Monday, 7 November 2016

The Safe Word by Karen Long

Series:  Eleanor Raven #1
Release Date:  14th January 2014
Genres:  Crime Fiction

I'm thrilled to welcome Karen Long back to the blog. Karen is an amazing crime writer and is the brains behind the Eleanor Raven novels, The Safe Word and The Vault. I have been fortunate enough to read the manuscript for the 3rd book in the series and WOW! I'm not going to give anything away but you guys are in for such a treat!!!

And, speaking of treats............The Safe Word is reduced to 99p until the 8th November so that doesn't leave you too much longer to grab this amazing book at such a knockdown price! What are you waiting on!  Let's find out what the books are about!


There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.
Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.


In the unrelenting heat of the Toronto summer, a fire at a land-fill site uncovers the remains of a local prostitute. But the post-mortem reveals disturbing details –the body has been preserved and is not who or what it seems.

DI Eleanor Raven is back on duty six months after barely surviving being kidnapped and tortured by a depraved serial killer. Work is her sanctuary but she’s carrying deep scars – mental as well as physical. Where do you go when the place you feel safest is also the place where you are most at risk?

As Eleanor battles her own demons, it looks as though a killer in the city is making a gruesome human collection. And Eleanor’s fight to save the last victim of the Collector becomes a battle to save herself.


Karen has written us a fantastic guest post about what it's like to write a series. Its a brilliant post so have a read and then I will tell you all about the exciting competition I have for you!


Writing a series of books is, I am finding, not a particularly easy matter. There are several major factors that have to be considered when you first create your central character and the environment she exists in. By environment I mean not just the geographical circumstances but also the characters that complete her world. This environment needs to be rich enough to sustain several major story lines and possess sufficient natural conflict to develop your protagonist’s arc. But - and here’s the big one - each story has to be a stand-alone experience. Which means that a reader should be able to pick up any book in the series and not have to read the preceding novel to understand what’s going on. 

However, once you have created a temporal line for your protagonist, in my case DI Eleanor Raven, her experiences and thought processes have to be influenced by previous events. Now, you can fill the reader in by just including some flashbacks, or a conversation with a secondary character but this can be confusing narratively. Alternatively you could ignore the effects of the last novel and just move on. This doesn’t work for me, personally. I want to get into Eleanor Raven’s head and let her learn about her inner self. This can only be done if there is the opportunity for cumulative learning. When I started the third book in my Eleanor Raven series I found that it couldn’t work if Eleanor still behaved and thought in the same way as she had in the first book, The Safe Word. Although still flawed as a character, she had moved on. She was healing and learning and reacting to secondary characters differently, which is why it is important to develop well-rounded secondary characters in the opening book. I have, apart from a couple of exceptions, maintained the same cast throughout the three books. 

The significant personalities have their own story, which bob in and out of the collective storylines and add, I believe, a richness and depth of character interactions. These can be simple storylines, which form a skein that can be woven into the new storylines, without detracting from the main plot. Giving secondary characters a limited storyline made it much easier to give them a narrative voice and it enables me to create more realistic conflict. I’m not a big fan of every dialogue being a warzone. Conflict is gradual and inconsistent, so I try to introduce subtext. It’s what isn’t being spoken that’s the most interesting. My three novels are chronological and take place six months on from the last. This allows the rawness of the experience to move naturally through the books and make referencing easier – as the previous case is still moving through the judicial system.

Now that I’ve finished the series, would I carry on with another Eleanor Raven novel? I think so, but not immediately. At the moment I’m writing a stand-alone, set in the UK, and am finding that a very different experience. That’s what I love most about writing. Its evolution.


Karen Long was born and raised in the English midlands, educated at Bangor University and taught English and Drama for fifteen years. During her teaching years she studied biology and neurology with the Open University and this interest in medicine, forensics and forensic psychology is reflected in her writing. She is an enthusiastic traveller and has spent time in Toronto, which became the backdrop and inspiration for The Safe Word.  

She is a keen amateur naturalist with a deep and abiding love for the crow family. She has dedicated time, love and several fingers in an effort to rehabilitate crows, magpies, rooks and ravens.   

Karen is happy to correspond with readers and can be contacted through her website, where she posts regular blogs. 

The Safe Word is Karen's first novel and was an Amazon bestseller, soon joined by the second in the Eleanor Raven series, The Vault. Karen is working on the third novel in the series.

All author or review enquires please contact Karen Long’s Personal Assistant J.B. Johnston –

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2 Responses so far.

  1. who doesnt love signed will be in very good company x

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