Rachel Rhys

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Hello and thank you for visiting the author page of Rachel Rhys - though you might also know me as psychological thriller writer Tammy Cohen. People always ask why I write under two names. As with most things, there’s no simple answer. Initially I felt that having separate identities for the two very different genres – contemporary psychological suspense and historical mystery – would make it easier for readers to be sure exactly what they were getting. But what I hadn’t really expected was that adopting a new name would also free me up to write in a completely new (for me) way. What I hadn’t expected was how liberating it would be! My first Rachel Rhys, Dangerous Crossing, was inspired by a handprinted and photocopied journal I found while rummaging through my mum’s cupboards. It had been written by a friend of my mum’s and recounted a voyage she’d taken in 1938 on an ocean liner travelling from London to Sydney, courtesy of the government’s reduced passage scheme aimed at encouraging young working class women to go into service in Australia. The journal detailed every aspect of everyday life on board the ship – from the menus to the Fancy Dress balls to the social and political tensions among the passengers in this volatile pre-war period. I knew instantly it would make a fabulous backdrop for a novel. What if something terrible happened on board that ship, amid all that unrest, all that enforced leisure, all those passengers who could not escape each other? When I started writing it as me, in my usual contemporary style, it felt all wrong somehow. Psychological thrillers are immediate and fast paced with a relentless escalation of suspense. This book seemed to call for a gentler approach, with more time taken to evoke the setting and draw out the characters, building up a sense of the period, with the tension woven lightly through using the most silken of threads I decided I needed to start over again to develop a fresh style – and so Rachel was born. Whereas my psychological thrillers tend to be domestic based and therefore quite insular and claustrophobic, Rachel Rhys was free to explore the world, escaping from the monotony of everyday life to sip cocktails on hotel terraces in 1940s Antibes, or sun herself on white sand beaches in 1950s pre-revolution Cuba. Rather than travelling inwards to mine the darkness of their own psyches, her protagonists set out across the world on jet planes and ocean liners and the famous Train Bleu with its starched white tablecloths and wood panelled couchettes. And as they travel, they shed the constraints of their humdrum pasts as domestic servants and bored housewives and typists and start daring to imagine a future in which they make their own choices – where to live, what to do, who or even if to marry. Along the way there are mysteries to solve and flamboyant characters to encounter and mimosas to be drunk and silks to be worn. There are sunsets over mountains and palm trees whispering overhead. There are the Pyramids to climb and rickshaws to be ridden in through the streets of Ceylon. There are hearts to be broken and social mores to be challenged and horizons to be expanded. I love writing my Rachel Rhys books – that giddy feeling of being able to let my imagination travel anywhere. A world without limits. I hope you love reading them. Please get in touch and let me know where you think Rachel should journey next. You can find me here: • Twitter (@msTamarCohen) • Facebook ( • Instagram (@tammycohenwriter) You can also subscribe to my newsletter at I only send it out when I have something to say so you won’t be bombarded with emails, but there are giveaways and extra material and some behind the scenes information about my books.
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