With Malice (Review & Interview!)

Finished With Malice by Eileen Cook.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

A read about a teenage girl who wakes up in a hospital bed and cannot remember the last six weeks of her life, including the accident that killed her best friend–only what if the accident wasn’t an accident?

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.”


What was it like to write (what seems like) a thriller-type novel?

I both loved writing this book and hated it.  I loved the characters and the story, but it was the most complex novel that I’ve written. There were stacks of notecards, outlines, character back stories etc all piled up in my office. I wrote three full drafts -reworking and reworking details. I am willing to admit there were plenty of times when I would flop dramatically across the top of my desk and declare that “I can’t make it work! It’s hopeless!”  Then after whining for a period of time I’d pull back on my big girl writer panties and try again.
I love reading thrillers so it was a challenge to see if I could pull off one that I would want to read. I also really came to love the main character Jill and all of her complexities. I wanted to do her justice in the novel, showing all her flaws, but hoping that readers will come to appreciate her the way I did.

What are you working on? (Or, if you can’t say, what sort of research do you do for your novels?)

If I’m honest I am the happiest when I have a book project underway. During the periods when I’m not writing I feel a bit adrift and purposeless. I love the day-to-day process of trying to get an idea from my head onto the page and seeing how it evolves and changes.

My current work in progress involves a young woman who is a fake psychic. She gives readings to people in her school to make money so that she can get out her small town. This has given me an excuse to do a whole bunch of random research including the fact that I am getting to be pretty good at reading Tarot cards myself.  I can’t tell you too much about the book at this point, but it involves a missing girl, a prediction that is less psychic and more made up, and a bunch of lies that cause more trouble than the main character ever imagined possible.

What are you reading now?

I just finished a non fiction book called Paper by Mark Kulansky.  It gives the history of paper through different cultures and times. I know this is totally dorky, but I love learning odd random details like this. Imagine what fun I am at dinner parties!

Next up for me to read is an ARC of a book called Speed of Life by JM Kelly.  I’ve been asked to read it for a blurb. I’ve peeked at the first few pages and I think I will really enjoy it. The characters are different and complicated and there are few things I enjoy more than stories with complicated people.


Oh, you guys, this book.  I seriously could not stop reading and I kept going back and forth on whether I thought that Jill killed her best friend Simone (and whether it was deliberate or an accident).

I also completely felt for Jill—I can’t even imagine how horrible it would be to know that your best friend is dead and that you’re the prime suspect and to not even know for sure what happened to her.  AND there’s the fact that you’ve lost your last few weeks together so you wouldn’t even have a context for what happened. AND she had a fantastic trip to Italy that she can’t remember—which, granted, is not as big a loss as the other things, but still.

This novel kept me guessing and also threw me right out of a reading slump. It’s ideal beach reading (if you like suspense) and this is the perfect time for that.

Highly recommended.




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