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Emma Dibdin

**BLOG TOUR** Through His Eyes by Emma Dibdin #Extract

I am really pleased to be one of today’s stops on the blog tour for Emma Dibdin’s latest book, Through His Eyes. Described as ‘the perfect summer read’, Through His Eyes is a dark, unsettling thriller about a young female journalist drawn into the life of a troubled Hollywood A-lister. It is my pleasure to be able to share an exclusive extract with you, before the publication of the book on August 9th.

The Blurb

You have to know when to say no. That’s one of the first things they tell you. But from the first day I arrived in Los Angeles, I said yes.

Jessica Harris is a struggling Hollywood reporter hungry for her big break. When her editor asks her to profile movie star Clark Conrad, Jessica is sure her luck is on the turn. Clark is an A-lister with access to everyone. If Jessica can impress him, she’s made it.

When she arrives at Clark’s mansion in the Hollywood Hills, he is just as she always imagined. Charming, handsome yet disarmingly vulnerable. But then things take a darker turn. Clark’s world is not as straightforward as it seems and Jessica’s puff piece soon becomes something much more delicate – and dangerous. As Jessica draws herself deeper into Clark’s inner circle, events begin to spiral out of her control.

Transfixing, insightful and unsettling, Through His Eyes drops you into the mind of a young woman with everything to play for – and everything to lose…

The Extract

The Shortys are essentially the Oscars of streaming video content, honouring the best and brightest YouTubers and social media influencers. They are everything I hate about my job. I don’t answer, because I’m not technically sure I’m supposed to be taking freelance assignments during my time here, and though Justin won’t care you never know who else is listening.

‘Why don’t you sit in on this today?’

He’s gesturing towards the conference room, where the weekly editorial meeting is about to begin. As a temporary contractor I’m treated as two levels up from an intern, and do not usually warrant an invite.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Don’t get too excited – I may need you to cover for me if she asks for ideas.’

I nod and follow him in, already brainstorming in my head.

‘All right, what’s everybody got?’ Jackie Smart, the pixie-cropped, quietly formidable editor of Nest, asks. ‘I know I don’t need to remind anyone of this, but we’ve fallen just short of four million unique users for the past three months, and I want us to get over that threshold this month. Justin, want to start us off?’

‘So the high-res Rita Ora shots are in – I’m still not convinced anyone cares what her condo looks like but I guess we’re gonna find out. She’s agreed to share it on all her social channels, so we should get a decent spike out of that. We have talent lined up for the next three weeks of home tour videos… Oh, so we’re still looking for someone to take on whatever this Clark Conrad thing is.’

‘Clark Conrad?’ I say, trying to sound casual after almost choking on my coffee.

‘The one and only, although given the amount of restrictions on questions it’s gonna be hard to tell who the interview’s with.’

‘Why would Clark Conrad agree to an interview for Nest?’ Nest is where people go for a window into a more perfect world, be it Jackie Kennedy’s childhood home or Jennifer Lawrence’s first Santa Monica mansion. Nest allows you to tour the houses of people who will never know you exist. Nest is not publishing exclusive interviews with one of the most media-shy A-listers in Hollywood.

‘Because he’s very excited to talk all about the inspiration behind the remodelling of his Laurel Canyon home,’ Jackie replies. ‘It’s his post-divorce crisis pad – he’s gut-renovated it, added a new wing for his daughter, made the whole thing eco-powered. I get the sense he’s trying to rebrand himself as a cool single dad, divert attention away from the fact that his last movie bombed and America’s favourite marriage  is over.’

The Conrad family as a unit are almost more famous than Clark himself: Clark and Carol, their two beautiful blonde daughters Sarah and Skye and their golden retriever Banjo. They were on-screen lovers first, starring together in a late-nineties romantic comedy which is now remembered solely as the movie where they got together, rather than for its delightfully off-kilter plot about a woman who chases her ex to Texas in hopes of reconciliation and winds up becoming a rodeo star. Carol was the lead in the movie, but Clark was the breakout – playing the roguish cowboy who shows our heroine true love – and that dynamic held true in their marriage. As his career flourished, hers faded, and despite tabloid speculation that Carol’s first pregnancy was an accident, she seemed more than happy to transition into the full-time role of wife and mother. ‘I’m a Southern girl at heart,’ she would say in interviews for lifestyle magazines, in between glossy shots of her relaxing at home with Clark and the girls, stirring a big pot of chilli on the stove. ‘I’ve always been a homemaker.’

The Conrads had it all; they were wholesome enough to appeal to middle America, effortlessly glamorous enough to own every red carpet they attended, and just enigmatic enough to keep their tabloid appeal alive. The loss of them out of nowhere felt like a tangible blow to pop culture; so much so that the magazine I was working for when the divorce announcement happened declared an unofficial Day of Mourning, and let people drink at their desks as they wrote up coverage.

‘His architect is also thirsty as hell,’ interjects Justin. ‘Conrad is doing this guy a favour, from what I can tell. He’s desperately trying to become a thing, have you seen his Instagram?’

‘Wait, you need someone to do the interview?’ I said this too fast, I realize, too eager to make sure I’m not misunderstanding in my brain fog. ‘I’ll do it.’

‘Don’t get too excited,’ Justin tells me. ‘We’re not going to get anything good out of him. He won’t do any video, so the tour is just going to be ten minutes of this architect nobody cares about. We’re scheduled to be at the house for four hours, we’ll shoot all the various rooms, and you’llget colour quotes from the architect for each one, super-detailed. Then you’ll get twenty minutes with him, which they’ve negotiated down from an hour.’

‘I can make it work.’


Take a look at the rest of the blogs taking place on the tour.

With thanks to Emma Dibdin and Florence Hare from Head of Zeus for organising the blog tour.

Read my review of Emma Dibdin’s previous book, The Room by the Lake here, .

**BLOG TOUR** The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

Today, I am pleased to start off the blog tour for The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin, the claustrophobic tale of an impressionable young woman who has been drawn into a cult. My review can be found here, but I am really happy to share an extract with you!

The Blurb

Caitlin never meant to stay so long. But it’s strange how this place warps time. Out here, in the middle of nowhere, it’s easy to forget about the world outside.

It all happened so fast. She was lonely, broke, about to give up. Then she met Jake and he took her to his ‘family’: a close-knit community living by the lake. Each day she says she’ll leave but each night she’s back around their campfire. Staring into the flames. Reciting in chorus that she is nothing without them.

But something inside her won’t let go. A whisper that knows this isn’t right. Knows there is danger lurking in that quiet room down by the lake…

New York, new start, New York, new start, I repeat to myself like a slogan as the 1 train screeches hard around a bend. It’s not rush hour but the subway is still full, horizontal sardines packed together from Penn Station onwards, and I wonder whether anyone on board can tell that I have no destination. Here for the ride.

I stay on until the very last stop, watching the carriage grow gradually empty, and at Van Cortlandt Park I cross over the platform and wait for a train back downtown. A roundtrip, one end of the line to the other. And why not? The subway is soothing, the 123 line in particular because it has electronic screens listing when the next train is coming, and I like my environment to be predictable. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle the 2 train, all the way from the Bronx down to the farthest reaches of Brooklyn, its distance mind-boggling even when scaled down to fit onto an MTA map. The subway is cheap, after all, and I’m broke.

The platform is deserted, and it strikes me I’m a very long way from anywhere. This is the Bronx, unchartered territory for a tourist, and though my surroundings look leafy and harmless maybe going to the end of the line was a bad idea. Maybe something will happen to me here.

I know that in thinking this I’m only echoing my cab driver from JFK, who whiled away the drive with ominous nuggets like ‘girl like you should watch your back in the city’ and ‘whatever you do, don’t go east of Prospect Park’ and ‘nothing good happens past a hundred and tenth’. Right before he forced me to write down his number and told me to call him if I got lonely.

Nothing happens to me in the Bronx. Nothing happens to me on the train back downtown, and when I finally emerge at South Ferry I feel deflated, robbed of the false purpose that roundtrip gave me.

I need a job. After putting it off for as long as I could, this morning I finally sat down cross-legged on my hotel quilt and counted my remaining cash, crumpled dollar bills laid out corner-to-corner like a bleak mosaic. Adding up the cash with the figure on the ATM receipt, I have enough to get me through another two weeks, if I eat only two meals a day and don’t run up any more $60 tabs in moments of ostentatious desperation. I spent last night in a sparse midtown bar, the kind of place that seems sleek and empty even at its most crowded, feeling like this was the thing to do as a single girl alone in New York. Getting steadily more drunk, half-hoping that one of the sharp-suited Wall Street types would make a move, half-terrified of the same.

If one of them did buy me a drink and take me back to a high-rise apartment that feels closer to cloud than ground, the kind that envelops you in space and silence, I could stay the night and maybe stay forever, and my memory of home would fade like the street noise below, just faint enough to be soothing.

But nobody approached me, and I wandered back to my no-frills solo-traveller-friendly hotel at the very tip of downtown Manhattan, and watched Good Will Hunting on Netflix until I fell into five hours of twitchy sleep.

And now I have a stack of CVs and a head full of caffeine, and I’m trying to get a job against the odds. I have thought none of this through.

‘You Australian?’ the barista asks. She’s chubby in that uniquely wholesome, self-confident American way, the kind of girl who could say ‘There’s just more of me to love,’ with a straight face. She wears a name badge that tells me she’s Marcie.

‘English,’ I answer. People always guess Australian. My accent morphs involuntarily when I’m in America, probably betraying my desperation to belong.

‘Cool. We’re actually not hiring right now, they just made cutbacks.’

‘Oh. Sorry.’

‘Yeah,’ Marcie shrugs. ‘But I’m still here, so.’


Take a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour:

With thanks to Clare Gordon and Head of Zeus for arranging the blog tour.

***BLOG TOUR*** The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

I am pleased to be today’s stop on the blog tour for Emma Dibdin’s debut, The Room by the Lake.

Tired with life in London after the death of her mother and dealing with an alcoholic father, Caitlin moves to New York where she hopes her problems will become something of the past. With her money quickly dwindling and feelings of loneliness appearing, her life seems to be looking up when she meets Jake, a handsome man who lives in a commune in the woods. With their emphasis on group therapy, healthy eating and exercise, this looks exactly like the sort of escape Caitlin needs. She soon realises, though, that there is more to this lifestyle than meets the eye and finding her way back out may not be as easy as she thinks.

From the start of the book, I had great sympathy for Caitlin and could understand why she felt the need to escape from her life. Underestimating how lonely it can be in a big city, however, was certainly her downfall and it was easy to see how she became smitten with Jake, the good-looking stranger who went out of his way to make her feel wanted. As the reader, alarm bells were immediately ringing when he suggested she go to meet his family in an isolated house in the woods and it was good to see how Caitlin had the same reservations, her feelings towards Jake suppressing these thoughts however.

Considering that the majority of the book takes place in a vast forest, Emma Dibdin has succeeded in creating a tense, claustrophobic setting with an air of foreboding. It is not really a spoiler to say that the commune Caitlin finds herself part of is not exactly what it seems but the author has done a fantastic job in skewing reality to the point that, even as the reader, you do not know what is real and what is in Caitlin’s head. There were several occasions when Caitlin was having doubts and I was willing her to trust her instincts and get out of there as fast as she could but such is the quality of the brainwashing that she never acted on her thoughts.

I admit that this is not the sort of book that would usually grab my attention, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read it as it was a fast-paced, easy read filled with tension. This is a great debut and I look forward to reading more of Emma Dibdin’s work.

With thanks to Head of Zeus, Net Galley and Clare Gordon for my copy of the book.

Take a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour:

Room by the Lake banner

Monthly Round Up: July 2017

Well, July was the month where I completed my Goodreads challenge – I obviously set my target way too low!

Books I’ve Read

51Sv-EJivWLFrost At Midnight by James Henry

Detective Jack Frost returns in another prequel to the R. D. Wingfield series that inspired the TV show starring David Jason. A gripping and entertaining read that sees Frost investigating the murder of a woman found dead in a churchyard.


51Au1qVQ0PL._SY346_The Stolen Girls by Patricia Gibney

The follow-up to the brilliant The Missing Ones sees Detective Lottie Parker investigating an incredibly harrowing crime involving human trafficking, prostitution and organ harvesting. This is a must read!


514-fU+PfcLLast Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

When Libby and her husband undertake a short term house swap, strange things begin to happen. Is it paranoia or is someone watching her, trying to make her relive the disappearance of her friend nine years ago? This is a very clever book with a genuine twist.


51mCV12k+uL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Receiving a Facebook friend request from a long-lost pal should be a happy occurrence but not if the friend has been dead for over twenty years. Who is behind the cruel mind games and how many lives are in danger?


A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley

Historian and TV presenter explores the British fascination with murder, whether it be true crime such as the Ratcliffe Highway murders or the Golden Age of detective fiction. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of British crime.


The Girl From Ballymor by Kathleen McGurl

Another dual time frame book from Kathleen McGurl, telling the story of a woman researching her artist ancestor coupled with an an account of the nineteenth century potato famine. This was one of the books I have been looking forward to reading and it didn’t disappoint. Review to follow nearer to publication day (7th September 2017).


Dead Girls Can’t Lie by Carys Jones

When a girl’s best friend is found hanging from a tree, she knows right away that this is a case of murder. With the police refusing to investigate, stating that it is a case of suicide, North Stone has no other option but to try to prove it herself. A fast paced tale of a woman who refuses to give up. Review will be published on August 25th as part of the book’s blog tour.


The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin

After a traumatic childhood, Caitlyn travels to New York where she meets the handsome and charismatic Jake. Soon, he is taking her to meet his family in a house in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, but all is most definitely not what it seems. A great psychological debut. Review will be published on August 21st as part of the book’s blog tour.


Books I’ve Acquired

71KqcAPXiFLHow do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect?

A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he beings to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death?

As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery…


Meet Hendrik Groen. An octogenarian in a care home who has no intention of doing what he’s told, or dying quietly. To that end, he creates the Old-But-Not-Dead Club and with his fellow members sets about living his final years with careless abandon. Such anarchism infuriates the care home director but pleases Eefje, the woman who makes Hendrik’s frail heart palpitate. If it’s never too late to have fun, then can it ever be too late to meet the love of your life?



If you can’t trust your sister, then who can you trust?

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never left.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her?

I currently only have one book on my Net Galley bookshelf so think it’s time to get looking!

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