by Cristelle Comby
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GENRE: Mystery & Detectives
It is supposed to be Neve and Egan. Two partners, a team. What happens when a member of this team of Private Investigators is shot, prognosis unknown?
As Alexandra Neve lays comatose and defenceless, Ashford Egan must take on their enemy alone, and find the cagiest criminal Scotland Yard has seen in decades. Determined to succeed, Egan will stop at nothing. He’ll hit on married women, plant bugs, hire hitmen. And he’ll do it all blind, which makes things ten times as difficult.
Double-crossed by friends, convinced there is corruption in those sworn to uphold the law, Egan is forced to form unlikely alliances as he moves forward in a game that requires skills, nerves of steel, and a willingness to play against all odds.
There is something Dimitri isn’t telling me. It is there in his voice. Hidden behind the words, behind the constructs he is trying to project. He isn’t being honest, I am convinced of it. He has the means to get in touch with The Sorter, if he so wants, but that service won’t come for free.
‘You’re a merchant,’ I say.
‘Da,’ he replies. ‘I am.’
‘And you accept all kinds of currencies?’
‘Well,’ I sigh, ‘what will it cost me?’
Dimitri chuckles again. There is a dark sincerity to the sound. ‘I like you, Ashford,’ he says. ‘I have always liked you. You’re blind, but you see more than most. You understand how life works and you accept it. You’re not of my world, but you fit right in.’
I grit my teeth in reply, waiting for the penny to drop.
I hear Dimitri snap his fingers and then footsteps coming closer—a man, judging by the sounds, tall and a little on the heavy side, according to his stride and the echo his boots make on the tiled floor.
‘Sir?’ the newcomer says. He sounds younger than Dimitri, closer to Lexa’s age, I would guess, and eager to please.
Dimitri addresses him in his mother tongue.
‘Yes, sir,’ the newcomer replies before turning on his heel and walking away at a brisk pace.
‘There is a certain something you could help me with,’ Dimitri tells me.
‘Anything,’ I say.
‘A man I have been doing business with has… how would you say… played me.’ He spits the words out as if they are distasteful. ‘He’s been missing since Monday.’
‘What did he do?’ I ask.
‘He ran away with my money.’
‘And I can’t find him. He’s hiding, but his wife is still in town.’
‘And you think she knows where to find him?’ I ask, guessing what I am being “hired” for.
‘Maybe, maybe not. Alas, she has connections and I have to be careful.’
‘Connections?’ I ask.
‘Her sister is police.’ Again he says the word as if it leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. ‘My men are keeping an eye on her, making sure the husband doesn’t come for a visit, but that’s all we can do. We can’t be seen. I don’t want the cops to get near me. They are like bloodhounds once they have your scent.’
‘But,’ I say, ‘if someone who isn’t part of your organisation were to do the job and get caught by the dogs… it wouldn’t inconvenience you too much, would it?’
I can hear the smile in Dimitri’s reply. ‘No, it would not.’
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Cristelle Comby author of Blind Chess.
Hi Cristelle, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
What were you like at school?
Very disciplined, very attentive. I tended to have good grades without having to put too much effort in it.
I didn’t talk much and didn’t have that many friends, so that helped (fewer distraction).
Were you good at English?
Yes; it was one of my favorite subject. I think I started English when I was thirteen, and I got hooked from the get go. It was the complete opposite of German — which I hated with a fierce passion — where I had to work very hard to have barely adequate grades. French (which is my first language) was okay. I was really good at everything creative and a little less good with spelling and grammar.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’ve just begun working on a new series. It’s going to be quite a change from the Neve & Egan cases… a new city, new characters, a new genre.
I’ve been living with the same characters for the past four years and I needed a break. Plus I’ve been dying to try my hand at some Urban Fantasy for awhile so that’s what I’m working on now.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write on the weekends, because I work during the week. And also when I’m on holidays. I think it’s a great balance.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m obsessive about outlining. It has become a pivotal part of my work method. This book’s my fourth, and if you were to ask me what the biggest difference is between how I approached book one and book four, the answer would be: outlining more. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to have everything figured out beforehand. Now, I spend weeks, months even, carefully planning out the story before I type down the first word.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Audiobook. I love to listen to a good book on my way to work (train + bus, 1+ hour).
What books are you reading at present?
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor. I’m currently reading the fourth book of the series. It’s about a team of historians that travel through time and always end up being in the wrong place at the wrong time; it’s a lot of fun.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I wanted to do something simple yet dynamic, with a retro-feel to it. Because one of my main characters is blind, I wanted a background that looked like you could touch it. It is made out of several layers of textures, like jeans and leather. Then there’s the Union Jack, the UK flag, because all the stories are set in London. And then, on each cover, one element which summarizes the book, and of course the title and my name.
Who designed your book cover?
I do. I’ve been using Photoshop for over fifteen years now, so I’m lucky enough to have the knowledge to it on my own. The only thing that I had sub-contract is the pendant on the cover of book two (it was done by a CGI artist), for everything else I’ve used my own pictures.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They can visit my official website at www.CristelleComby.com . There’s also a newsletter, if you want to keep up with the book releases.
Any final words?
Thanks for having me for a second time. It’s always a pleasure to drop by.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.
Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
Blind Chess is her fourth new-adult novel in the Neve & Egan series.
Cristelle Comby will be awarding all four books of the series, signed by the author (International Giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.