It’s a pleasure to welcome Victoria Goldman to the blog on publication day of her debut fiction novel, The Redeemer. In addition to her journalistic and bookish professional background, Victoria is a former book blogger and through her publishing company Three Crowns Publishing, she has put her first crime fiction book out into the world. Congratulations and happy publication day Victoria, I hope the book flies for you. I was fortunate to read an early copy of the book and my thoughts are below – do add it to your TBR piles, it is such a brilliantly written mystery. In addition I have a super guest post from Victoria all about her musical inspiration for the book which I hope you enjoy.
First a little about the book
The Redeemer is a compelling, thought-provoking murder mystery, featuring themes of racism, Jewish heritage and identity, revenge and redemption, and secrets from the past.
‘REPENT BEFORE YOU DIE … OR MAY YOU NEVER R.I.P.’
Threatening plaques, vigilante killings, a Jewish community in an English town – what’s the link? The clock is ticking to the next murder.
After witnessing a racist incident in a small Hertfordshire town, journalist Shanna Regan uncovers a series of threatening fake commemorative plaques. Each plaque highlights someone’s misdemeanour rather than a good deed.
Delving deeper, Shanna discovers these plaques are linked to vigilante killings spanning several decades, with ties to the local Jewish community.
As her search for the truth becomes personal, Shanna puts her own life in danger. Can she stop the next murder in time?
The Redeemer – my musical inspiration
by Victoria Goldman
The Redeemer, my murder-mystery debut, is a character-led crime novel. Shanna Regan, my feisty female protagonist, has an interesting background. She’s spent a lot of her life travelling around the world – as a child, with her engineer father, and as an adult, working as a journalist. She tries not to care about the news stories she’s working on but often fails (though doesn’t want to admit that to herself).
When I was writing the book, I needed to think like Shanna. What would she do? What would she say? What would she read, watch, listen to…? I wanted to keep her in my head.
Since I do a lot of book planning when walking and I like to walk to music, I created a ‘Shanna song playlist’ on my phone. All of these songs were in the charts (or on the radio) while I was writing The Redeemer and provided great inspiration, due to either their lyrics or the song titles.
1. Promises by Calvin Harris
The first two lines resonated with me: “Are you drunk enough? Not to judge what I’m doin’.”
With The Redeemer as its title, it’s not surprising that my book is very much about judgement, and also about the risks of turning a blind eye to what’s going on around you.
2. Lost Without You by Freya Ridings
This song seems so relevant to Shanna’s family story (to understand why, you’ll need to read the book…).
These lines in particular:
“To love someone so much
To have no control
You said, ‘I want to see the world’
And I said, ‘Go’”
3. Love Wins by Carrie Underwood
This song focuses on what’s right and wrong about the world, and that we’re all the same underneath. It reminds me of everything that Shanna has seen and witnessed in her job – and that prejudice and hatred shouldn’t exist. Which is very relevant to a crime novel with underlying themes of racism and revenge.
4. Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood
This reminds me of Shanna’s relationship with her ex (and wanting revenge), though there’s far more going on than cheating…
5. Don’t Feel Like Crying by Sigrid
Shanna tries very hard to be strong, but she’s not as strong as she’d like everyone to believe. These lyrics, in particular, resonate with me: “Wallowing in it would be such a waste. That isn’t gonna fix it anyway.”
6. Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn
This song reminds me of the friendship between Shanna and her best friend, Nadia. The first two lines: “Call your girlfriend. It’s time you had the talk.” They’ll talk when the time is right…
7. If Tomorrow Never Comes by Kent Blazy and Garth Brooks
Journalist Shanna Regan goes on a personal discovery of her own whilst on an assignment in the village of Hillsbury, Hertfordshire. What begins as a seemingly straightforward investigation of local plaques in the area for her article in Hillsbury Living, turns into something far more sinister with mysterious deaths taking place over a number of years.
With themes of revenge, justice, cultural identity and antisemitism, the Reedemer is a superbly written story with a flawed and troubled protagonist at its heart. I didn’t find Shanna an easy person to warm to but she was tenacious and brave, sometimes rather foolhardy I thought, however I was rooting for her to find the answers she was seeking.
I very much enjoyed Victoria’s style of writing – it is visual and descriptive and the Jewish traditions and background history scattered throughout were interesting and gave a fascinating insight into another culture.
Quite often with crime thrillers, there are signposts leading to suspects when it comes to the ‘whodunnit’. As much as I love being proved right, here I failed miserably and I was completely wrong in my suspicions. Well and truly beaten by the author, who had kept me in the dark until the reveal.
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery debut with its twists and sinister undercurrent against the backdrop of what would be considered a traditional quiet village. I hope that we haven’t seen the last of Shanna Regan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victoria Goldman is a freelance journalist, editor and proofreader. She was given an honourable mention for The Redeemer in the Capital Crime/DHH Literary Agency New Voices Award 2019. Victoria lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two sons. The Redeemer is her first novel.
The Redeemer is being published on 12 July 2022 as an eBook & paperback and free on Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle edition: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B4NP3LXV