White Noise was an explosive debut by Mercedes Mercier, with the blistering pace leaving me with no option but to read the second half in one sitting. Prison psychologist Laura Fleming is given the case of prisoner Justin Jones, who seems like the model prisoner, set for release. Or is he?
With a gripping premise and spine-tingling tension throughout, the story is flush with questionable motives, allies and enemies. A stifling prison setting makes this a must-read for fans of Gillian Flynn, Sarah Bailey and Dervla McTiernan.
Author spotlight with Mercedes Mercier
Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?
I don’t actually, which is strange, because I can be quite a superstitious person. I recently moved house and bought a new writing desk, and it’s looking a bit bare. I used to have a framed picture on my desk of a quote I loved. It said “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit” and that was a good reminder for me on my journey to publication to keep going, no matter how many rejections or set-backs I experienced.
Favourite exercise to counteract all the hours sitting at the keyboard?
Reformer pilates! I adore it. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and it’s such a great low impact workout for your whole body. Although I’m constantly sore because each class targets different muscles. And let me tell you, reformer burpees are not much more fun than the original version!
What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?
I’m not much of a cook – thankfully my partner loves cooking and he’s very good at it. If I were cooking for myself, I’d probably do something simple and easy like a pesto pasta with parmesan and cherry tomatoes. If I’m being fancy, and our fresh basil is growing well, I’ll make the pesto myself in a blender. If I’m feeling lazy (which is most of the time on weeknights, let’s be honest), I’ll use a jar of good-quality pesto.
Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?
If money wasn’t a factor, and I couldn’t write, I think I’d volunteer with animals. It’s something I did when I was at Uni and had spare time, but unfortunately I can’t fit in my life at the moment. It was such rewarding work, and I really felt like I was making a difference in the lives of the animals I helped.
Chocolate, potato chips or cheese?
Always savoury. I’m one of those people who will order a cheese plate for dessert. I love all kinds of cheese – the stinky-er and gooey-er, the better. My favourite is a really strong blue cheese, and I can’t go past a melty brie or goat’s cheese. Potato chips will always be my snack of choice over lollies or chocolate. I love salt and vinegar chips, and sometimes eat so many I burn my mouth!
Have you done anything special with any of your advances?
I’d wanted a YSL handbag for years, but I could never justify the price. So a couple of years ago, I compromised and said that I’d buy one for myself if and when I got a publishing deal. The handbag I bought was the first (and only) treat I’ve bought myself with my advances. I love it, and feel really special when I use it. Apparently designer handbags go up in price every year, so really, it’s an investment (that’s what I tell my partner anyway).
Spot where you seem to get the best bursts of inspiration?
It always seems to be at the most awkward times, like when I’m walking our dog or in the shower. There’s been many times I’ve had to dash out of the shower, dripping wet, to write a line or plot point into the ‘notes’ section on my phone, because I can’t get to my laptop. The same has happened when I’ve been walking our dog and I’ve had to stop (much to her disgust) to type furiously into my phone.
Agent or no agent?
I don’t have an agent.
Do you have a writing ‘uniform’ (mine’s big earrings, cardigan and jeans)?
I do, and it’s not very glamorous! Trackies and a hoodie are my unofficial ‘uniform’. I like to be as comfy as possible, so I’m not distracted by anything. As I have a full-time job as well as being an author, I write at 5am during the week. So I’m usually at my desk in the dark, in trackies, with a blanket on my lap and our dog at my feet.
Aussie novel you’re most looking forward to in 2022?
Michael Robotham’s new book, Lying Beside You. I inhale anything he writes – he’s an automatic ‘add to cart’ author for me.
Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?
“From picking this up to finishing there weren’t many hours in between, I was hooked from the get go… I swore and gasped and enjoyed every twist and turn along the way” – Goodreads review
Share a quirky habit or something readers might be surprised to discover about you.
I’m a black belt in Karate. My mum encouraged me to start Karate when I was a teenager, and I worked my way up the ranks over the years. I haven’t practiced in a long time, but I keep my black belt in my wardrobe to remind myself what I’m capable of with hard work and determination.
Where can people find you online?
I’m most active on my Instagram, which is @mercedes.mercier.writes. I also have a Facebook page, which can be found by searching Mercedes Mercier, and my website is www.mercedesmercier.com. I also started a TikTok recently, but I have no idea what I’m doing yet!
'A true edge-of-your-seat thriller ... A total page-turner' KELLI HAWKINS
Someone knows your secrets. Someone knows your shame. And they won't stay buried for long.
A searing, dark and dangerous thriller from an exciting new voice
When prison psychologist Dr Laura Fleming is assigned charismatic inmate Justin Jones to assess for parole, alarm bells ring. Working with some of the state's most damaged criminals, she knows Jones is too dangerous to release, but he's got everyone fooled . . . She needs proof.
Laura knows all about damage. Her own painful mistakes have destroyed her marriage and she's been refused access to her daughter. Step by agonising step, she's rebuilding her life and her relationships, but it's a hard road. What does she have to do to prove she can be trusted?
Laura's not taking any chances with Jones, and as she races to find evidence before his parole hearing, she digs deep into his life - and is shocked by what she finds.
But as she edges closer to the truth, Laura falls victim to a series of increasingly personal attacks, and secrets from her past threaten to unhinge everything she holds dear - her job, her family . . . even her sanity.
Sometimes redemption is out of reach. But revenge will do just fine.
About the Author
Mercedes Mercier writes 'just-one-more-page' crime with twisting plots and relatable characters. As well as writing books, Mercedes works in the criminal justice system, providing her unique insight into the world of prisons, crime and offenders. After a brush with death, Mercedes decided to throw herself into life. She lived overseas, become a black belt in Karate, skydived, and volunteered with animals. She is currently writing her second novel, to be published in 2023. When she doesn't have her nose in her laptop and her mind in a story, she loves to read, travel, try new restaurants, and listen to podcasts (true crime of course). She dreams of living on a big property with a menagerie of animals, but currently lives in Adelaide with her partner and just the one dog. Visit mercedesmercier.com
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