There she is. Leila. Dead but alive.
Only it isn’t her. It’s me. Even after all these years, when I see myself it’s my dead sister who looks back. My heart stutters. I turn away from the chocolate shop with its chick breaking free of a giant egg and its promise of an Easter ‘egg-stravaganza’. The woman in the reflection has gone, long gone. Yet I still feel her presence as I turn the corner from the single street of shops onto a tree-lined avenue filled with Victorian town houses, which have all been converted into B&Bs or flats.
At the closest tree, I put my arms around the trunk, struggling to reach the piece of string I’m wrapping round. Pressing my cheek against it until the bark digs in, ignoring the tang of urine floating up from the base, concentrating only on reaching that damn string. Once the MISSING poster is secured, I try not to look at the photograph on it, at the features identical to mine that smile at passers-by. From above me comes a soft hushing, now that there are enough leaves on the trees for them to brush gently against one another in the breeze. It’s the first time I’ve heard that sound since autumn, and I hadn’t realised how much I’ve missed it. Spring is a time for change and new beginnings. Perhaps this will be the year someone sees one of the posters and comes forward to solve the mystery that has haunted me for over half my life.
It’s been almost twenty-five years since my identical twin disappeared without a trace. No matter how much time passes the pain never lessens, only changes tempo slightly so that somehow it has become possible to live with it. It is the pain that drives me to make this annual pilgrimage around my hometown, covering it in pictures of my sister every single year in the run-up to the anniversary of the night she was last seen.
Beside me the dogs pant, bored by hours of having to pause every few metres while I attach posters to lamp posts, trees, noticeboards, whatever is available. With no hands to spare, the dogs’ leads are clamped between my thighs every time. Buddy is starting to pull sometimes, eyes to the air, looking for birds to terrorise. Scamp is Buddy’s opposite in size and temperament, a skinny cockerpoo to his bear-like Alsatian-cross, and she has her nose to the floor. No doubt in search of food that will only flare up her allergies and make her itch if she scoffs it. Then there’s Buster, a shi-tzu poodle cross with an unbowable spirit, his curly tail constantly wagging, his proud chest always pushed forward. All three keep looking longingly over their shoulders, clearly wondering why they aren’t going to the beach.
‘Come on,’ I urge, ready to walk on again. ‘We’ll go home soon – apart from anything else, my feet are throbbing. Just one more street, kids.’
Some people might think I’m mad talking out loud to my dogs, but who cares? Their tails wag in unison as if they understand every word. The sight of their happiness puts a smile on my face and gives me the energy to cross the road and trudge on, chased by the smell of salt and vinegar, seaweed, freshly-cooked donuts and stale beer that permeates this seaside town. The dogs get a second wind, now convinced we’re heading to Tower Gardens park across the way. When Scamp realises we’re not, she gives a snort of annoyance while I pull another poster from my backpack.
Will the person responsible for Leila’s disappearance see any of them? I wonder. Have they ever spotted any over the years? Perhaps they dread the anniversary as much as I do, hating the thought of seeing my twin’s picture and having to relive what they did. Perhaps it makes them fear that this time someone will come forward to the police and they’ll end up behind bars. Perhaps guilt will get to them and they’ll finally come forward to reveal what happened to her, if only to put an end to their own mental torture. I hope so.
I want them to rue the day they ever set eyes on my sister, I think, giving a drawing pin a vicious shove and spearing a poster onto a wooden noticeboard.
It’s not much revenge, but it’s all that’s left for me after decades of waiting.
What a gripping premise and extract. If, like me, you can’t wait to read it you can preorder the book here:
Barbara is the Amazon, Kobo and USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE, FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD, THE DARKEST LIES, HER LAST SECRET and THE PERFECT FRIEND. She has a new book coming soon!
Her writing career started in journalism, writing for national newspapers and magazines. During a career spanning over twenty years Barbara interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She is fascinated by creating realistic, complex characters, and taking them apart before the readers’ eyes in order to discover just how much it takes to push a person over a line.
Her first book, Invisible, was ‘totally gripping, and scarily believable’ according to Bella magazine. Its success was followed by Flowers For The Dead, which was the Sunday Mirror’s Choice Read, beating Lee Child’s latest offering. ‘Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,’ their review read.
The Darkest Lies came next, published by Bookouture, and became a USA Today bestseller. The follow-up, Her Last Secret, hit the Number 1 spot on Kobo. The Perfect Friend is a No 1 Kobo and Amazon best seller.
When not writing feverishly at her home in Birmingham, Barbara is often found walking her two dogs, Scamp and Buddy, or hiding behind a camera to take wildlife photographs.
To find out more about Barbara’s novels, go to:
Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your amazing book, Barbara. Wishing you lots of sales.
Available as an ebook, print or audibook