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E.V. Seymour

The Essential Reading List

Born in West Bromwich and with her family roots deep in the Black Country, E.V. Seymour (Eve) has spent much of her life "on the run" - she has probably lived in more houses in various parts of the country than most people eat dinners. Currently living in Herefordshire with her husband, she often has a houseful of offspring, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, partners and a growing tribe of little ones.

When not writing she can be found playing the piano, enjoying a glass of wine and/or reading, and has a particularly soft spot for historical and spy fiction.

Books by me

My Daughter’s Secrets by E.V. Seymour

My Daughter’s Secrets

"This novel was my first foray into ‘domestic noir.’ Families provide a rich seam of psychological material for the writer to mine and, with this story, I wanted to dig deep and explore the unconditional love between mother and child, even when that connection is broken by tragic events and death. It’s not easy to write about grief because it’s easy to slip into sentimentality. I hope I avoided this."

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House of Lies by E.V. Seymour

House of Lies

"What happens when the man you believe you know turns out to be a stranger with a dark past? This is Roz Outlaw’s experience when Tom, the man she loves, mysteriously vanishes. Roz sets out on a trail that takes her to Tom’s spooky childhood home, Vixenhead, a repository of dark secrets. The setting was inspired by a trip to Conwy, in Wales, though the actual storyline came to me a decade before."

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Land of Ghosts by E.V. Seymour

Land of Ghosts

"The third in the Paul Tallis series of spy novels, Tallis is forced to look for a rogue SIS agent (and former childhood friend) who is threatening to assassinate the Russian prime minister; an act that would permanently destroy Anglo-Russian relations. Obviously, I couldn’t travel to Chechnya where much of the action takes place, but I did spend four days in Berlin and took several hair-raising flights in a helicopter to create an authentic atmosphere for parts of the story."

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Books that influenced me

The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard

The Light Years

Elizabeth Jane Howard

"Family saga and history is a winning combination for me. The story is set in Sussex after the Great War and it reveals the ups and downs of family life through the eyes of four siblings and their parents. It contains bags of old school charm and yet the struggle each of the characters encounters is as relevant today as it was then. I read these books when my children were small and didn’t realise at the time that it would provide the bedrock for me to become a writer."

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The Poet by Michael Connelly

The Poet

Michael Connelly

"Whispered softly, I was a late convert to crime fiction. The Poet, a gripping serial killer tale, was one of the first contemporary American novels that I really got my teeth into. It features Jack McEvoy, crime reporter, on the trail of a number of ‘unusual’ police ‘suicides,’ following the death of his brother. Written with Connelly’s trademark style and elegance, it’s ingeniously plotted and pace is phenomenal. It taught me a great deal about the necessary ingredients to create strong thrillers."

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Beneath the Skin by Nicci French

Beneath the Skin

Nicci French

"The originality of the story and the way it’s crafted really grabbed me. Three separate and very different women are in the crosshairs of a serial killer who is determined to take them apart bit by bit. As an exploration of terror, it doesn’t get much better. Frankly, it’s chilling and, without inserting spoilers, it doesn’t end well for everyone. I learnt a lot about suspense and the absolute necessity of creating a really strong primary antagonist. It’s one of those books in which the characters stay with you long after you’ve closed the final page - a massive achievement, and one I try to emulate."

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Personal favourites

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

Slow Horses

Mick Herron

"You don’t have to be a fan of spy fiction to love Mick Herron’s stories. Who would have a thought that a group of no-hopers and rejects from the official intelligence services could be this much fun? Humour is incredibly difficult to pull off in fiction and yet Herron does this with panache. Main protagonist, Jackson Lamb, foul-mouthed, farting and decidedly un-PC, leads his merry band of misfits into all things spy. But don’t be fooled: with real issues of national security at stake, it takes cunning Jackson Lamb to get the job done."

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The King of Lies by John Hart

The King of Lies

John Hart

"Jackson Workman Pickens comes from a dysfunctional family and when his father, Ezra, a cruel and much disliked man, is found dead ‘Work’ is forced to prove his innocence. As he investigates, he makes some gut churning discoveries that threaten to blow his world apart. Not only does John Hart write big powerful stories, they are beautifully written. His observations of human behaviour, good and bad, ring with insight."

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A Line in the Sand by Gerald Seymour

A Line in the Sand

Gerald Seymour

"No line-up would be complete without a novel from spy writer Gerald Seymour. I probably have more of his books on my bookshelf than any other novelist. (He is no relation!) The story revolves around Frank Perry who spied for the British Government years before. His past catches up when the Iranians send an assassin to kill him. A nail-biting tour de force, Seymour keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wonder whether or not Perry’s protectors can save his life. A former journalist, Seymour provides an unflinching depiction of the political manoeuvrings that take place behind the scenes of the intelligence agencies and government. It’s not always pretty but it absolutely grips."

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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs

Lisa Jewell

"This was the first novel I’d read by Lisa Jewell and definitely was not my last. I’d taken it on holiday and devoured it in two days – I literally could not put it down. I loved the premise: what is the mystery behind a baby found well cared for with the bodies of three people lying in the kitchen next-door? I loved the setting: posh house in Chelsea. I loved the wonderful cast of unusual, colourful characters and, of course, the writing. What more could one ask for?"

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