“The beach house was the perfect place to hide. Or so she thought . . .
When Grace Jensen returns to her home one day, she finds a body in a pool of blood and a menacing gift left for her.
The community of Lookout Beach is shocked by such a brutal intrusion in their close-knit neighbourhood – particularly to a family as successful and well-liked as the Jensens – and a police investigation to find the trespasser begins.
But Grace knows who’s after her. She might have changed her name and moved across the world, deciding to hide on the Oregon coast, but she’s been waiting seventeen years for what happened in the small Welsh town where she grew up to catch-up with her.
Grace might seem like the model neighbour and mother, but nobody in Lookout Beach – not even her devoted husband Elias – knows the real her. Or how much blood is on her hands.
The hottest, edge-of-your-seat summer thriller, perfect for fans of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and The Holiday by T. M. Logan.“
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Later this week, on Thursday 21st April, one of my favourite books from 2021 will be published in paperback. The hugely compelling The Beach House by Beverley Jones is coming to a bookshop near you from Thursday and I wholeheartedly recommend you do everything in your power to pick up a copy. In order to celebrate this stunning books release I am delighted to welcome Beverley to the blog today to talk about her trip to Oregon, the Goonies and the inspiration behind this cracking book.
What I Did on My Summer Holiday
Beverley Jones talks about her new novel The Beach House, and how a childhood obsession, and a trip to Oregon, inspired her latest psychological thriller.
A long time ago… (in the 1980s), in a land, far, far away, (well, Wales) there was a little girl who loved adventure stories. She was taken to the cinema for a birthday treat, her favourite escape from the post-industrial landscape of the South Wales valleys. Once she was seated in the old-fashioned theatre, the lights dimmed and she was transported to a wild American seashore through a tale of pirates and buried treasure, villainous escaped convicts and a deformed but good-hearted anti-hero called Sloth.
That film was Steven Spielberg’s The Goonies, set in Astoria, in Oregon, and over the years, the VHS copy, later recorded from the TV, was played endlessly on wet Sunday afternoons as the girl, me obviously, escaped to a land where a geeky, asthmatic kid called Mikey (who I definitely identified with) saves his family home on the Goon docks by using his brain power and determination.
Holiday Hi Jinks
This childhood love for the movie eventually provided the spark for my dark, psychological thriller The Beach House, in a very roundabout way. My husband also turned out to be a Goonies fan, and he was delighted when, decades later, I suggested we actually go to Astoria on holiday and make like Mikey and the gang. In 2019, just in time to beat the unforeseen holiday spoilsport that was the global Covid pandemic, we rocked up at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River on the Pacific Northwest Coast of the USA. Soon we were binging on seafood and artisanal local beers, exploring the county jail where the villainous Fratelli brothers made their escape, getting our mugshots done and taking selfies in front of the famous sea stacks at Cannon Beach.
But, because I’m a crime writer, and see murder and secrets around every scenic corner, nostalgic wish fulfilment soon morphed into something else. There was something hard-fought and hard-won about the communities clinging to that coast, a beautiful yet brutal forested landscape that dips down to the boiling surf of the Pacific. As my protagonist Grace, originally from Wales, observes, there’s something about that serrated tree and cliff-twisted landscape that has teeth, ready to be bared on the unsuspecting traveller.
Passing the white clapboard enclaves of the wealthy, alongside the rusted fishing towns industry has deserted, that reminded me a little of my valley’s childhood, a story took hold. It struck me that the Oregon coast was exactly the sort of place someone might end up, if they were trying to hide and had the money to do it. My protagonist, Grace, a woman who’s fled the Welsh coastal community of her own childhood, has reinvented herself there as an up-and-coming architect, building the beach house she calls her ‘clean slate’ and raising a young daughter. But then she comes home one day to discover an unexpected visitor has left her a strange set of gifts – a knife, a rope bound in a red ribbon and a pair of handcuffs – and there’s a body on her kitchen floor!
Everyone in Lookout Beach, the elegant fictional town inspired by the smart villages we stayed in, like Cannon Beach and Manzanita, assumes it’s a pervert, a ‘home invasion’ interrupted. But Grace suspects otherwise, because she left her life in South Wales for a very good reason. Maybe that reason has finally caught up with her and the holiday is over.
Scenery to Die For!
The Beach House isn’t my first novel inspired by a holiday. Some years ago, I took a dream road trip across the Grand Canyon and the deserts and mountains of the USA. That journey, one I’d fantasied about since childhood, reading stories like Call of the Wild by Jack London, and watching film depictions of the frontier, became the basis for another tortuous holiday, shared by an unhappy couple. Standing on top of Glacier Point in Yosemite national park, surrounded by soaring limestone domes and peaks, rather than just taking holiday snaps I was envisaging a woman standing on a precipice, wondering if there was an alternative to divorcing her cheating husband. That Will-she? Won’t-she? journey of hundreds of miles, and into the depths and darkness of Olivia’s heart, became the novel Wilderness (The Perfect Break) optioned for TV, by Firebird Pictures, in 2019. Finally, (after the long Covid hiatus) it is now in production as a six-part series with Amazon Prime, due to start filming in Canada this summer.
I suppose there’s just something about holidays that brings out the worst in me – on paper at least, where childhood wish-fulfilment takes on the very adult aspects of betrayal, resentment and sometimes, revenge. So, when it comes around to explaining What I Did on My Summer Holiday, my answer is always a strange one – I plotted to kill a whole load of people!
The Beach House by Beverley Jones was published in the UK by Constable on 21st April 2022 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |
Beverley Jones, also known as B E Jones, is a former journalist and police press officer, now a novelist and general book obsessive. Bev was born in a small village in the South Wales valleys, north of Cardiff. She started her journalism career with Trinity Mirror newspapers, writing stories for The Rhondda Leader and The Western Mail, before becoming a broadcast journalist with BBC Wales Today TV news, based in Cardiff. She has worked on all aspects of crime reporting (as well as community news and features) producing stories and content for newspapers and live TV.
Most recently Bev worked as a press officer for South Wales Police, dealing with the media and participating in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning.
Perhaps unsurprisingly she channels these experiences of ‘true crime,’ and her insight into the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers set in and around South Wales.
Her latest novels, Where She Went, Halfway and Wilderness, are published by Little Brown under the name BE Jones. Wilderness has recently been optioned for a six part TV adaptation by Firebird Pictures. Her seventh novel, The Beach House, is due for release in June 2021 under the name Beverley Jones. Chat with her on Goodreads.co.uk under B E Jones or Beverley Jones and on Twitter and Instagram @bevjoneswriting Bev is represented by The Ampersand Agency.