I’m chatting with Cristelle Comby today about the newest in her Neve & Egan mystery series, Blind Chess.
As she does her virtual book tour, Cristelle will be awarding signed copies of all 4 books in the series to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.
Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
Blind Chess is her fourth new-adult novel in the Neve & Egan series.
Welcome, Cristelle. Please tell us a little bit about Blind Chess.
It is supposed to be Neve and Egan. Two partners, a team. What happens when a member of this team of Private Investigators is shot, prognosis unknown?
As Alexandra Neve lays comatose and defenceless, Ashford Egan must take on their enemy alone, and find the cagiest criminal Scotland Yard has seen in decades. Determined to succeed, Egan will stop at nothing. He’ll hit on married women, plant bugs, hire hitmen. And he’ll do it all blind, which makes things ten times as difficult.
Double-crossed by friends, convinced there is corruption in those sworn to uphold the law, Egan is forced to form unlikely alliances as he moves forward in a game that requires skills, nerves of steel, and a willingness to play against all odds.
Blind Chess is the direct continuation of the previous book, Danse Macabre, and the conclusion of a grand story-arc that begun in book one.
After being shot at the end of Danse Macabre, Neve lays in the hospital, comatose — prognosis unknown. It’s up to Egan to pick up the torch and go after the man who ordered the hit on his partner, alone. That’s a big step up for a man who, just a year ago was nothing more than a blind middle-aged History professor with a the most mundane and boring of lives.
Egan really shines in this book. He was a hollowed man before Neve came along. He had his uncomplicated life, with a carefully planned routine. Neve broke the walls he had built around himself and shook his life up-side-down. She gave him a chance to become someone better, something more. Everything led to this moment — Egan’s final trial. Blind Chess is the story I’ve been dying to tell since the beginning of the series.
Excerpt from Blind Chess:
There is something Dimitri isn’t telling me. It is there in his voice. Hidden behind the words, behind the constructs he is trying to project. He isn’t being honest, I am convinced of it. He has the means to get in touch with The Sorter, if he so wants, but that service won’t come for free.
‘You’re a merchant,’ I say.
‘Da,’ he replies. ‘I am.’
‘And you accept all kinds of currencies?’
‘Well,’ I sigh, ‘what will it cost me?’
Dimitri chuckles again. There is a dark sincerity to the sound. ‘I like you, Ashford,’ he says. ‘I have always liked you. You’re blind, but you see more than most. You understand how life works and you accept it. You’re not of my world, but you fit right in.’
I grit my teeth in reply, waiting for the penny to drop.
I hear Dimitri snap his fingers and then footsteps coming closer—a man, judging by the sounds, tall and a little on the heavy side, according to his stride and the echo his boots make on the tiled floor.
‘Sir?’ the newcomer says. He sounds younger than Dimitri, closer to Lexa’s age, I would guess, and eager to please.
Dimitri addresses him in his mother tongue.
‘Yes, sir,’ the newcomer replies before turning on his heel and walking away at a brisk pace.
‘There is a certain something you could help me with,’ Dimitri tells me.
‘Anything,’ I say.
‘A man I have been doing business with has... how would you say... played me.’ He spits the words out as if they are distasteful. ‘He’s been missing since Monday.’
‘What did he do?’ I ask.
‘He ran away with my money.’
‘And I can’t find him. He’s hiding, but his wife is still in town.’
‘And you think she knows where to find him?’ I ask, guessing what I am being “hired” for.
‘Maybe, maybe not. Alas, she has connections and I have to be careful.’
‘Connections?’ I ask.
‘Her sister is police.’ Again he says the word as if it leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. ‘My men are keeping an eye on her, making sure the husband doesn’t come for a visit, but that’s all we can do. We can’t be seen. I don’t want the cops to get near me. They are like bloodhounds once they have your scent.’
‘But,’ I say, ‘if someone who isn’t part of your organisation were to do the job and get caught by the dogs... it wouldn’t inconvenience you too much, would it?’
I can hear the smile in Dimitri’s reply. ‘No, it would not.’
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve just begun working on a new series. It’s going to be quite a change from the Neve & Egan cases… a new city, new characters, a new genre.
I’ve been living with the same characters for the past four years and I needed a break. Plus I’ve been dying to try my hand at some Urban Fantasy for awhile so that’s what I’m working on now.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I started working on an actual book. I’d done things before, essays for school, the odd poem here and there, some fanfiction… but I would never have dared label myself ‘a writer’ before I finished an actual book. Being a writer isn’t just about writing a story. It’s also editing it, proofreading, typesetting, publishing, advertising, and so much more.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I have a day-job that pays the bills. But, I’m very fortunate to have found a company that has a real family feel to it – and I love it. We’re a small team, but we’re very close and good friends. And the job’s fun and interesting, albeit insane at times. Sadly, it doesn’t leave me much free-time to write, but that’s what holidays are for… right?
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I cannot, for the life of me, write out of order. I know a lot of writers who have zero problem with jumping about the story like mad-rabbits, but I can’t. I need to start the draft with the first word and work my way forward, one chapter at the time. When I edit, I also work in a very linear way.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actress. I would have loved to do that. Play make believe; become someone else for a short while. I guess writing isn’t that different, it’s all about creating new universes and escaping reality.