My latest Stephanie Marland thriller – You Die Next – is out this week – here’s the video trailer…
You can buy the ebook, audio book and paperback now in bookstores, and from Amazon by clicking on the book cover below:
My new thriller, written under my Stephanie Marland pen name, is out today! Whoop! And as a publication day treat I thought you might like to read the prologue for free.
First here’s the blurb: “When a group of urban explorers stumble across a murderer’s kill room in a derelict film studio, terror strikes. And when one of the group is found dead, the team realise – they’re being hunted.
DI Dominic Bell is investigating the murder, but as the body count rises, time is running out. The only person who can help him is a figure from his past, Clementine Starke – but Clementine is haunted by her own demons. Can the two of them pair up to catch the killer? Or is it already too late?”
And now to the prologue…
YOU DIE NEXT: PROLOGUE
It’s streaming. Quality’s good, not HD, but clear enough. On screen, top left, are the words: JedUrbXTM is LIVE. Could be that he’s the guy in the balaclava.
He’s close to the camera, holding it out like he’s taking a selfie, his face over-sized from the weird angle. The tight woollen hood obscures his features, reducing him to two irregular-shaped eyeholes and a gash for a mouth. There’s light somewhere below his face, illuminating his lips. It makes him look ghoulish.
He’s talking. The balaclava shifts, the material skewing a few centimetres to give a hint of stubble around his mouth before the hood slides back into place. The sound has a miniscule delay, as though he’s lip-syncing out of time. His accent is northern, from Manchester perhaps. ‘I’m Jedx, and for me this is all about the rush… the massive adrenaline hit. The risk . . . ’
As he speaks, hearts and thumbs-up emojis float across the bottom of the screen; the viewers of the live-stream are showing their appreciation.
He grins and gives a thumbs-up. Then the camera swings away from his face, plunging the view into darkness, and the autofocus struggles. The picture is grainy, impossible to make out, but the audio remains clear; there’s a sound like running water, as well as loud rustling, muttering with a few swears, then hurried footsteps on gravel.
A picture morphs into view. Three people, silhouetted by torchlight, march ahead of Jedx. The camera rocks from side to side as he follows them. Trees hang over the pathway, their gnarled branches clutching at his jacket like deformed bony fingers. The undergrowth is dense.
Jedx’s voice, disembodied this time, says, ‘It’s tough getting in, but no surprises there. We’ve found a virgin site . . . unclaimed. We need to tread careful. We didn’t see any on-site security when we reconned the place, but there are loads of ‘Keep Out’ signs. If there’s a patrol, we don’t want them to know we’re coming.’
Comments are appearing under the live feed:
DavidSees: Where are you guys?
UrbexFan984: Loving this feed
VulcanD86: Where you at?
The camera wobbles and closes in on the three figures ahead. As it reaches them it pans right, to the closest one. ‘Hey, Sass. Tell the viewers where we are.’
‘Hendleton Studios.’ The woman’s voice is quiet, breathy. She half-turns to the camera but all that shows is that she’s wearing red lipstick, and tiny diamantes glitter around the eyeholes of her balaclava. ‘Famous from the black and white era until the end of the sixties . . . the hit movies Die Happy, Marriage and the Man, Lola’s Journeyand The Fourth Way Downwere made here. So was the cult horror classic Death by a Thousand Daggers. The studio closed after owner Joey Oakenridge died unexpectedly—’
‘In totally dodgy circumstances,’ a new male voice cuts in, higher pitched and younger sounding, with a London accent. ‘Well suspicious if you ask . . . ’
‘Beaker’s right.’ Jedx turns the lens back to himself. The angle’s crooked once more, with only his mouth is visible. ‘Wikipedia says it’s haunted.’
‘Fucksake. I’m trying to give the facts here.’ Hands, with orange-painted nails emerging from fingerless gloves, grab the camera and yank it round to face the woman, Sass, again. ‘The verdict was death by misadventure.’
There’s a shout to hurry up from another voice, an older sounding guy. The view shifts forward and the image sways as the trio jog towards the fourth person. He’s standing in front of a high wire fence. Although he’s a half-foot taller than the rest of them, the fence must be a good two feet higher than him.
The camera focuses on a sign. It’s weathered and faded with age. NO ENTRY. TRESSPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. The taller guy throws a rucksack over the fence, followed by a crowbar. It hits the top and the wire jangles.
Sass pulls the camera back to her. ‘Mortgaged several times over, the studio stopped production and closed its gates for the last time on 24 January 1972. It’s been lying dormant ever since.’
‘Until tonight,’ says Jedx. The view returns to him. He’s smiling beneath his balaclava and puts on an American accent, movie voiceover style. ‘Because tonight, folks, we’re breaking our way in.’
The onscreen counter beside the word LIVEis at 28:03. The viewer tally beneath it stands at over four hundred. A doorway comes into view, boarded-up with plywood. Tattered ‘Keep Out’ notices are pasted haphazardly across it like badly hung wallpaper. The arched stone doorframe is green with algae but still impressive. Carved into the stone over the top of the door is HENDLETON STUDIOS: SOUND-STAGE ONE.
Jedx swings the camera round to face him. ‘We’re gearing up to gain entry. As you know, this is kind of illegal.’ He grins into the lens. ‘But you guys won’t tell anyone, will you?’
Pinnyhip078: Do it!!
DavidSees: Oh this is epic. Let’s see what’s in there!
Koso: Don’t go inside
LiveWildRock: Your secret’s safe with us!
UrbexUncovered: Googling Hendleton now!!
Thumbs-ups and hearts stream across the bottom of the screen again.
Jedx laughs. ‘Looks like you’re as keen to see inside as we are.’
The camera moves to catch the tallest guy taking his crowbar to the boarded door. The plywood splinters, rotten chunks of wood crumbling away as he levers off the board. He flings the pieces out of his way and steps through the mouth of the building.
‘Come on,’ he says, not looking back. Two paces in and the darkness swallows him whole.
The lanky guy – Beaker – follows, pulling a pair of night-vision goggles into place as he steps through the doorway.
‘We’re entering the sound-stage where all the biggest hits were filmed.’ Sass’s voice is hushed, excited. She climbs over the discarded wooden board as she talks.
‘Let’s check it out,’ says Jedx. The view swings left to right as he navigates the doorway. ‘This is such a rush. My heart’s going mental. Ready for anything. Bring it on!’
Inside, the only light comes from their torches. The hall is narrow. Old movie posters hang in tatters from an ancient noticeboard. The ceiling has caved in, spewing wires and debris onto the floor below.
They move quickly.
‘It stinks in here,’ Jedx narrates. ‘Really bad.’
Beaker, in the camouflage jacket, turns towards the camera. ‘Like somebody died.’
‘Shut up.’ Sass’s voice has more tension in it now. ‘You’re creeping me out.’
There’s a clatter as someone kicks something.
‘Fuck.’ Beaker stops. Curses some more under his breath.
The tall one calls from the front. ‘You OK?’
‘Yeah, Cap. I just . . . ’ Beaker shines his torch onto the ground. ‘Shit.’
The camera zooms in. At his feet is a wooden box. It’s filled with clown heads.
Jedx laughs, but his voice sounds nervous as he swings the camera around and addresses the viewers. ‘Freaky, yeah?’
Laughter emojis float across the screen showing that those watching the action are still enjoying the show. The comments keep coming.
DavidSees: How does it feel being inside?
LiveWildRock: This is crazy!
Upyeah99: It’s too dark. More light needed.
Pinnyhip078: Woah! Awesome!
UrbexUncovered: Great work. Lovin’ your channel.
FunLeapExp: Great explore. Can I join you? DM me.
Jedx is nodding as he reads the comments on the live-stream from his phone. He looks into the camera lens. ‘David, it feels awesome, totally pumping. We’ve got torches, Upyeah99, that’s all the light we have. FunLeapExp, sorry man, we’re a tight group, no vacancies.’
‘Come on,’ Cap calls from off camera. ‘Keep moving.’
Jedx gives a mock salute and the view rotates. He follows Sass along the corridor, manoeuvring around the piles of broken ceiling tiles and mouldering boxes that litter the route. The floorboards creak beneath their feet.
They move faster.
At the end of the corridor they stop. There’s a door. On the wall is a large beacon covered in decades of dust. The sign beside it says: NO ENTRY WHEN RED LIGHT IS ON. RECORDING.
Cap turns to the camera. The whites of his eyes look artificially bright against the balaclava and gloom. He’s talking fast; high on the thrill. ‘This is it, nirvana for this site. Abandoned over forty years ago. Now we’re about to breach. You ready?’
Sass holds up her SLR camera. Grins.
Beaker takes out his mobile. ‘Ready, Cap.’
‘Streaming live every step of the way,’ says Jedx. He looks into the camera. ‘You guys ready to see inside?’
Hundreds of thumbs-up icons flit across the feed.
DavidSees: Get in there now!
LiveWildRock: Hell yeah!
UrbGold300: This is so fascinating.
Upyeah99: Show us! Can’t wait it see how it looks.
Koso: Don’t! Go home.
Pinnyhip078: Dudes, go for it!
Jedx nods as he reads them from his phone, then grins at the camera. ‘I’ll take that as an affirmative.’ He pushes his phone back into his pocket and nods at Cap. ‘We’re good to go.’
As Cap pushes down the door handle the other three crowd in close. The camera tilts, and as it moves it looks as if the dusty red light blinks. Then the view is blocked, and only Beaker’s camouflage jacket and Sass’s black fleece are visible.
‘It’s stuck,’ Cap says. ‘The wood must have warped.’
There’s a thud and the camera view jerks upwards, showing Cap shouldering the door. The hinges squeal. Cap exhales hard. Then it finally starts to inch open.
Sass turns to the camera, just one of her crystal-ringed eyes visible, and whispers, ‘We’re in.’
They move into a small space, like an anteroom. Floor to ceiling curtains hang across the opening to the main sound-stage, obstructing their view. As they look around, their torchlight illuminates a row of dust-covered chairs and a low table with a pile of decomposing magazines. On the wall is a shooting schedule from forty years ago; the daily running order for a film titled Dark Pleasures.
Sass grins towards the camera. ‘This would have been the waiting area, the twilight zone between the real world and the fantasy of whichever movie was being filmed.’ She steps towards the curtains. ‘I’d have expected velvet curtains like in a theatre but—’
‘It’s black plastic sheeting.’ Beaker sounds nervous. ‘The velvet’s piled up in the corner over here.’
The camera moves to a heap of material in the corner, then Jedx swings it round to face him. ‘There’s no dust on these curtains, they can’t have been here long.’ He moves the camera closer to the plastic. ‘Yeah, these are pretty clean. The colour hasn’t faded and the plastic is thick, heavy-duty stuff.’
Sass appears. She runs her fingers across the black plastic. There’s confusion in her tone. ‘It’s been cut precisely to size and carefully hung, completely filling the opening.’ She looks past the camera, towards Jedx. ‘We’re not the first here. Someone did this recently.’
‘Wow’ emojis appear on the live-stream. Questions are being asked in the comments.
DavidSees: Why replace the curtains?
UrbGold300: Who did that? If the place hasn’t been touched for forty years . . .
Upyeah99: Plastic curtains?? Weird as!
ExpoDisW: Don’t like the look of that. Get out of there guys!
For a moment there’s complete silence. Then Cap steps alongside Sass and slides his hand between two of the plastic sheets. A chink of light appears.
Sass inhales hard. ‘Why’s there light? This place was cut off years ago. There shouldn’t be any power.’ She reaches towards Cap. ‘Wait, we ought to . . . ’
But she’s too late. He’s already pulling the plastic aside.
The light is blinding.
‘Fucking . . . what the . . . ’ There’s a tremble in Jedx’s voice. ‘That’s . . . that’s . . . ’
The camera swerves sideways, the autofocus struggling. Silhouettes seem to morph into each other in the haze. Then the view stabilizes and there’s a glimpse of a wooden frame, before it shifts again, focusing on an old Arriflex movie camera, its body and shooting reels covered in dust. The view tilts, revealing a second camera behind the Arriflex. This one is tripod-mounted and modern. Focused on what’s in the centre of yet more plastic sheeting, spread out across the stage floor.
Sass cries out.
Beaker turns towards the camera, his eyes wide. ‘We need to move. Fucking move.’
‘Go.’ All the bravado’s gone from Cap’s voice. ‘Get out before they—’
There’s a noise like an angry roar. It sounds half human, half animal.
Cap shoves Beaker and Sass backwards into Jedx, blocking the camera’s view. They jostle against each other, panicking. Jedx twists round; the camera’s view is a blur of light. He pushes the others ahead and, for a brief moment, the camera finds colour – grey rope, brown wood, and a long river of crimson. Then it’s gone.
‘Quick, come on.’
They scramble back through the plastic curtain. Barge through the door into the hallway.
The camera jerks side to side. Angled down, it films three sets of feet; black Nikes, maroon Converse, some kind of leather hiking boots. They’re sprinting. Leaping broken floorboards. Swerving round debris. Something falls from Cap’s pocket, no one seems to notice.
Loud breathing. Panicked cries.
There’s a crash. Swearing. The camera drops to the ground, landing at a right angle to the floor, and the lens fractures.
Jedx is on his knees, clown heads scattering around him. He scrambles to get up, the heads rolling in his wake, but they bring him down again, his face inches from the lens.
Loads of ‘wow’ emojis and hearts are flooding across the live feed.
Jedx’s gaze is focused past the camera. He’s shaking his head. Eyes wide. Mouth open. Fear obvious.
Footsteps thud along the floor in a slow rhythm. Confident. Deliberate.
‘Oh fuck.’ Jedx lurches forward on all fours, his arms and legs paddling wildly. His expression desperate. His foot catches the camera and it spins, sliding along the floor, out of reach. Jedx crashes over the clown heads, crushing their skulls beneath his feet. Disappears.
The camera lies still.
The image is grainy. The view split into three by the broken lens. Rotten floorboards. Upturned prop box. A clown head with its smiling face caved in.
The footsteps come closer. Black Doc Martens appear on-screen. Halt. There’s a sigh, just audible. A gloved hand reaches towards the camera.
The image cuts to black.
JedUrbXTM livestream terminated.
If you’d like to find out what happens next, click on the book cover below to hop over to Amazon where it’s available in ebook, audio and paperback…
As we count down to MY LITTLE EYE launching in paperback later this week, the blog tour has started!
Do check out each of these fabulous book bloggers – their tour stops include reviews, exclusive content, and interviews about me and My Little Eye…
Today I’m super excited to have award winning crime writer (and good pal of mine) David Young guest posting on the CTG blog as part of his STASI WOLF Blog Tour. STASI WOLF is the second book in the Oberleutnant Karin Müller series following up from the smash hit STASI CHILD. Today, David Young is talking about the real life case that inspired the story in STASI WOLF.
Over to David …
Twenty-six years ago this month communist East Germany’s most well-known murder hunt began when the torso of a young boy was found stuffed in a suitcase by the side of the Halle to Leipzig rail line.
The body was soon identified as that of seven-year-old Lars Bense, who’d gone missing on a cinema trip two weeks earlier in the supposedly ideal socialist new city of Halle-Neustadt. A city where every apartment was near-identical, where streets didn’t have names, and where addresses were simply a strange six-digit code.
It’s the city that is the setting for Stasi Wolf, and although my fictional story is set six years earlier than the real-life murder, I’ve ‘borrowed’ some aspects of the murder investigation for the novel.
In the actual murder case, the only clue detectives had to the identity of the killer was found in a newspaper the body was wrapped in. A crossword puzzle was partially completed – the idiosyncratic handwriting, so experts said, was that of a middle-aged woman.
So began what still ranks as the biggest-ever handwriting sampling exercise in world history as part of the Kreuzworträtselmord – the Crossword Puzzle Murder. More than half-a-million samples of writing were collected, sometimes by ingenious methods such as staged competitions.
At the heart of the hunt were the GDR’s reviled secret police, the Stasi – only this time they were doing some good, providing the manpower to help the overworked CID section of the People’s Police. I have them playing the same role in the novel – but also have them constantly overseeing my fictional detective Karin Müller’s work, because they don’t want news of her investigation to alarm the model city’s residents. And that has some basis in truth too. The successful end of the actual investigation was – in East German times – only mentioned in one small local newspaper report.
Today Halle-Neustadt is battered and worn, with many of its apartment blocks empty and condemned. A once-thriving population of 100,000 – mostly workers at the giant chemical works at nearby Merseburg – has shrunk to less than 40,000. But memories of the Crossword Puzzle Murder live on.
The team that eventually cracked the case – after several months – was led by Halle murder squad head Hauptmann Siegfried Schwarz. ‘Sigi’ – as he’s known – is still a hunter – but now it’s his hobby, and animals and birds are the quarry, rather than murderers, in the fields north-east of Halle where he now lives.
He agreed to meet me in Halle-Neustadt as part of his research and talked me through some of his cases, as well as his most famous one.
Although generally a jovial man, his face clouded over with sadness and his voice cracked with emotion when he spoke of another case that is perhaps closer to the central plot of Stasi Wolf – the killing of a baby whose body was found stuffed in a drawer in Halle city itself.
But it’s the Crossword Puzzle that he’s most well-known for. Some nine months after the hunt began the culprit was arrested. The handwriting had been matched to a resident of Block 398 – a middle-aged woman working as a seasonal worker on the Baltic Coast.
A male friend of the woman’s daughter fitted the profile of the killer, and eventually confessed to murder and sexual abuse of the boy, and was jailed for life – although after reunification this sentence was reduced because as he was eighteen at the time, he qualified as a juvenile.
He was released in 1999 and died in 2013 – on the day of the 32nd anniversary of his crime.
But – just as in the fictional Stasi Wolf – the real-life case has a final twist. His then girlfriend published what was supposedly a German-language ‘novel’ based on the murder that same year. Prosecutors opened a new case against her, on the grounds of alleged complicity to murder, because her statements in the novel differed from her accounts at the time.
However, she and her publishers insisted her book was fiction – and the case against her was subsequently dropped for lack of evidence.
A huge thank you to David Young for guest posting on the CTG blog today.
STASI WOLF is out now. Here’s the blurb: “East Germany, 1975. Karin Müller, sidelined from the murder squad in Berlin, jumps at the chance to be sent south to Halle-Neustadt, where a pair of infant twins have gone missing. But Müller soon finds her problems have followed her. Halle-Neustadt is a new town – the pride of the communist state – and she and her team are forbidden by the Stasi from publicising the disappearances, lest they tarnish the town’s flawless image. Meanwhile, in the eerily nameless streets and tower blocks, a child snatcher lurks, and the clock is ticking to rescue the twins alive . . .”
You can buy STASI WOLF from Amazon HERE
And be sure to check out all the fantastic stops on the STASI WOLF Blog Tour and follow David Young on Twitter @djy_writer
Today I’m handing the controls of CTG HQ over to Ankush Saikia who’s here to talk about his detective Arjun Arora series, including Dead Meat (2015) and Remember Death (2016), both published by Penguin Random House India.
Welcome Ankush Saikia! So how did the Delhi detective series comes about, and what is the social relevance of the books?
I was born in Assam in 1975, and grew up there and (along with a few years in the US, where my father was teaching) in Shillong, both in North East India. When I was 21 I left for Delhi, where I stayed for a long time (more than a decade), working first in journalism and then in publishing. Delhi was a city I grew to love and detest in equal measure, a tough, almost-violent place that taught one how to survive. I returned to North East India in 2011, and, after writing a noir thriller set in Shillong (The Girl From Nongrim Hills, Penguin India 2013), I began trying to write something which had been on my mind for a while: a dark novel set in Delhi that looked at the multiple layers of existence in that city.
The detective came about as a character who, by virtue of his profession, would be able to easily access different levels of society in the capital. Delhi is a city of outsiders, but to make Arjun Arora even more of an outsider, I made him the only child from a mixed marriage (a Punjabi father, a Nepali mother) who grew up in North East India, but was forced to move with his family in his teens to Delhi after his construction-supervisor father was shot in the knee by insurgents in remote Manipur. His memories of his time in North East India remain a source of nostalgia for Arjun Arora; he is someone with one foot permanently in the past. Then there is his time as a major in the Indian army, which he was asked to leave due to insubordination. A stint as a private security contractor in Iraq sees him narrowly escaping a beheading after being kidnapped. Back in Delhi he tries his hand and fails at various businesses, and starts drinking too much. His wife and teenage daughter leave him. Then he finds something which he is good at, being a detective, even as handling cases involving greed and deceit leads him further into the darkest corners of his soul.
Both the books so far have elements of true crime in them: the infamous Delhi “tandoor” murder and cricket match-fixing in the first book, a gruesome murder case of a woman in Bangalore (she was drugged and buried alive in a box) and the strange lives of Bollywood actresses from the 1960s in the second. The third book should see Arjun Arora travel to Nagaland and Manipur in North East India in connection with a case, where he gets mixed up in smuggling and insurgent activity.
As far as the social relevance of the books are concerned, I would like to think they shine a light on the varied lives and classes in India, from the high to low, from the innocent to corrupt, and reinterpret the traditional detective character in an Indian setting. Also, the country is undergoing social change on a vast scale, which means there are more and more people—especially in the cities—who are adrift, cut loose from traditional beliefs and a sense of rootedness. Arjun Arora can be taken as a representative of this change. India is a vast country with myriad problems—and so that can only mean more interesting cases for detective Arjun Arora in the future.
A big thank you to Ankush for joining us at CTG HQ today.
To find out more about Ankush Saikia over on his website: www.ankushsaikia.com
Follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @ankushsaikia
Publisher’s links …
Remember Death http://penguin.co.in/book/fiction/remember-death/
The Girl from Nongrim Hills http://penguin.co.in/book/fiction/girl-nongrim-hills/
And check out some reviews here …
The Girl from Nongrim Hills
What the blurb says: “Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins’s mother commits suicide.
Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.
This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that area closest to you.”
Out this month, Sarah Ward’s debut novel – In Bitter Chill – perfectly captures the hauntingly chilling atmosphere of the best Nordic Noir crime fiction, within a closer to home Derbyshire setting.
This intricate mystery follows Rachel Jones as she tries to piece together why Sophie Jenkins’s mother would commit suicide thirty years after the abduction. Now a professional genealogist, Rachel is no stranger to digging through public records to connect seemingly unrelated information and family histories. She starts putting her skills to use investigating the events around the time of Mrs Jenkins’s death, and in the process unravels a complex web of secrets and lies which have devastating consequences.
Meanwhile, DI Sadler, DS Palmer, and newbie DC Connie Childs are working the case too. As they wade through old case files from 1978 and the facts from Mrs Jenkins’s suicide, they are unable to find a connection. Then a woman is found murdered, and the mystery surrounding the cases deepens – someone is still guarding the secrets of the past, and they’ll kill to do so.
In Bitter Chill is a haunting debut. Beautifully written, with a complex and compelling mystery at its heart, it pulls you deep into the secretive community of Bampton from the first page to the last.
Highly recommended for fans of Nordic Noir and detective crime fiction.
To find out more about Sarah Ward hop on over to her website at www.crimepieces.com/ and follow her on Twitter @SarahWard1
[With thanks to Faber for my copy of In Bitter Chill]
And be sure to check out all the other fabulous stops on the blog tour …
What the blurb says: “When Red Westwood meets handsome, charming and rich Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, there is an instant attraction. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past, and his dark side, begins to emerge. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror. Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life. But Red’s nightmare is only just beginning. For Bryce is obsessed with her, and he intends to destroy everything and everyone she has know and loved – and then her too…”
DCI Roy Grace returns in the latest book in Peter James’ best selling detective series – Want You Dead. He’s juggling the new responsibilities of parenthood with planning for his approaching wedding when his team is called to inspect the scene of an apparent suicide. But the suicide is suspicious, and when the dead man is found to be the current boyfriend of Red Westwood, a women whose previous boyfriend – Bryce Laurent – is known for his violent outbursts, Grace and the team are pulled into a deadly race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.
Red is a survivor of domestic abuse, determined to rebuild her life after being betrayed and brutalised by the man she loved. She’s started a new career, and is beginning to date again. But when her boyfriend is found dead, and she starts to catch glimpses of her ex – Bryce Laurent – her confidence begins to crumble.
Bryce is a smart and terrifying villain, able to be both utterly charming and brutally violent. Obsessed with Red, and destroying her and all she holds dear, anyone who threatens his success instantly becomes a target.
Told in short chapters, with points of view alternating between viewpoint characters including Grace, Red Westwood, Bryce Laurent, and Sandy (Roy Grace’s wife who disappeared many years previously) the tension continues to rise as Brighton becomes the setting for a series of devastating fires. Alongside the case, Grace and his fiancé – Cleo – prepare for their wedding, but unknown to them, in the background someone is watching – Sandy, Grace’s first wife, who has now been declared legally dead.
The story twists and turns at break-neck pace towards its dramatic showdown with plenty of shocks along the way. It’s a must-read for fans of the series, and all those who love police procedurals.