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Sam Blake Books In Order

Publication Order of Cat Connolly Books

Little Bones (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In Deep Water (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Turning Back (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Keep Your Eyes on Me (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Sam Blake is the pseudonym of Irish mystery author Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin. She is also known as one of Ireland’s top literary coaches, agents, and scout. Blake is from St. Albans in the UK though she has lived in Scotland ever since she got married to Shane O’Loughlin, a member of the Irish Police. She started out working in event management and became the founder of Inkwell Writers Workshops that focused on bringing together bestselling authors to teach aspiring writers. During 2008 when Ireland was undergoing an economic crisis, she changed her company into a publishing consultancy working with aspiring authors named The Inkwell Group. In 2015, she was signed by Bonnier Twenty7 to pen a three-book series set in Dublin featuring Cat Connolly, a Garda detective. Blake published “Little Bones” her first novel in 2016 that went on to become a bestselling title in Ireland. In 2020, she published “Keep Your Eyes on Me” a standalone thriller with Corvus Books. The novel also became an Irish Times bestselling title. Sam is the host of the “Behind the Bestseller” podcast where she interviews bestselling authors writing from a range of genres. Apart from her podcast and her publishing agency she also runs the “Murder One International Crime Writing Festival.” As an author, she has served on the Society of Authors as a director, been on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors and is a member of the CWA. While she comes from the UK, she has lived in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland for years.

Sam Blake’s full name is Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, which she agrees is quite long. Nonetheless, since she had been living in Ireland for years and was a literary agent and publisher, she had no problems with her Irish name. However, it is not so palatable when she decided to become an international author as a lot of people would have trouble pronouncing or remembering such a name. When O’Loughlin sat down with her agent to find a name for her debut novel, they decided that she would be better off using a pseudonym. Moreover, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin would probably not fit on a novel’s cover or look good. They came up with Sam Blake which they believed would look good on the bookshelf and be easy to remember. The good thing about the name Sam Blake is that it is an androgynous name that could just as well be Samuel or Samantha and hence it is not immediately apparent if the author is male or female. While there is no research showing that a female author would not sell well in crime fiction, as a publisher, Vanessa knew of the theory that men prefer novels written by men. As such, many women hide behind initials or pen names just like she did.

Sam Blake’s first novel “Little Bones” is the first of her series about Cathy Connolly, an Irish Detective. She is a twenty-four-year-old proficient in kickboxing and has quite a reputation in the police. Despite only having served for a few years, she has had a lot of experience that would overshadow that of many that have been in the force for a lifetime. Because she is one of the best, she has developed a very good relationship with O’Rourke her boss. Nonetheless, she has something huge that has happened in her life that she cannot talk about with him. It is something that could change the trajectory of her career and even her life. She is currently working on the investigation into the case of a stranger that had been sighted in the garden of artist Zoe Grant on one particularly dark night. While the artist was out of the house during the day, someone broke in and now she is afraid of what they are after. Needless to say, the events are terrifying for the artist. But when O’Rourke and Cathy are otherwise known as Garda start investigation, they discover a shredded wedding dress and stitched in the hem are a collection of small bones. They soon establish that the bones are human and now the team has to find who the bones belong to. Things are complicated by Cathy’s pregnancy even as they hit several obstacles in their investigations. O’Rourke is also somewhat distracted when he is informed that a wanted fugitive from the FBI is now believed to be in Dublin.

In “Deep Water,” the second novel of the Cathy Connolly series by Sam Blake introduces a journalist named Sarah Jane Hansen. She is a training partner to Sam and her best friend. When Sarah does not turn up at the agreed meeting place, Cat thinks something must have gone very wrong since it not in her friend’s nature to not keep her word. Cathy heads to her friend’s home and finds that someone had broken in and left it a mess. Distraught, she makes the rookie mistake of interfering with the scene. But since she is in the good books of detective inspector Dawson O’Rourke he lets it go after she confides in him about her friend. The police take charge of the investigation and soon Ted Hansen who is an award-winning journalist and father to Sarah Jane comes forward with some important information. He asserts that Sarah Jane was pursuing a controversial story and he had told her not to pursue it but she would not listen. Knowing her friend, Cat knows that she is the type that would be more determined when everyone thought she should back off. When the police find a dead body, everybody thinks that it might be the missing Sarah Jane only for the evidence to show otherwise. But soon O’Rourke and Cat find themselves drawn into a dangerous and dark web of criminal activity that involves human traficking in Dublin.

Blake’s “No Turning Back” is the story of Cat who is now back in school studying for her masters. She intends to become a Profiler for the police which is something she has always dreamt about. Cat has blocked out everything and is determined to get that job only to be called by O’Rourke who tells her that the job is no longer available. She is angry, upset, and disgusted as she sees everything she had dreamed about come crashing all around her ears. But she is not one to wallow in her misery for long as she is soon required to go conduct an important investigation. A body is found on the side of the road suspected to have been the victim of a hit and run accident. Investigations reveal that the man is the only son of Conor and Orla Quinn named Tom Quinn. On the scene, she begins gathering evidence which shows that it may not have been an accident after all. Things get even more interesting when Lauren O’Reilly a student is found dead in eerily similar circumstances. The detectives soon learn that Tom and Lauren were both Trinity College students and had been the best of friends. It is starting to look like more than a coincidence.

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