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Vanessa Savage Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Woman in the Dark / The Murder House (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Woods (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Vanessa Savage
Vanessa Savage lives near the sea in South Wales with her two daughters and her husband and is an illustrator and graphic designer.

“The Murder House” (also called “The Woman in the Dark”), her first novel, was bought during an auction by Grand Central Publishing in the United States and by Sphere in the United Kingdom. It was released in the year 2019.

Vanessa has been awarded a Writers’ Bursary by Literature Wales twice, most recently for “The Murder House”. She won the Myriad Editions First Crimes competition. Her work has also been highly commended in the Yeovil International Fiction Prize, short listed for the Caledonia Fiction Prize and the Harry Bowling Prize.

Vanessa used to sneak horror novels by the likes of James Herbert, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King from her dad’s bookshelf before she was even old enough to read them.

While in school, she dithered when it came to college options between English and art. She picked art college, spending four years in Doc Marten boots, with hennaed hair, a pierced nose, studying illustration, textile design, and graphic design. After she made a side step into arts marketing, she began her own graphic design company with two other designers. One client of theirs is the Telegraph Hay Literature Festival and working them means that she is able to combine her loves of literature and design.

She set out to write women’s fiction however she quickly realized that she wanted her characters to kill one another rather than kiss each other. Turning to (fictional) crime, now she writes psychological thrillers.

She is a member of the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme and has had short stories published in Writing Magazine, a short story anthology produced by Words With Jam, Writer’s Forum and broadcast as a highly commended winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition.

Vanessa often gets inspired by art, she will see an image and a story will form in her mind. Scenery and image are also very important to her when she is writing a novel and she uses a ton of visual reference material while she is planning.

Each of the scenes that she writes runs like a movie in her mind. Sometimes she will get frustrated when she is unable to capture in words the mood of a scene in her mind. She always begins with place and character when she is beginning a new writing project.

“The Woman in the Dark” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2019. A woman who moves to the gothic seaside with her family where her husband grew up. And where fifteen years prior another family was brutally butchered.

Patrick and Sarah are happy. However after her mom dies, Sarah spirals down into depression and she also overdoses on sleeping pills. Even though Sarah claims that it was only an accident, her teen kids are not so certain. Patrick believes that they all need a new start and knows just the place, since the peaceful family home that he grew up in has just come up for sale. There is a catch, however. For the previous fifteen years, it has become infamous as the “Murder House”, standing empty after a family got stabbed to death inside its walls.

Patrick thinks they will be able to bring the house back to its previous glory. So Sarah, who is uprooted from all that she knows, pours all of her energy into gardening, painting, and giving the rotting ancient structure the warmth of home. However, with the locals hinting that the house is really haunted, the news that the killer just got paroled, odd writing on the walls, and some spooky “gifts” showing up on the step at strange hours, Sarah is unable to shake the feeling that something is not quite right.

Not with with the town, not this house, or even with her loving husband, whose tales about his perfect childhood are not adding up all of a sudden. Could Sarah be able to uncover the secrets of the Murder House before another family becomes destroyed?

With irresistible, fog-drenched atmosphere that hides knife-sharp twists, Vanessa’s debut novel is a chilling psychological thriller about a dark family dysfunction and the secrets that haunt people. The haunted house aspect of the novel is palpable throughout, as you can feel the darkness and spookiness in every page. It is rather haunting and dark that is sure to make your skin crawl. Readers enjoyed the pacing of the story and found it to be rather entertaining, flying through it pretty quickly.

Vanessa delivers a deeply disturbing and intense read about secrets, buried tensions, and lies. She writes with confidence that you immediately overcome doubts any rational adult would want to live in a house where people were savagely murdered.

“The Woods” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. Two girls went into the woods, however just one returned.

There is a bunch from Tess’s childhood that she would much rather forget. The family that moved in next door brought chaos into their peaceful lives. The two girls that got murdered, their killer was not ever found. However the only thing that she cannot remember is the one thing that she wishes she was able to.

Tess’ older sister, named Bella (age eighteen), died ten years ago. Tess herself was the only witness to what was ruled a tragic accident, however she has never been able to recall what happened that night in the woods.

Tess, who now lives in London, has resolved to put this trauma behind her. However an emergency call from her dad forces her back to the family home. Back to the place where her sister’s body was found, and to all of the memories that she believed were lost forever.

This novel is entirely compelling, wholly addictive, and beautifully plotted all the way through. The group dynamic of a fractured and reformed family is intensely involving here. The novel is an outstanding psychological thriller, with strong atmosphere and is disturbing in both event and character and the ending is well done, too.

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