Thursday, 14 December 2017

Blog Tour - Rachel Sargeant

Blog Tour
15th December

Welcome to my blog Rachel, thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today to talk about your exciting new novel. I have been very lucky to have read and thoroughly enjoyed the novel already and will be posting the review on my blog today.

Guest Blog by Rachel Sargeant with an Extract from The Perfect Neighbours. Over to Rachel...

Hello, everyone. I’d like to thank Emily for agreeing to provide the first stop on my blog tour for my psychological thriller, The Perfect Neighbours, published today.

I took up writing as a hobby about seventeen years ago. I’m the author of two published novels and am thrilled to have joined the HarperCollins Killer Reads list with my third.
Advice often given is “write what you know” and to some extent that’s what I’ve done with The Perfect Neighbours. My setting is a cul-de-sac in a British expatriate community in Germany. I lived in a similar street for ten yearsThankfully my neighbours were nothing like the sinister inhabitants of my fictional location, but I’ve tried to convey the sense of a world within a world and how central character Helen, unable to speak German, feels trapped and bored. 

When I’m not at work or writing, my other main pastime is swimming and I go three times a week. I’m hardly Olympic standard but my character Helen is a lot better than me and makes frequent visits to an outdoor pool as her one escape from the claustrophobic atmosphere of the expat enclave. 

I’m delighted to bring you an extract from The Perfect Neighbours in which Helen goes to the pool for the first time but encounters someone that one day she’ll come to wish she’d never met.

7: Monday 3 May 

Cold pinched Helen’s arms and thighs as she stepped out of the changing room into the open air. It turned to tingling, comforting heat as she slid into the water. She dropped under the surface and set off at a gentle crawl.
It felt like home. 
She quickened her stroke, her hands cutting deep through the water. Of course, Gary had been right to insist she came to this pool, but he’d called her silly and stubborn. He’d never said that to her before, not even when she wanted to stay in England. Their marriage, so serene during the weekends they spent in Shrewsbury, was changing. She looked up at the clock by the exit. The last 200 metres were not far off her personal best. 
The exertions of the early lengths caught up with her and she slowed her pace. There was no sign of Louisa’s 400 petition signatories and they couldn’t all be at the wives’ breakfast; even Louisa’s catering had its limits. On the far side of the pool was an elderly couple, floating from one end to the other, the full fifty metres, at a rate too slow to be classed as swimming. The woman was on her front with her flowery swimming cap so high out of the water she was almost standing up. Her husband was on his back, also head high, as if sitting in a favourite armchair.
The only other swimmer was a man who, with the whole pool to swim in, chose to carve out lengths a mere three feet away. He was constantly in her field of vision, keeping pace. Just like Louisa - wherever she turned, she found her. Louisa must have sent her envoy to the pool to stalk her. Helen smiled to herself, knowing how ridiculous she was being. She upped her speed to shake him off but was surprised he didn’t stay with her for a second length. She slowed down, despite all her competitive training telling her not to, and finished the length at a leisurely rate. 
When she looked back, he set off from the far end swimming butterfly. His technique was good: arms sweeping wide and low, allowing his shoulders to clear the water, conserving energy. He was veering to the left, towards Helen, as his stronger arm pushed deeper. She should move out of his way but she was annoyed at the invasion of her space and stayed put. His left arm reached the wall about six inches from her shoulder.
Entschuldigung,” he said, lifting his goggles. “Mein Fehler.”
“I don’t speak German,” she replied although she was pretty sure his unfamiliar words were an apology.
His shoulders stiffened. “You are from the international school.” It sounded like an accusation. He climbed out of the water and slipped on the flip-flops he’d left on the poolside.
He walked towards the shower on the grass area behind the pool. Tall and rangy. In swimming trunks his arms and chest were sleek with good muscle definition. In clothes he would appear skinny. How old was he - twenty one, twenty two? He’d fill out with age. He turned around in the shower and saw her looking. She blushed. He came back and squatted on the poolside behind her. “You are from the school,” he said again.
“I’ve just arrived from England,” she conceded.
His shoulders relaxed.  “So you are new. Do you like it?”
“I’m looking forward to getting to know Germany.”
“Germany. But not the school?” He shook his head. “It’s okay you mustn’t explain. I work there also, IT support, but I live here in the village. My name is Sascha Jakobsen.” He had an accent, although he pronounced “village” with a v rather than the favoured by most Germans trying out the English word. 
He pushed the wet fringe out of his eyes. A tiny wave of something unexpected rippled through Helen’s body. He was waiting for her to introduce herself but to talk for longer would stop them being strangers and she sensed danger in that.
“Bye then,” she said, preparing to glide away.
Tschüs,” Sascha said. He walked towards the changing room.
Helen launched both arms over the water and dolphin-kicked her legs. He wasn’t the only one who could swim butterfly. She wondered whether he was watching but told herself to stop wondering.

About the book
Published: 15th December 2017 (HarperCollins Killer Reads)
‘Builds from a creeping sense of unease to a jaw-dropping climax and a denouement I defy anyone to see coming.’ Chris Curran, author of Her Deadly Secret
The perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies… When Helen moves to Germany with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to join the expat community of teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare.
Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret… As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.
When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the neighbourhood, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything.
Available from Amazon:
Or HarperCollins website:

About the author
Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire. The Perfect Neighbours is her third novel. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. Rachel has a degree in German and Librarianship from Aberystwyth University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. She spent several years living in Germany where she taught English and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.
To find out more about Rachel and her writing, please visit her website:

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing, it's good to read out the Title which grab the attention. I have read a comic book on "Signs and Voice" written by Zam Naqvi, a screenwriter from London, an interesting storytelling skill with the novel