"I turn to face the stranger. He’s tall and thin, with floppy, straight, dark brown hair and brown eyes. He smiles.
A voice in my head whispers, “Most people wouldn’t do this,” but the whisper isn’t loud enough to stop me."
When a kindly stranger does Chloe a good deed, she decides she must repay him. But in tracing him, she meets a sympathetic woman named Nadine, who warns Chloe to stay away from the man at all costs. “Give him nothing, tell him nothing, don’t trust him,” she says. “Avoid him like the plague.”
Chloe knows the sensible thing to do: walk away. But her curiosity gets the best of her. What is the truth about the good Samaritan? How dangerous could he be? And can Chloe find the answers without putting herself and her daughter in harm’s way?
A twisting, razor-sharp suspense story that will keep you guessing to the very end, The Warning features an appearance from Simon Waterhouse, next seen in the full-length thriller Woman With a Secret - already hailed as “mesmerizing” (Lisa Gardner) and “unputdownable” (Liane Moriartya).
1. What made you to write a short story? How different was to write it from a full novel?
I was asked to write The Warning for a series in the UK called Quick Reads, designed for readers who don't have much free time and are generally put off reading for pleasure by long novels. As soon as I was asked if I had any ideas that were short and relatively simple, I realised that I had the perfect idea! My plots are usually multi-stranded and quite complex, but I'd had this one idea for a while that I was totally obsessed with, and I realised it was a very straightforward linear narrative with very few characters, and just one enormous (and hopefully shocking) twist at the end. It seemed perfect!
2. “The curiosity killed the cat” – what made Chloe want to find the truth about the good, stranger Samaritan?
Well, mainly it was the fact that he was devastatingly handsome, charming and seemed like the perfect man. As Chloe tells her friend Lorna later, no one, male or female, has ever been that nice to her before! So she isn't willing to let this man, who has rescued her from disaster, disappear from her life if she can help it!
3. Mystery, suspense – how do you keep the reader caught up in the story?
With lots of surprising developments, a strong element of emotional obsession on the part of the main character (and on my part, as the author!), and a strong twist at the end always helps! I find that if my main character is puzzled and desperate to find out the truth, then the reader often is too.
4. Some would say that there is a large space between poetry and crime/mystery/thriller – what it takes to write both? What is your “author’s mark”?
I think rhyming, metrical poetry like mine and crime novels have a lot in common, actually. Mainly, what they share is their prioritising of structure, which is crucially important to both genres. In a poem every word has be in exactly the right position in relation to all the other words. In a crime novel, if you want to have a big revelation, you need to plant certain key pieces of information in chapter 3, chapter 11, chapter 17... You lay the groundwork early in preparation for the big surprise at the end. So I guess my "author's mark" is a deep interest in the architecture of whatever I'm writing - the bones beneath the flesh, as it were!
5. You won several awards and your poetry is studied at GCSE – do you feel any pressure as a writer regarding your future works? How do you manage it?
I've only won two awards: an Eric Gregory Award for my first book of poetry, and the National Book Awards Crime Thriller of the Year prize in 2013 for my crime novel The Carrier. I have lots of ideas for future books, so the only pressure I really feel is time pressure: can I meet the latest deadline, given that I'd ideally like to have double that amount of time and given that I have two children and a fairly demanding dog who always wants me to play ball with him?
I haven’t chosen to have this conversation. Nadine Caspian followed me. Forced it on me.
She’s standing three steps above me on the staircase. It makes me feel trapped and small. I wish we could talk on the same level, but we can hardly stand side by side on one step—they’re too narrow.
I can’t decide if she’s attractive or not. Her hair is nice—dark blond, thick and subtly highlighted. Her face is heart shaped and her features big and doll-like, but with a slightly hardened look to them. She’s around my age: early thirties.
“Something tells me you haven’t known Tom Rigbey long,” she says. “You don’t know him well—am I right?”
“This is none of my business, but I’ll say it anyway. You seem like a lovely person, so go and get your gift bag back off Rukia and give it to someone else, anyone else. Have nothing to do with Tom Rigbey. Give him nothing, tell him nothing, trust him not at all.’
About the author:
Sophie Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of nine psychological thrillers as well as The Monogram Murders, the first novel to be authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie. Her books have received numerous awards, including the UK National Book Award, and are published in twenty-seven countries. She lives in Cambridge, England.
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