Charlie Cochrane on Lessons for Sleeping Dogs ~ Blog Tour, Guest Blog, Local Giveaway

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Charlie Cochrane for stopping by today.


Title: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: Riptide
Cover Artist:
Genre: Historical, M/M Romance, Mystery


Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

– See more at:

What can Thriller Writers learn from the Movies?

Don’t make the viewer/reader mad, for a start. I don’t know about you, but anachronisms or plot holes “do my head in” as my daughters so politely put it. I can wink at the odd error or loose end (wasn’t it Raymond Chandler who famously didn’t know who had committed one of the murders in The Big Sleep?) but if there are too many of them, I lose all interest in the film or book concerned. I’m a mild mannered girl (honest guv) but when it came to that bit in Jurassic Park where they talked about combining dinosaurian DNA with amphibian I almost threw a brick at the screen.

So, lesson 1. Take care, check your facts and check your plot for holes below the waterline. Don’t lose readers because of something that was well within your control to sort out before your book hit the presses.

Careful when you tinker about with franchises –the author of a series featuring a particular detective/s needs to be really cautious of changes to the bits that readers like and identify with. Look at the problems Conan Doyle had because of what he made happen at the Reichenbach falls. And it’s a rare film series that can keep up the quality – and make its fans happy – all the way through. I’m struggling to think of any original sequence of movies (apart from Wallace and Gromit) which hasn’t tailed off in some way. Think of your own favourites (Star wars? POTC?) Was there a point where you realised that everything you loved from the first movie had gone overboard and the magic wasn’t there anymore?

Lesson 2. Think long and hard before you make drastic changes to a much loved character/pairing/setting/concept. You might be getting a bit bored with your creation, but the fans might never forgive you for “ruining” things.

Pace the action. Seems obvious to mix the roller coaster moments with a bit of time for readers/viewers to get their breath back although film makers/authors don’t always do it. That may be absolutely fine if it suits audience need, but sometimes it doesn’t. I was brought up on radio dramas, half an hour once a week, and they could be – just like the Saturday morning cinema serials – brilliant at getting the pacing spot on. Nice engaging start each week to get you hooked, natty little cliff-hanger at the end of the episode to get you to come back next time. If you ever read Charles Dickens’ books you’ll find a similar pattern, because he often wrote for serialisation in magazines. Doesn’t have to be a big cliff-hanger at the end of chapters; a neat turn of phrase or a clear ending of one part of the story – a definitive action or speech by a character – works just as well and marks the transition to a new part of the tale.

Lesson 3. Make your chapters work for you, marking off parts of the story and helping the reader go through the tale rather than just being arbitrary divisions of the plot, or solely based on location. And don’t cheat! We can all think of examples (those Saturday morning serials were the worst but the radio could play fast and loose just the same) where the hero or heroine was stuck in some impossible situation, only for the solution at the start of next week’s episode to be a total cop out. How swindled did we feel?

Don’t short change your readers. Don’t get your hero into a fix and then have something little short of divine intervention get him out. Don’t withhold vital information about your heroine’s situation/the crime she’s solving. Make your clues obscure by all means but do put them in and don’t suddenly produce a cousin three times removed who stands to inherit the estate like a rabbit from a hat three pages from the end. On the other hand, don’t be too blooming obvious. We all know that when the well-upholstered man states at the start of the film that he used to be a tightrope walker, he’ll be called on to make some daring rooftop foray at some point, probably perishing in the process but saving that nine-year old girl. May have been new in the 1970’s, but it isn’t now.

To paraphrase a bit from one of my favourite films, “Singing in the Rain”, “Subtlety, always subtlety…”


Lessons for Sleeping Dogs on Goodreads
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA


Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for your choice of an a ebook from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Sleeping Dogs.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 17, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your contact information so we can reach you if you win!

About the Author

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.
Connect with Charlie:
Twitter: @charliecochrane
Facebook profile page:


Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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14 thoughts on “Charlie Cochrane on Lessons for Sleeping Dogs ~ Blog Tour, Guest Blog, Local Giveaway

  1. Great post! I agree with you, sometimes a good film can teach many things about how to develop a plot… But many more times a bad film can teach you how not to do it…


  2. Thanks for your post. I also hate blatant anachronisms that could be easily avoided with a minimum of fact check. I once stopped reading a novel because a medieval nun was drinking hot chocolate, centuries before Columbus discovered America (well, and the story was not very engaging)


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