Monday, 4 December 2017

Smothered by M C Hall + Giveaway

Smothered by M C Hall
Self published in America by 50/50 Press on the 24th November 2017.

Where to buy this book:


Amazon UK

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Fifteen years ago, Kitty Holbrooke was set to be the greatest child star since Shirley Temple. Days after completing her debut film, the young girl was kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night. The next day, a rambling ransom note appeared in the family’s mailbox, but as the family scrambled to gather the money, police discovered Kitty’s body. Due to the media circus surrounding the case, changing testimony from key witnesses, and police missteps, lead detective Andrea Bennett was never able to bring Kitty’s killer to justice, and the case that rocked a nation went cold.

Today, an online tabloid has uncovered Kitty Holbrooke’s shocking case files including never-before-seen police interviews, confidential emails, secret text messages, and sealed grand jury transcripts. The Internet explodes as fans devour and comment on each piece of new evidence, desperately hoping that they, too, can help solve the mystery.

Loosely inspired by the Jon Benet Ramsey case, this unique, thrilling mystery is told through police transcripts and documents, and will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Murder in the Media by M C Hall

Most of us enjoy a good mystery. The process of being curious, of finding clues, putting a puzzle together, and coming to the right conclusion is satisfying. We become captivated by guessing a killer’s motives, intrigued by the investigative process, and emotionally invested in the outcome of a trial.

In the article “Why are We so Fascinated with Murder?” psychologist Paul Mattiuzzi explains, “In the real world, we are fascinated because of the powerful emotions aroused when we consider the fate and fortune of the victim, and the pain that remains for their survivors.” Yet, in this same article, Mattiuzzi claims, “When it’s on the news, we may recoil in shock and horror, but often and in other media, homicide is a source of entertainment.”

I agree with Mattiuzzi that we’re fascinated when we consider the emotions of a case, but is he right that when a murder appears on the news, we recoil in horror? When I was writing the novel Smothered, I read several opinions like Mattiuzis and I just couldn’t agree with them.

Even in the 1800s, murder cases were sensationalized for a ravenously expectant public. For example, every detail of the Lizzie Borden murders was publicized. Newspaper headlines speculated as to her motives and drew conclusions about what happened during the twelve minutes she failed to have an alibi. Papers published not only her photos, but also artist renditions of Lizzie’s reactions during her nine-day trial. Even now, when the victims’ names, Andrew and Abigail, and the not-guilty verdict rendered by the court have faded from the public memory, the rhyme “Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her father forty whacks” remains.

As with the Borden trial, the public has failed to shy away or “recoil in horror” from more recent crimes. When OJ Simpson was on trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, the trial coverage became “Must See TV” and television sets were set up around schools and offices so people could watch the verdict live.
I wanted these realities to be reflected in my novel. I also wanted to reflect the changes in how the public participates in crimes online. We no longer just gossip about murders around office water coolers or in the privacy of our own homes. We comment online and post our opinions and judgements for the whole world to see, agree with, argue against, and elaborate on with their own comments.
So, I decided to write Smothered as if the mystery of who killed child star Kitty Holbrooke was given to the public the way we’re given most of our true-crime mysteries nowadays—from a sensationalistic online tabloid that tries to simultaneously report on the crime and exploit the details. At the end of each chapter, the tabloid’s message board is filled with comments, remarks, and observations from insatiable readers, dying to hear every last detail of the case.

The book isn’t meant to condemn the way we read or participate in murder mysteries today, but I hope it serves as a comment to make readers think a bit about how murder is covered by the media and how we participate in that coverage.

Meet the author:
Megan Cassidy Hall writes books for adults under the name MC Hall, and writes books for children and young adults under the name Megan E. Cassidy. In addition to writing, Megan works as an English professor teaching a variety of courses including Creative Writing and Children and Young Adult Literature. Megan’s novels include Always, Jessie, The Misadventures of Marvin Miller, and Smothered. Her poetry and short stories have been featured in numerous publications including Bete Noire, Pilcrow & Dagger, and Centum Press's 100 Voices. All of her short work can be found on her website.

In 2016, Megan co-founded 50/50 Press with her husband Stephen Hall. You can visit their website at or follow them on Twitter @FiftyFiftyPress

Author links:
Twitter ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

And now for the giveaway!
Open internationally until the 14th of December, the prize is a $20 Amazon gift card.

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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by M C Hall / Crime fiction / Books from America

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