Hi everyone! It’s that time again for….. A blog tour!
Today is Books Beyond The Story’s stop for LK Chapman’s book, ‘The Stories She Tells’.
What’s it about?
When Michael decides to track down ex-girlfriend Rae who disappeared ten years ago while pregnant with his baby, he knows it could change his life forever. His search for her takes unexpected turns as he unearths multiple changes of identity and a childhood she tried to pretend never happened, but nothing could prepare him for what awaits when he finally finds her.
Appearing to be happily married with a brand-new baby daughter, Rae is cagey about what happened to Michael’s child and starts to say alarming things- that her husband is trying to force her to give up her new baby for adoption, that he’s attempting to undermine the bond between her and her child, and deliberately making her doubt her own sanity.
As Michael is drawn in deeper to her disturbing claims he begins to doubt the truth of what she is saying. But is she really making it all up, or is there a shocking and heartbreaking secret at the root of the stories she tells?
This story is incredibly ambitious, thought-provoking and takes you on a high-speed thrill ride throughout! I was very excited to sink my teeth into this book; I hadn’t read a good psychological mystery for some time and thought that this story would be perfect to break my slump… and it did. This story is all about love, betrayal, family secrets and lies. The perfect recipe for a book of this kind.
I was constantly second guessing myself and was wary of all the characters from the start. Although the characters kept me guessing, revealing little by little, they still emanated a strong presence in the book.
The plot had so many twists and turns at times I felt I had to turn the page quickly in order to keep up! This book is exhausting as the build-up of tension is continuous yet necessary. It’s meant to be fast-paced as otherwise it would be long and drawn-out… who would want that in a psychological mystery genre?
I wasn’t sure which way this book was going to go in the end, but I wasn’t disappointed. I won’t spoil the ending for you except that it fits in brilliantly with the novel as a whole!
Praise for Chapman, I really enjoyed this read and am thrilled to be a part of the official blog tour!
What’s more is I have an extract of the book to share with you!
TEN YEARS AGO
‘Michael! Sadie!’ the voice the other side of the bathroom door shouted. ‘We know you’re in there. Just hurry up already.’ The voice startled Michael, and he swore as he struggled to sort his clothes out. The girl, Sadie, was watching him from under her fringe as she did up the buttons on her blue-and-white checked shirt. ‘What?’ he said to her. The word came out sounding far harsher than he meant it to, but the guilt was beginning to set in and he was angry with himself. ‘Aren’t you going to say anything to me?’ she asked. Michael took a step towards her, but he swayed drunkenly. He reached out to steady himself, but what he thought was a solid surface turned out to be a shower curtain and he almost fell over. For a moment the image of himself falling into the shower filled his mind and he let out a stupid giggle, then he looked at the girl again. She’d finished dressing now and was watching him uncertainly. She smoothed down her shirt, fussed briefly with a beaded bracelet around her wrist and then said, ‘I’m going home now.’ Michael stared at her. What should he say? What was a normal thing to say? Should he offer to walk home with her, or would she rather he left her alone? His mind wouldn’t work fast enough, and he ended up saying the worst thing possible. ‘Don’t tell Rae,’ he said. Sadie looked as though she’d been slapped, then her eyes flashed with anger and she strode past him towards the door in a swish of sandy hair and a waft of some sort of sweet smell. Strawberries? Michael wondered. No, he told himself, what adult woman would smell of strawberries? He reached out for her arm. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘I’m sorry…’ He struggled for her name. ‘Uh…’ ‘Sadie,’ she said. ‘My name is Sadie.’ Michael nodded. Whoever was outside started knocking on the door again. Most of the people at the party knew his girlfriend, Rae. That was all he could think about. They all knew Rae, and they all knew that he’d come upstairs and gone in the bathroom to have sex with someone else. He made an absurd giggling sound again. There were four bedrooms in the house and all of them had been occupied with other couples. It had to be the most hormone-fuelled party he’d ever been to. It was as if everyone was taking one last chance to act crazy before they headed off to whatever their future was now the exams were over. He turned towards Sadie, meaning to say something nice – or at least coherent – but instead his mouth hung open and no words came out. Sadie pushed past him, and she looked upset. ‘Sadie,’ he said, ‘hey, wait―’ She unlocked the bathroom door and ran out. He thought he heard her mutter something as she left. It sounded like, ‘I’m so stupid.’ He watched her pushing through the queue outside the door, and then she was gone. Some of the people were laughing, and someone said, ‘At last.’ Michael tried to follow her but he couldn’t get through the crush of people. The hallway began to spin in front of his eyes so he slumped down on the carpet. He must have passed out then, because for a time he forgot everything.
The guilt began to set in again as Michael staggered home a few hours later. All he could think about was Rae. Would she find out what he’d done? She couldn’t find out. If she found out she’d be devastated, and it would be so pointless for her to be devastated over something so meaningless. Yes, he and Rae had been arguing a lot recently. And yes, he wasn’t quite sure if he loved her any more, but he didn’t want it to be over, did he? He certainly hadn’t meant to find Sadie, or to cheat on Rae with her. He paused at the side of the road and a surreal feeling washed over him as he remembered it. He took a few steps forward and then stopped again. It had been so good. The thought of it had been good, the moment he’d realised Sadie was actually up for it had been better, the reality had felt like – he struggled with his thick, drunken mind to find the right word. Flying: It had been like flying, he decided, even if he’d been too drunk to fly very well. Michael looked at the time on his phone. He had to hold it about five centimetres from his face before he could read it, and even then the numbers danced before his eyes: 05:40. He started walking again, and for a while he lost track of his thoughts. When he drew near to his house he felt relieved and started to walk faster. He wanted to be home now. If he could crawl into bed it felt like it would all go away. Then only a few more days and it would be the end of university altogether, and he’d have a whole summer while he helped out in his parents’ musty old furniture shop to try to put right what he’d done. A solitary car passed by, making a whooshing sound in the thin layer of drizzle on the tarmac. Michael shivered. He had barely noticed that it had begun to rain. His house was within sight as he passed a small, dark side road and heard movement behind him. He turned, but before he could see what was happening his head exploded with pain. He cried out, and was dimly aware of a woman screaming. He realised he was being dragged from the pavement and away from the main street. Feeling weak and stunned, he tried to fight, but he couldn’t. When the next blows came he stopped being aware of them as the world fell away, and he slipped into blackness.
About the Author
Louise Katherine Chapman was born in Somerset, UK, in 1986. She studied psychology at the University of Southampton and has worked as a psychologist creating personality questionnaires for a consultancy company. She has also spent some time volunteering for mental health charity Mind.
Chapman loves to write because she loves learning about people and she loves stories. A major turning point in her life was the day she realised that no matter how strange, cruel or unfathomable the actions of other people can sometimes be, there is always a reason for it, some sequence of events to be unravelled. Since then she is always asking “why” and “what if” and she is fascinated by real life stories capturing the strength, peculiarities or extremes of human nature.
LK Chapman’s first novel, Networked, was a sci-fi thriller but now she’s turned her attention to writing psychological suspense. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and young family, and enjoys walks in the woods, video games, and spending time with family and friends.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post!
CLICK HERE to get your hands on a copy!
Don’t forget to see the other stops on this tour! See below:
Happy Reading! Lx