by Cristelle Comby
Private investigators Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan are hired to succeed where the police have failed, to safely return home a missing ballerina. With no lead to pursue and no idea who could be behind the young woman’s kidnapping, they soon find themselves at a loss as to what to do.
To make matters worse, the heart of England seems to be caught in the middle of a little Ice Age. With snow endlessly falling and Tube lines either too cramped up to use or out of service, it is a pain to do any legwork in the huge metropolis.
Oh, and because trouble never comes alone, there may also be a serial killer on the loose in the streets of East London…
I take a better look at the dancer facing us. He looks… fragile more than shy. He has bags under his eyes, his nails show the traces of nervous biting, and his clothes are ill-fitting. Lack of sleep, tension, weight loss. What is going on in Marc Jules’ life? What is he trying to hide from us? ‘That’s not all, is it?’ I lean forward, look at him square on. ‘There’s something you’re not telling us. It’s plain to see.’
The young man shrinks in on himself even more. ‘No… no, nothing. I told you everything I know. I have no idea where Isabella is. I swear.’ A thought strikes me, and I try another angle. ‘She obviously means something to you.’
The man’s eyes shift to the side as he focuses all of his attention on the half-empty lemonade glass sitting on the table. Gotcha!
‘You like her, yet you refuse to help us; it doesn’t make sense,’ I continue. ‘What would Isabella say if she could see you now?’
‘I don’t know anything,’ Marc protests with fervour.
‘I’d tell you if I knew. I like her, she’s my friend. I want to find her too.’
‘Then stop lying to us,’ Egan says. ‘What are you not telling us?’
‘If what you’re saying is the truth, you would do well to stop keeping things from us. You’re slowing us down, Marc; you’re wasting our time,’
I continue, relentless. I can feel we’re close to breaking him, so very close. ‘Do you know how valuable time is, in a situation like this? Time is everything. Every second we’re wasting on you is taking us further away from Isabella.’
‘You’re letting her down, right now.’ Egan adds. ‘Maybe you’re not her friend after all.’
‘No — she’s my friend. I swear.’ Marc rushes the words out, tears welling up in his eyes.
‘She’s helped me when no one else would. I owe her so much.’
My eyebrows rise up at the words and I cock my head to the side, my expression expectant.
Marc bites down hard on his lip the second he finishes his sentence. He didn’t mean to reveal this much to us, but it’s too late now. The cat’s out of the bag. I soften my tone now that I’ve got what I wanted. ‘What do you mean, Marc? How did she help you?’
‘I don’t… she just…’ He stops himself, crosses his arms over his chest. ‘It’s nothing to do with any of this.’
‘Let us be the judges of that,’ Egan says. ‘If Isabella was involved, it could be relevant.’
‘It’ll stay between us,’ I promise. ‘We’re not the police, Marc. Whatever it is, no one else needs to know.’
The young man lets out a long breath as he uncrosses his arms. Defeated, he lets his hands hang limp in his lap.
It is my pleasure to welcome Cristelle Comby, author of Danse Macabre, to Room With Books.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I have a day job that takes me a lot of time and a commute which is an hour long every morning and every evening. In my free time I write, watch TV or listen to music. In the summer, I love going on walks in the countryside.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I tried to go the traditional way, I prepared query letters and sent them to a LOT of agents. Most never replied, others sent the patented “It’s not bad — it’s just not what we’re looking for, sorry” and a few outright tried to scam me. In the end, I thought “Screw it!” and I self-published. I got three books out that way; I don’t regret it. They’re selling, I keep getting super nice reviews, and even get fan mail.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Teleportation. It would save me on the commute. 🙂
What was your first job?
Like your typical female student, I was a babysitter. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I needed the money.
What types of books do you write?
Mystery and detectives novels.
Who’s your main audience?
I think the official category is ‘New Adult’ but everyone above age of 15 can read my books.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
It’s always a tough choice between Neve and Egan — I love them both so much. In Danse Macabre, I think Neve wins by a hair’s breath. She’s really the though one in this one, she’s supportive of Egan, and driven to see their case to the end. It’s qualities I admire in a human being.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I write during the weekend or when I’m on holidays. During the week I think of the next scenes, try to picture them in my head, see which angle works best.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
Well, I’ve never had to solve a crime, or find a stolen necklace. But, the way Neve and Egan do it is how I’d do it. Except, I’d be a lot less successful and I’d probably be arrested by the cops for interfering within a day or two.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
Yes, it always comes to me very easily. Usually within the first one or two weeks of working on a new story.
Pick one profession you would choose if you were not an author. Why?
Actress. It was my dream job when I was younger, and I still wouldn’t mind doing that. I studied stage acting for a few years when I was a kid; I’ve been in a few plays, had some jobs as extra in a few TV Shows and movies. Unfortunately my country isn’t very kind to actors, so I’d have to move elsewhere to have a chance.
What are you currently working on?
The next book in the Neve & Egan series. It will be titled Blind Chess, and it picks up where Danse Macabre ends.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Coffee
Night owl, or early bird? Very early bird.
Red, or white wine? Neither. I don’t drink alcohol.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Roller Coasters. The craziest the better!
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Ocean.
Walking or fitness club? Walking.
Any last words?
Reviews are like warm cookies, so don’t hesitate to let me know what you thought of the book.
Thank you for chatting with me and our readers and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour!
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.
Danse Macabre is her third new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.
One signed copy of “Danse Macabre” will be awarded via Rafflecopter after the tour.
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