Marnie Riches Guest Post: Meet the Family…

Hi everyone,

Thrilled to have the ever-lovely Marnie Riches on the blog with a great guest post for you all in time to celebrate the publication of The Girl Who Had No Fear. First though, here’s all the super important bookish info:

About the author:

Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester. She learned her way out of the ghetto, all the way to Cambridge University, where she gained a Masters degree in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser. Previously a children’s author, now, she writes crime and contemporary women’s fiction.

Marnie Riches is the author of the best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime-thriller series, published by Maze and Avon at Harper Collins. The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die – the first outing for crime fiction’s mouthy, kickass criminologist – won the Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location at the Dead Good Reader Awards 2015, whilst the series was shortlisted for the Tess Gerritsen Award for Best Series in the Dead Good Reader Awards 2016. With the latest installment being “The Girl Who Had No Fear”, the books have garnered both a loyal readership and critical acclaim.

Her brand new Manchester series – a must-read for fans of Martina Cole & Kimberley Chambers – is coming in paperback as well as digital format. Born Bad will be released 9th March 2017 and will be available in all good bookshops. It is already available to pre-order via all good e-tailers.

In her spare time, Marnie likes to run (more of a long distance shuffle, really) travel, drink and eat all the things (especially if combined with travel) paint portraits, sniff expensive leather shoes (what woman doesn’t?) and renovate old houses. She also adores flowers.


About the book:

Amsterdam: a city where sex sells and drugs come easy. Four dead bodies have been pulled from the canals – and that number’s rising fast. Is a serial killer on the loose? Or are young clubbers falling prey to a lethal batch of crystal meth?

Chief Inspector Van den Bergen calls on criminologist Georgina McKenzie to help him solve this mystery. George goes deep undercover among the violent gangs of Central America. Working for the vicious head of a Mexican cartel, she must risk her own life to find the truth. With murder everywhere she turns, can George get people to talk before she is silenced for good?

Click HERE to get your copy!


Meet The Family – Marnie Riches

Family has always been important to the George McKenzie series, and I think it’s because the book grew out of a short story called Glass that I had written back in about 2007 or 2008 – a couple of years before putting the finishing touches to The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die. Glass was my attempt to put into words my experience of having been petrol bombed as a teen around the time of Christmas Eve. Everything that happens to Ella and Letitia in one particular chapter, where a Molotov cocktail is thrown at the front door and where the back window is smashed in its entirety, happened to my mother and me. We suffered the violence as a family unit. We coped with the fear as a family unit, chewing the aftermath over in my Aunty’s kitchen over cups of strong tea. So, I guess this story always had its roots in family, because I, the author, have been shaped in part by my early family life – though I hasten to add that my mother, who sadly passed away earlier this year, was not Letitia.
Importantly, George’s upbringing has everything to do with the person she becomes as an adult. She’s tough, because her home-life was tough. She has a shady past and has upset a lot of dangerous people because of the petty criminal circumstances and the impoverished area in which she grew up. But she’s loving, and if you take George in the context of her extended family, which includes the selfless and maternal Aunty Sharon and cousins, Tinesha and Patrice – a functional, nurturing environment that becomes a second home for George – you can see why George loves fiercely and is utterly loyal to those very few she counts as nearest and dearest. Also, her family’s ethnicity as Black British people of Jamaican descent must undoubtedly leave its mark on George, though we see more in The Girl Who Had No Fear of how her long-lost father’s Spanish heritage manifests itself in George’s character.
There’s no doubt that George’s family do become an Achilles heel of sorts, given she chooses to become a criminologist. I think it’s entirely realistic that, if George had rubbed shoulders with powerful criminals in the past and had grassed to the police, however understandable her reasons may have been, her family would be continually at risk of also falling in the firing line whenever George crops up on some crime lord’s radar. I personally know of barristers who have to be extremely careful about exposing their family or revealing their family’s identity and whereabouts to people they have prosecuted in the past. So, this phenomenon would not be strange to George, though perhaps when she first ventured down the criminologist’s career path, given her identity-change, the risks would not have occurred to her. George’s problem is that she gets personally involved in cases – as we see in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows. When she gets involved, her family, with whom she lives part of the time, gets dragged in. We particularly see this in The Girl Who Had No Fear. George is just a character who will always attract trouble! And of course, the antagonistic relationships between George and Letitia and between Letitia and her sister, Sharon will always generate strife too!
Van den Bergen’s little unit at the police station, which consists of IT Marie and Elvis, is not really a substitute family. After years of working together, they still know hardly anything about one another’s private lives, which makes revealing more of Marie’s and Elvis’ subsidiary characters in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows and The Girl Who Had No Fear a joy. They have so many secrets! You could say that Van den Bergen views both his junior detectives as surrogate children, but he’s a well-meaning yet detached parent, too wrapped up in his cases and his own turbulent private life to take any interest in theirs. Where he has been encouraged to overstep his professional boundaries by George (who has no compunction in putting her happiness before what she’d consider to be arbitrary workplace codes of conduct that don’t take human emotions into account), he maintains those boundaries meticulously with Marie and Elvis. The three of them are therefore necessarily the polar opposite of George’s family members, who all live in each other’s pockets. But professional loyalty still binds Van den Bergen, Marie and Elvis together. And I like to think that George and Marie have a sisterly alliance, of sorts.
If you loved the fraught relationship between Letitia and Sharon, wait until you see what family strife is brewing in The Girl Who Had No Fear!

Huge thanks to Marnie for joining me today and for this brilliant piece!

Previous Marnie Riches posts:

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by Marnie Riches

Marnie Riches The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows Blog Tour


Blog Tour Books

Marnie Riches The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows Blog Tour

Hi everyone!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Marnie Riches’ new book The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows and I’m super excited to have a guest post from the lovely Marnie to share with you all today! 🙂

First off though, here’s all you need to know about Marnie and her previous books in the series…

About the author:

Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in Manchester, aptly within sight of the dreaming spires of Strangeways prison. She swapped those for the spires of Cambridge University, gaining a Masters degree in Modern & Medieval Dutch and German. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist, a property developer and professional fundraiser. In her spare time, she likes to run, renovate houses and paint. Oh, and drinking. She likes a drink. And eating. She likes that too. Especially in exotic destinations.

Having authored the first six books of HarperCollins Children’sTime-Hunters series, her George McKenzie crime thrillers for adults were inspired, in part, by her own youth and time spent in The Netherlands as a student. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction.

The George McKenzie series so far:

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die:


When a bomb explodes at the University of Amsterdam, aspiring criminologist Georgina McKenzie is asked by the police to help flush out the killer.

But the bomb is part of a much bigger, more sinister plot that will have the entire city quaking in fear.

And the killer has a very special part for George to play…

A thrilling race against time with a heroine you’ll be rooting for, this book will keep you up all night!

The Girl Who Broke The Rules


When the mutilated bodies of two sex-workers are found in Amsterdam, Chief Inspector van den Bergen must find a brutal murderer before the red-light-district erupts into panic.

Georgina McKenzie is conducting research into pornography among the UK’s most violent sex-offenders but once van den Bergen calls on her criminology expertise, she is only too happy to come running.

The rising death toll forces George and van den Bergen to navigate the labyrinthine worlds of Soho strip-club sleaze and trans-national human trafficking. And with the case growing ever more complicated, George must walk the halls of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, seeking advice from the brilliant serial murderer, Dr. Silas Holm…


Of course, the next book in the series is:

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows


The third edge-of-your-seat thriller in the Georgina MacKenzie series. Fans of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo won’t be able to put it down!

Europe is in the grip of an extreme Arctic blast and at the mercy of a killer, who leaves no trace. His weapons of choice are razor-sharp icicles. This is Jack Frost.

Now a fully qualified criminologist, Georgina McKenzie is called upon by the Dutch police to profile this cunning and brutal murderer. Are they looking for a hit man or a frenzied serial-killer? Could there be a link to a cold missing persons’ case that George had worked with Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen – two abducted toddlers he could never quite give up on?

The hunt for Jack Frost sparks a dangerous, heart-rending journey through the toughest neighbourhoods in Europe, where refugees and Roma gypsies scratch a living on the edge of society. Walking into the dark, violent world of a trans-national trafficking ring, can George outrun death to shed light on two terrible mysteries?

You can purchase The George McKenzie series by clicking the relevant links below:

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die

The Girl Who Broke The Rules

The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows




Without further ado here’s Marnie’s fab guest post for Bibliophile Book Club…



What’s next for George McKenzie?


It’s very difficult to talk about my future plans for George without giving away a little of what happens in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows. So I must be careful not to litter this post with spoilers about my own book! But what I would say is that George is a character who is so complex and does such interesting work as a criminologist that she is never going to be short of professional adventures, personal trials and tribulations in her private life.


I’ve read the odd review on Amazon – not just for my series but for the novels of fellow crime writers, too – bemoaning the fact that main protagonists in the genre are often flawed in some way, i.e. alcoholics or terrible womanisers or socially odd loners. And yes. Dr. Georgina McKenzie is terribly flawed. She has a short temper and is slow to trust others. She’s argumentative and contrary. She suffers from borderline OCD at times in her life when she’s under extreme stress. Chief Inspector Paul van den Bergen, who is as much of a star of the series as George, is addicted to prescription painkillers, suffers from anxiety disorder and despite being head over heels in love with George, is a shocking commitment-phobe. But I would argue that it is these flaws that inspire readers’ sympathy and drive the stories forward. Without adversity in a character’s life, there is simply little scope for dramatic tension. That makes for a very quiet read – not something I’m interested in writing in the least. So, it is the contrariness of George’s character and the complexity of her backstory that suggests what might happen next…Relationship angst – tick. Mother-daughter squabbles – tick. Danger at every turn – big tick.


When I was planning The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows, I knew I wanted to write a story that continued to explore themes of international trafficking, the psychology behind brutal criminality and the darker side to sexuality that appear in books one and two. George is a little older in this third novel – she is 26 and now qualified as a criminologist, working on studies in women’s prisons as well as researching people-trafficking – and she needs to be. The novel tackles the tricky subjects of child pornography, paedophilia and child abuse, though I hope I’ve addressed them with a sensitivity and seriousness that informs but never glamorises such dark, emotive topics. Though she has been fearless to the point of recklessness from the outset (usually fuelled by her short temper and fierce loyalty), twenty-year-old George in The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die could never have faced the emotional trials that twenty-six-year-old George does in The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows. So, in the short term, the future for George holds danger and darkness, lightened by a domestic backdrop we can all recognise of relationship anxieties, family squabbling, office politics and financial woe.


But what will happen beyond this third book? Do George and her pals have a future? Well, given that crime is the ultimate world-traveller, I think we can safely assume that if a fourth book were to appear, George and Van den Bergen’s fight against organised crime and trafficking might lead them beyond the tough streets of S.E. London, Cambridge’s ivory towers and Amsterdam’s canal network once again. Perhaps George will wash up on distant shores in pursuit of the bad guys. Given her propensity to become entangled in the dodgy dealings of the underworld she is trying to study and given George’s knack for courting high drama in her personal life, I think it’s safe to say there might well be more international thrills in store for our coolest, mouthiest, brightest, most kick-ass heroine!


Huge thanks to Marnie Riches for joining me on the blog today! You can follow the tour and catch up with previous stops on these brilliant blogs!

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