Fresh Blood

Name: Renee Knight

Title of Book: Disclaimer

'...possibly the best debut novel of the year. '

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Everything you have just read is a lie.

When an intriguing novel appears on Catherine's bedside table, she curls up in bed and begins to read. But as she turns the pages she is sickened to realise the story will reveal her darkest secret.

A secret she thought no one else knew...

There was a great deal of hype surrounding this book ahead of publication. Social media sites have been talking about ‘Disclaimer’ as the new ‘Gone Girl’. I haven't read Gillian Flynn’s famous novel so I cannot make that comparison which I was pleased about. It meant I could read this book with an open mind.

Renee Knight's debut novel is incredibly original. It is possibly the best debut novel of the year. This is definitely a one sitting read. You will be sucked into the drama with the opening chapter and the characters will live on in your memory long after you finish.

The connection between two disparate families is slowly revealed as the tension mounts in the early part of the book. Knight teases the reader with small snippets of a deadly secret yet to come, bubbling under the surface. The reveal is perfectly placed and the aftermath is shocking yet wonderfully handled. The final twist in the tale is like a slap on the face and will make you rethink everything you have just read.

‘Disclaimer’ is a drama of pure psychology and it is hard to believe this is a debut novel. All I can say is this book not to be missed. Now, I'm off to buy ‘Gone Girl’!

Reviewed by: M.W.

CrimeSquad Rating

Fresh Blood Questionnaire

1) This is a very original take on a domestic story. Was the writing process difficult to come up with such a different approach?
I wasn't aware as I was writing that I was doing anything particularly different in terms of a domestic story. I had an idea (what would it feel like if you came across yourself in a novel?) and built a story around it, so no, in that sense, the fact that it seems an original take did not making the writing process any more difficult.
2) A crime novel without a murder or a detective. Was it your intention to write a novel that shunned the staple requirements of the typical crime fiction story?
No, it wasn't. I didn't set out to write a crime novel - I wanted to tell a particular story and I told it in the way which, for me, was the most interesting. Having said that, I am so thrilled that ‘Disclaimer’ is being included in the crime genre. It is a privilege to be included in that community.
3) ‘Disclaimer’ is a very character driven novel. What do you create first; story or character?
Story. I usually begin with a 'what if?' this happened and then build up from there. I work hard on character though - if the characters aren't believable then they let the story down. Having said that, I have started working on a new novel and this time it is the characters I have come up with first. I have them quite clearly in my head - now I need to find the story within which to put them.
4) There is a great deal of hype about ‘Disclaimer’ on social media. How much pressure does that put on you when writing your second book?
We shall see, but I am confident that I will be able to retreat back into that quiet space where I can just write. I enjoy it. I'm looking forward to getting back to it.
5) There are comparisons to ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. How do you feel about that and are you flattered?
Yes, definitely flattered. ‘Gone Girl’ really tapped into something so if ‘Disclaimer’ is compared to it, then I am thrilled. It is inevitable I suppose, particularly with both books having alternating narrative chapters, but the truth is I didn't read ‘Gone Girl’ until I was well on the way to finishing ‘Disclaimer’.
6) According to publicity the film rights have already been snapped up. Will you be writing the script?
Yes, I am writing the script. Having written film scripts before it seemed perverse not to have a go at adapting my own book, who is to say though whether it will be my script in the end which is used. As long as it's the best one, that's the important thing.
7) I'm sure you're aware of the rave reviews you're already getting for ‘Disclaimer’. How much do you think about this while writing your second book?
I will be very conscious of not wanting to disappoint anyone with the second book but I am confident that, once I'm stuck into writing it, it will have its own momentum. It will be a different book with its own identity and its own story and I will tell it as best I can. At the moment I'm writing the film script and I do think about the reviews for the book while writing that - it would be great if the film were to be as generously received as the book.
8) Do you prefer standalone thrillers or do you think you will graduate to a series?
No I can't see a series at the moment although I can see that perhaps I might revisit certain characters in the future.
9) As a newly published author what advice would you give to anyone looking for their first deal?
I would say take your time editing your novel. Get down that first draft. Stop. Wait. Look at it again. Edit. Wait. Edit again. Then only once you are sure it is as good as it can be should you send it out. Don't be too eager to show your work before it is ready.
10) What are the top three crime novels that have made a lasting impression on you and you would wish to have on a deserted island?
A Dark Adapted Eye - Barbara Vine

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Before I Go To Sleep - S. J. Watson