I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Bad Turn, the latest in the Charlie Fox series from the brilliant Zoe Sharp. And I think we need to give praise to that cover! Isn’t it stunning!
Thanks to Ayo Onatade for inviting me to take part. I’ve got a cracking guest post lined up for you all.
But first, here’s what it is all about:
One bad turn…deserves another.
Charlie Fox has quit her job in close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently out of options.
House-sitting in rural New Jersey has to be the pits—TV and TV dinners. A far cry from Iraq… Bulgaria… Afghanistan. Unlucky or not, she happens to be around at the right time to foil a violent kidnap attempt on Helena, wife of billionaire arms dealer, Eric Kincaid.
Kincaid offers her a job looking after Helena. The rumours about Kincaid’s business empire say he’s gone over to the dark side, but Charlie is in no position to be fussy. And protecting people against those who want to do them harm is what she’s good at. But when the threats against the Kincaids escalate, and then follow the couple over to Europe, Charlie’s really going to have to up her game. It’s time to take the fight to the enemy.
Charlie’s at her best putting an end to trouble. Now she must learn to strike first. And hope that the Kincaids don’t discover the secret she’s been keeping from them, right from the start.
HEroes vs SHEroes
BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13
I’ve always loved to read thrillers, starting back with Alistair MacLean, Ian Fleming, and Arthur Hailey and reading just everyone in the genre from there onward.
The only problem I found was with the women portrayed in those old books. They tended to be a bit on the passive side. And even today, if you read action/adventure novels, you still come across female characters who seem to have no role other than to be rescued by the hero, scream in a firefight and tend to the wounded.
I wanted to read about women who would do their own rescuing. If they screamed in a firefight it would be more by way of a war cry, and they would be more likely to deal out wounds than have to deal with them, thank you very much.
That was when the character of Charlie Fox really started to come to life in my head. I wasn’t sure, when I first began to write about her, that other people would have the same desire to read about such a strong, no-nonsense heroine. Fortunately, they did and still do—BAD TURN: Charlie Fox #13 is just out. So far, the series has seen Charlie go from teaching people to defend themselves in a northern English city to working for a top New York close-protection agency. Although, this time out her employer—as well as her motivations—are a little harder to fathom.
It bugs me a little that I have to use the word ‘strong’ to describe Charlie. To me, she’s a capable woman who happens to work in a very male-dominated field. To succeed, she’s got to be not simply as good as the men, but demonstrably better. There’s no reason why she can’t be as skilled with weapons or why she can’t have the same mind-set as the guys she works alongside. No reason why she can’t fight on equal terms, either.
I studied a great deal of self-defence before I started working on the Charlie Fox books. Part of what I learned definitely shaped the character and all the techniques I write about would work in the situations I use them.
When we were exchanging emails about this blog post, Sharon mentioned the improvised knuckle-duster I made out of a table fork when I taught a practical workshop on writing action scenes at Crime & Publishment earlier this year. That’s just the kind of thing Charlie would employ. In one of the books (ROAD KILL) she even beat up an intruder using a rolled-up magazine. And as a nod to the cosier end of the genre, in THIRD STRIKE, she uses a knitting needle to stab an opponent.
There have been more kick-ass sheroes in recent years—in movies as well as in print. The movie version of Wonder Woman was a hoot. (What I didn’t know until I looked it up is that the original Captain Marvel was a man, and the Carol Danvers character was apparently introduced as his girlfriend, ‘Ms Marvel’, only in the late 1970s.)
While I normally wince a bit at hybrid words (‘chillax’ anyone?) I confess I do quite like the term ‘shero’. The word ‘heroine’ calls up too many associations that don’t quite fit, just as ‘mistress’ is somehow not simply the feminine version of ‘master’.
It was my aim to make Charlie just as kick-ass as the male heroes of other crime thrillers but to show that any violence has consequences—both for victim and perpetrator. If Charlie is never entirely comfortable with the extremes to which she is occasionally forced to go, then I hope that just demonstrates her depth as a character rather than than any kind of weakness as a woman.
BAD TURN is published in ebook, mass-market paperback, hardcover and Large Print editions on September 27 2019. For more information visit www.ZoeSharp.com.
Wow! Brilliant post Zoe! And every time I eat my dinner, I stare at my fork and remember that weekend well!
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the bloggers on the tour:
Bad Turn is available to purchase from:
About the author
Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire but spent most of her formative years living aboard a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. After a promising start at a private girls’ school, she opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve in favour of correspondence courses at home.
Sharp went through a variety of jobs in her teenage years. In 1988, on the strength of one accepted article and a fascination with cars, she gave up her regular job to become a freelance motoring writer. She quickly picked up on the photography side of things and her photojournalism took her as far afield as Japan and the United States, as well as work all over Europe, Ireland, and the UK. She is now a full-time fiction author and creator of the Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.
Sharp wrote her first novel when she was fifteen, but success came in 2001 with the publication of KILLER INSTINCT—the first book to feature her ex-Special Forces turned bodyguard heroine, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox. The character evolved after Sharp received death-threat letters in the course of her photojournalism work.
As well as the Charlie Fox novels, Sharp has written several standalones, including collaborations with highly regarded espionage thriller author, John Lawton. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, and have been shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger by the UK Crime Writers’ Association. Her other writing has won or been nominated for numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic, been used in Danish school textbooks, inspired an original song and music video, and been optioned for TV and film.
A keen library supporter and public speaker, Sharp blogs regularly on her Blog page. She also witters on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fools about on Facebook (ZoeSharpAuthor). She was formerly a long-term contributor to the acclaimed Murderati blog. She’s a regular blogger at MURDER IS EVERYWHERE and also has a presence on goodreads.
Zoë Sharp leads a somewhat peripatetic lifestyle. When she isn’t crewing yachts, renovating houses, or improvising weapons out of everyday objects, she can often be found international pet-sitting in various corners of the world.