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Jo Jakeman Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Sticks and Stones (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Safe House (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jo Jakeman is a mystery author from Derbyshire best known for her debut novel “Sticks and Stones.” Jakeman was the winner of the York Festival of Writing’s Friday Night Live Award, where she had made the shortlist for Best Opening Chapter. Jo was born in Cyprus but had been living in London for decades before she moved to Derbyshire with her husband and two children. She attended a Curtis Brown Creative “Creative Writing Course” and then combined her work and family life experiences to craft her fiction. Most of her fiction is about challenging her audience to look beyond domestic facades that may be all too deceiving. “Sticks and Stones” her debut was first published in the UK by Harvill Secker in 2018 and has since been published in several other territories.

Jakeman was always reading and writing stories and by the time she was seven she had penned her first story. However, work got in the way when she grew older and got into a career as an executive headhunter for a big company. She was so good at her job but she overworked herself and was soon diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. While she was recuperating, writing seemed like the perfect escape and hence she would stay in bed with her legal pad and write every day. However, she never thought of becoming an author as she thought she would just go back to her routine once she was rested enough. Jo has said that if she ever thought that anyone apart from her mother or husband would read her work, her imagination would have been more restrained. Still, she spent the following ten years writing and even as her health got better, she continued writing as she started believing it was something she could do professionally. She attended the Creative Writing Course which is a course run by authors and agents and this gave her more confidence. She had only a vague idea of what she wanted to write about and never thought she would be successful. However, she was surprised to learn that her3000 word chapter had made the shortlist, meaning that she now had to write a novel of at least 90,000 words.

Jo Jakeman’s big break was when she was the winner of the Friday Night Live competition at the York Festival of Writing. The festival required that entrants that made the shortlist read the first 500 words of their manuscripts to the audience with the author who got the loudest applause being declared the winner. She had never read her work out loud and it was quite a terrifying ordeal though the applause was worth it. Immediately after the event, she was approached by four agents and within a month she had signed up with one of them. It was then that she got down to reviews and edits from both her American and UK publishers who wanted the nuances of the novel to appeal to the different audiences. For instance, the American editor suggested she inject more humor though she was just happy that she had her work published. “Sticks and Stones” her debut novel was published by Waterstones in 2018. Jo likened the event to her wedding day as she felt like holding a special party for all the people that had provided her with the support she needed to become a published author.

Jakeman’s “The Exes’ Revenge” is a captivating read that tells of a narcissistic man and his three exes. The first is Ruby who is his first ex. Then there is Imogen who is still in a relationship with him but soon to become ex number two. Then there is Naomi that is soon going to become the third wife to Philip Rochester. He is a very manipulative man that had managed to charm all three of them before leaving them angry and bitter. The novel opens to Philips’s funeral and then in a series of flashbacks harks back to the events that left the three exes in such a rage against him. Philip is the typical grand manipulator that looks like a gift from the gods from his charming and easy-going nature. However, he is a devil as he has a habit of charming women before showing his true colors and then dumping his victims once he is done with them. But then the three exes band together on a quest for revenge which only makes Philip more aggressive that they are frightened by what he might just do. However, they refuse to back down and being so resourceful they come up with clever plans that Philip may not have an answer to. But Philip is a police officer and he can use the department to help his cause though his power of charm may be waning. The book moves from the present to the past and back, chronicling the evolution of Philip into a more dangerous man who feels cornered by the ladies. The women too feel the heat and danger they may be in by trying to go against such a vicious enemy. He is often a step ahead of any traps they set but it remains to be seen if his deceit and cunning can win over the determination of his detractors.

“Safe House” by Jo Jakeman is the story of Steffi Finn that had made the mistake of providing a false alibi for Lee Fisher her controlling boyfriend. She never thought about it when she did it but that decision leads to a prison sentence for both of them while Steffi has to contend with threats against her life too. When she gets out of prison, she takes on the name of Charlie Miller and a completely new identity before moving to the Cornish coast, a hundred miles from Sheffield, the city she had once called home. At first, she keeps to herself but since she lives in a small village, that soon becomes difficult. The neighbors are too friendly and want to know the woman who bought the rundown cottage. When thy pay her a courtesy visit, they want to talk, tell her all about themselves and expect the same in return. Eventually, she starts to become part of the village folk but she always fears that somebody is watching her and that she may be recognized. The story is told in dual timelines and throughout the novel, Lee and Charlie’s backstory is revealed alongside some interesting characters and intense moments.

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