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By Michael Parkerthe-honest-assassin.JPG

Caroline Carver has just released her latest novel, The Honest Assassin, third in the series featuring Jay McCauley, the ex Army Captain who works for TRACE, specialising in finding missing persons. The Honest Assassin is published by Severn House and is Caroline’s seventh thriller.

When Jay’s friend, MI5 agent Mac Blake is arrested for murder, she launches and investigation that soon turns ugly. Her old boss is assassinated and her family threatened, but Jay is gutsy and isn’t going to give up without a fight. As she begins to uncover a sinister secret, Jay is unaware that something worse lies ahead; an assassin has been set on her trail.

I caught up with Caroline today and spent a pleasant forty-five minutes chatting with her about all those things that writers love to talk about (besides themselves): writing. One of the questions I asked Caroline was what kind of books she likes to read. She told me her favourites were thrillers and adventure; real life adventure. If you log on to Caroline’s website you will understand why; thrills and adventure are part of Caroline’s DNA. I put it to her that she would make a good example of how to characterise Lara Croft in a thriller. Caroline told me she was no good at tying knots, so would fail at being that kind of  heroine. But she couldn’t deny the love of travel and adventure that forms part of her life.

Caroline is half English, half Kiwi. She was brought up on a farm in England before heading abroad to live in Australia for ten years. She has worked as a travel writer and completed three long-distance rallies including London to Saigon and London to Cape Town. Caroline’s novels have been critically acclaimed and translated into over sixteen languages. Her first novel, Blood Junction, won the coveted CWA Debut Dagger Award and was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best mystery books of the year. A taste of her reviews and comments show that they come from the high echelon of thriller writers. For example:

“Hard, fast and real – a solid gold A grade thriller.” Lee Child.

“A terrific page-turner. Heart stopping action and a heroine with guile as well as guts.” Harlen Coben.

Plus more great comments from Booklist and Times literary Supplement. “Fans of action thrillers will find Carver’s suspenseful, high stakes, high octane adventure a page turning must-read.” (Booklist)

Well researched, shocking, moving and exciting; Gone Without a Trace shows that a British writer can take on the most vigorous of the Americans. (TLS).

carver-cj.jpgCaroline is obviously a very busy writer, travelling all over the place researching her novels and giving her time to support events, including this year’s ThrillerFest where she will be appearing on panels, signing books and talking about writing. It doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, but that is generally taken care of simply by the nature of her involvement in life.

Caroline begins her normal working day by taking a walk with the dog before re-reading her notes and draft, and then getting down to the day job – writing! She enjoys Jazz and Blues, and living in Bath gives her an opportunity to enjoy the Jazz festival there. One of her favourite authors is Wilbur Smith, who she discovered as a teenager. When I asked her what book she would take to a desert island, she said it would have to be an SAS survival book, probably written by Ray Mears (because she can’t tie knots!). Although she travels a great deal, Caroline told me that if she couldn’t live in Bath, she would love to live in Sydney, Australia.

We talked about Young Adult fiction. Caroline has just finished a novel in that genre. She said she thoroughly enjoyed writing about a seventeen year old character, admitting that she could recall what her teen years were like. I wondered if anything of Caroline’s character was written into the heroine.

Her next project is something to raise money for Holidays 4 Heroes. This is a charity which provides free holidays for the families of severely wounded servicemen. Holiday 4 Heroes began when a serviceman offered his apartment in Spain to a struggling family of a severely wounded soldier. Caroline will be working with an ex PARA, bomb disposal expert who was held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan. She says he has stories that made her hair curl, but there were stories that also made her laugh.

Altogether I found Caroline a very engaging, likeable person. I’m sure those of you who catch up with her at this year’s ThrillerFest will find that too. If you can’t make the event, why not check out Caroline’s website, it’s a thriller in its own right. Remember;The Honest Assassin by C.J.Carver, published by Severn House, available now.

Michael Parker
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