Saturday 9 March 2019

The Bitter Edge Of An Extract

EXTRACT ALERT! I am on a blog tour and I have an extract. But wait, I hear you cry. It's crime. And adult!

Yeah... As I said at the beginning of the year, I am going to try and branch out in genres.

Anyway, the extract I am about to show you is from the fourth DI Kelly Porter (the first being . Bitter Edge starts with a teenage girl throwing herself off a cliff. Ruled as suicide, DI Kelly Porter shouldn't be left asking why. But when her team converge at the girl's school, a darker story begins to unfold. A story that begins Kelly face to face with an old foe, a foe determined to take back what is rightfully his - no matter the cost.

There is more, but am going to leave it there, as I want this and the extract to wet your crime reading appetite! But before I hand you over to the extract, some thank you and links. My thanks goes to Ellie at Canelo for asking if I want to be involved in this tour! Now, if you want to say hi or ask Rachel Lynch, the author, some questions, pop over to her twitter - @r_lynchcrime. Or, if you want more info on the book, you can check out Canelo's website!


Michael Shaw sat at the dining table doing his homework, listening to his mum argue with his sister. After twelve years, it was a regular feature of his daily rhythm and nothing to be concerned about. His mum and dad had different approaches to parenting, and he figured that was normal. His mum was soft, but that was how he supposed mums were designed to be, but his dad didn’t like it, and that was what they argued most about. Michael just got on with his homework, or played the Xbox in his room. 
Earlier, when his mum had gone upstairs to take a bowl of fruit to Faith, his sister, Dad had registered his annoyance by rolling his eyes.
‘She can come and get her own bloody bowl of food,’ he’d said. Now, after Faith had finally come back downstairs to look for a shoe, the argument was about what time Faith should be allowed out till. They were both heading to the fair, and Michael knew that his own curfew was nine o’clock. Next year it would be later, but to be honest, he’d usually run out of money by nine anyway. 
The house was a small terrace and there were few places to find privacy. Faith was on the phone to Sadie and they squealed together, making Dad wince. Michael rolled his eyes. He just didn’t get girls. To him they were giggly and dramatic. He’d had two girlfriends this year already, but they’d both dumped him live on Snapchat, so he’d made a promise to himself that he was off them for now. 
‘How are you doing, Michael?’ his mum asked. He was completing maths homework and so he needed little help, if any.
‘Good,’ he said.
‘The difference between girls and boys!’ She often said this, but it was true. Faith caused so much drama. 
His dad tutted and agreed. ‘Boys are so easy.’ 
Michael thought the phrase unfair and felt a pang of guilt. Faith was always getting it in the neck from both parents, but they mostly left him alone. It was true that she was stroppy and often annoying, but he still felt like she wasn’t that bad, for a sister. Faith ignored them all and continued to look under chairs and piles of ironing. 
‘In my day, she’d be down here making her own tea, not having it delivered,’ said his dad, as if she weren’t in the room.
‘Was that the sixteenth century, Dad?’ Michael quipped. Both parents laughed and looked at one another, resigned to the fact that they would soon have two teenagers to handle.
‘Clever dick,’ his dad said to him. 
‘You said dick.’ Michael giggled and blushed. Faith disappeared upstairs again.
‘Can’t say anything these days!’ His dad shook his head and went back to watching the news. 
When Faith came downstairs ready to go out, her eyes were firmly attached to her phone, and so she didn’t notice her father’s face. Michael saw his dad glare at his sister and hoped there wouldn’t be trouble. Faith got on Dad’s nerves, or that was how he put it, and Michael felt sorry for her, because he himself didn’t seem to get on anyone’s nerves. But Faith was brave and so clever, while he didn’t really speak up for himself unless he was asked. She had an opinion on everything and he watched and took it all in, fascinated by where she learned all this stuff about human rights, famine, poverty and the government. But it drove his dad insane. Once, she’d called him a bigot and a Tory, and Michael had had to look them up. It had led to her being grounded and sent to her room.
‘Faith, put your phone down. We need to talk about tonight.’ Their father looked stern and Michael knew what was coming. ‘Faith!’ he shouted. She jumped and dropped her phone.
‘What? For God’s sake!’
‘Don’t you for God’s sake me!’ Their father was now on his feet and Michael thought about going upstairs. 
‘Colin.’ It was their mum’s role to intervene and pacify the situation. This was how it usually went: Faith pissed their dad off, he lost his temper, their mum calmed everyone down and they all carried on as normal. Until the next time.
‘She’s only looking at her phone.’ Their mum turned to Faith. ‘No talking to strangers.’
‘Mum, I’m not seven years old!’
‘It doesn’t matter. These predators have all the tricks: pretending to be into whatever you’re into, luring you away from friends …’
‘At Keswick fair?’ Faith said sarcastically.
‘You are this close to being grounded! Listen to your mother!’ Dad’s voice was becoming louder, and Michael put his head in his hands. 
Faith tutted and rolled her eyes. 
‘She’s not that stupid!’ Michael couldn’t help himself, and they all looked at him as though, previous to his interjection, he’d been invisible. ‘I’m just saying she knows what a paedo is.’
‘Same goes for you, Michael,’ his dad said. 
The situation defused, Faith went to get her jacket. Michael thought his parents underestimated both of them, but also that Faith didn’t handle it well. If only she’d keep her mouth shut, she’d get away with a lot more.
‘How do you know what a paedo is?’ his dad asked him.
Michael sighed. ‘Everyone knows, Dad! It’s called the internet.’ Sometimes his parents behaved like dinosaurs, but then given their childhoods, which they had described in laborious detail over the years – no mobile phones, no internet, no bloggers, no reality TV – that was what they were.
Faith and Michael soon lost interest in these conversations, although they did find it fascinating that there was once a time when no one had a mobile phone. The concept of not being reached: that was interesting. 
‘You’ll catch your death in that.’ Mum was now focused on Faith’s choice of top. It was rather short. She’d only started wearing stuff like that because of Sadie. Michael knew that Sadie was called a slut at school, but she didn’t seem to mind. He had a pretty good idea what a slut was, and they usually looked like Sadie Rawlinson. He’d heard their mum quizzing Faith about her best friend, and it never sounded positive. Everybody knew that Sadie took drugs regularly, but this never came up in the house. Michael reckoned that half the stuff kids got up to now would floor his parents. Apparently when they were younger, people only did drugs at raves.
‘Mum! Who uses expressions like that?’ Faith was laughing. ‘What does catch your death even mean?’
Even their dad was smirking.
‘I’m going,’ Faith said.
‘You can’t go without something to eat!’ their mum protested.
‘I’ll get a burger at the fair. And candyfloss. We agreed I wouldn’t have tea tonight.’ Faith gazed pleadingly at her mother. Colin gave his wife the ‘you’re so weak’ look and went to check on Michael’s homework. Maths was his strong point too. 
‘Who are you going with tonight?’ he asked.
‘Ethan and Adam.’
‘Adam Pearson? I’m not keen on that kid.’
‘I know you’re not, Dad. He’s all right.’
‘God, you’re worse than the thought police! Chill out.’ It was Faith’s departing shot before she put on her coat and checked her phone again, ready to leave.
‘I’ll pick you both up dead on nine thirty, outside the Royal Oak.’
‘Nine thirty!’ Faith was outraged. Her curfew had been nine thirty last year too. But arguing about it was futile and she knew it. Michael watched as her shoulders dropped. She was defeated.
Their father wasn’t finished. ‘And change your top.’
Michael watched Faith glance at Mum, trying to put her in the middle. It almost worked, but on this occasion, Mum agreed with Dad. Faith rolled her eyes, ripped her jacket off and stomped upstairs, returning wearing a long green jumper instead. She grabbed her jacket and was gone.
‘Nine thirty!’ his dad shouted as the door slammed behind her.

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