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Former journalist’s new novel recalls murder she covered for daily

A former journalist has written a new novel inspired by a murder she covered for a regional daily.

What July Knew, the latest novel by former Bristol Post staffer Emily Koch, is a “moving family mystery” set in the 1990s about a girl trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s death.

The story is inspired by the murder of Bijan Ebrahim, which Emily covered for the Post in 2013 when she was its website editor.

She left the Post the following year to become a full-time novelist and has since had three books published.

What July Knew

Said Emily: “Bijan was killed by a vigilante mob of neighbours who wrongly believed he was a paedophile. I’ve thought of him often and about what happens when communities get the wrong idea about one of their own.

“What happens when neighbours turn on each other? What is the fallout of vigilante justice?”

The book also features a recurring character who has appeared in her previous two novels as a local reporter.

Added Emily: “Eagle-eyed readers will spot the minor character Jacob Prince popping up in all of my books so far. He is a local reporter in both If I Die Before I Wake and Keep Him Close and in What July Knew he appears as a young boy who goes to school with July.

“I love hiding things like this in my books for my readers and it is particularly special that this character is a reporter, as a nod to my previous career in newspapers.”

What July Knew will be released in hardback and audio formats on 9 February. It is available to pre-order now on Amazon, Waterstones’ website and other book shops online.