book reviews · Bookish

Times Tide by Adrian Harvey (Review)

Happy Monday! Today, I am on the Love Books Group’s Tour for Times Tide by Adrian Harvey and bringing you a review! It is available now in both Kindle and Paperback editions and is available on Kindle Unlimited

Times Tide is a moving tale about the bonds between father and son, healing a rift from time and the connections they have with their home.

The author really pulls the reader in to this book with a lot of descriptive… descriptions(?) that really invoke a feeling of “place.” Now, I discovered I’m one of those people that struggles to visualise things from text – aphantasia, so I feel like if that wasn’t the case, I’d have gotten more from this book, but despite that, I could feel the beauty of their home, but it also felt lonely too. The sense of place was very strong and significant through the book and the author did a really good job at conveying it.

The book switches from one period of time to another, initially opening in 1958, on a boat. While I can’t visualise things from text, I did really enjoy the authors description of “chuckling water”, I’m not sure why, but I really liked that. They return to their old home which they had left years before, along with a cow who no longer produced milk.

The family appear loving but sombre. This is where the family, Einar and Jona lost a son, Eirikur, a brother, named Olafur and it really has an affect on the family. However, returning to their former home, resulted in the cow to produce milk once again (as she had stopped when they left) and the family found joy in this moment and I found myself happy too.

..I realise I’m writing a lot about the start of the book but the background and relationships it lays out are incredibly important for the rest of the book. You get a good idea about the family and how they think and feel about their lives.

It later introduces another generation of family and more bereavement, more strained relationships. But will they be able to ease the strain, make amends, find joy and find closure for their grief? You’ll have to give this incredibly moving book a go yourself and find out, but be prepared to be sucked straight in to Iceland and getting emotional because this tale is an immersive one.

About the Book

The new novel from the bestselling author of Being Someone and The Cursing Stone. 

A father and son struggle to overcome the distance between them. Each is drawn irresistibly to an unforgiving landscape, one that has been the scene of tragedy and loss.

The son’s return to the northern shore he abandoned as a young man promises the chance to heal the rift. But is it too late?

Arni left his remote corner of Iceland as soon as he could, seeking opportunities beyond winter and fishing. Married to an English woman, he builds a life as a successful scientist but can never quite escape the pull of the West Fjords and bleak landscape of his birth, nor shake the guilt he feels towards his distant father.

When Eirikur goes missing, he sets off to find him on a windswept spit of land lost in an angry ocean.

Time’s Tide is a compelling and beautifully written story of loss, belonging and the silence between fathers and sons.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Blood, White and Blue by James Silverster (Excerpt)

Hey. Another Bookish post already? I know right! There are just so many great books! Today I’m on the tour for Blood, White and Blue by James Silvester, the first book in his Lucie Musilova series. Today I am sharing an excerpt with you! You can find out more on other tour stops if you wish! This book is released on November 8th 2018 in both Paperback and Kindle Editions and will be available on Kindle Unlimited.

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Blurb

Love, deception and murder dominate as thriller writer James Silvester delivers the first in the Lucie Musilova series.

Britain is a hotbed of racial tension and economic uncertainty. Only Sir Geoffrey Hartnell, an ageing but hugely respected MP, can bring about a successful resolution to the talks, but a ghost from the past threatens to bring the UK to its knees.

Lucie Musilova meanwhile, is a young woman running out of places to hide. Half-British, half-Czech and rejected by both countries in the aftermath of Brexit, she meets ‘Mr. Lake’, the eccentric Head of a branch of the intelligence services known as The Overlappers, and is press ganged into service on the Huxley case.

As events spiral out of control it becomes clear it is not just Lucie’s life that is at stake, but the future of the very nation.

The new thriller from the bestselling author of Escape to Perdition and The Prague Ultimatum, is a gripping tale of corruption and perfect for fans of Luke Jennings, Daniel Silva and Stella Rimington. If you’re a fan of Killing Eve you’ll love this!

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The grounds of the British Embassy, Prague, 1968.

PROLOGUE

A ferocious and unwelcome sweat brought on by the August heat,
erupted on the brow of the young Civil Servant as he raised the
gun in an awkward and wholly unfamiliar movement, his aim
distorted by the shaking in his arm and his nervous clenching of
the revolver’s grip.
“I could stop you,” he intoned, straining against the daily agony
he felt in his arm to keep the weapon levelled on his foe. “I should
stop you.”
“Be my guest,” replied the second man, pushing his black trilby
back above his brow and defiantly staring beyond the wavering
gun barrel into the eyes of his accoster. “You might as well finish
the job; it’s the least you can do after this.”
The second figure was as young as the first, but stood straighter
than his counterpart, his features were more cruelly arranged, and he
wore an altogether fiercer expression on them, no doubt born from
the furious rage he felt towards the gunman before him. But while
his face was etched with anger, his opponent’s radiated only anguish.
“Oh, I think I’ve finished the job well enough, don’t you? The
whole Embassy knows by now, knows that you are a traitor,
nothing more than a Communist Patsy.”
“Bastard!”
“Language, Old Boy,” the first man smirked through his obvious
pain, as through trying to enjoy his moment to the full but his
heart denying him the pleasure. “You can’t pretend you don’t
deserve this, or that you didn’t know the moment was coming. It
was always coming, ever since you decided upon betrayal.”
“Then put a bullet in my brain and get it over with, will you?
Spare me your gloating.”
From across the courtyard, the gunman slowly lowered his
arm, a twinge of sadness further diluting the loathing which he
had yearned to surrender to.
“No,” he answered, simply, eliciting a frown of reluctant
curiosity in response. “There’s only one place you can go, Old
Boy. In seconds, the security will descend upon you and drag you
back to Britain in chains. You’ll be paraded across the front page
of every paper in the land, your face jeered at nightly on every
television unless you run.”
“Run where?”
“To your suitors, of course; to the Reds. The Dubček regime
is doomed and the Hardliners are waiting in the wings. I’m sure
they’d welcome you with open arms, after all, you’re the man who
killed the Prague Spring.”
“You’re not serious…” the desperate man half-whispered, almost
incredulous at what he was hearing. “You really can’t be serious.”
“What’s the matter? You always wanted to make your mark
on history, and now you have. Whether you run or not, you’ll be
remembered forever for this,” came the response. “You can either
spend your life reeling from your castigation in a prison cell, or
else you can embrace it here as a hero; a hero of sorts anyway.”
There was no choice that he could see, the other man’s logic was
sound, and he had always considered himself a logical man; that
was what had gotten him into this mess to start with. But a lifetime
here, with them?
“We were right about you,” he said after a moment. “All this
time, we were right about you. This is a death sentence just the
same as if you put a bullet between my eyes, you know that. But
then, you never did have the courage to fire a gun, did you, Geoff?
And that arm of yours doesn’t look strong enough to take the shot
anyway, does it?”
“No,” Geoff quietly conceded. “But it isn’t just my gun you
need to be wary of, and you never did have the courage to take
a bullet, to be the one to take the pain, did you Alex? That’s why
you’ll run.”
The sun was getting hotter and Alex could hear the sound of
boots getting closer. He turned his back to Geoff, to the Embassy
and to his country, the country he had pledged to serve, and
stepped closer to the gate, through which lay whatever he could
turn into his destiny. As he stepped through, he turned back, just
one more question on his lips.
“Why did you do this?” he asked solemnly. “Just so you can say
you stopped the man who betrayed Britain?”
“Screw Britain,” the slighter man replied with equal solemnity
from across the courtyard. “You betrayed me.”
He nodded, his acceptance of the answer as reluctant as that of
his situation and drew his first breath as a man on the run from
his country.
“Goodbye, Geoffrey,” he shouted through the gate. “Don’t get
too comfortable, don’t ever let your guard down. Hell is a lonely
place and that’s where you’re sending me. Don’t be surprised when
I come back looking for company.” He doffed his trilby in faux
salute to the Embassy, then turned and set off at a jog into a life in
the chaos and fear of a Russian invasion.
“Goodbye, Alexander,” Geoffrey whispered back, before the
heat and his emotion overpowered him and he fell to the ground,
his knees, and his gun, dropping uselessly to the cobbles.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Picking up the Pieces by Jo Worgan ( Review)

Today, I am on the blog tour for Picking up the Pieces by Jo Worgan, bringing you a book review. The book comes out on the 8th of November in both Kindle and Paperback editions, and will be available on Kindle Unlimited. Below, you can find the tour poster if you want to find out more and visit the other fantastic stops on this tour!

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Where do I start with this book that tugged at my heart? Oh, that rhymed! Picking up the Pieces is an unforgettable read about Kate, her autistic son Sam and the new guy next door, Matt. Kate moved to Muddletown, years ago, to escape her abusive ex-boyfriend, Matt just moved in next door, to escape his now-ex wife, to be greeted with a young boy on a sun lounger in his new garden. This boy is Sam and he has autism.

Now, the author herself actually has a child with Autism and is well qualified to talk on the topic; in fact, she has the full support of the National Autistic Society. I thought this was fantastic. I’m not a parent, and so my knowledge of Autism is limited, but I felt when I was reading Sam’s character, that it was an accurate portrayal of a child with Autism (of course, experiences can vary and not all children are the same, autistic or not), based on my limited knowledge – this was before I knew about the authors experience – I tend to try to wait until I’ve started a book before I read about the author and such, because not everyone who reads a book looks the author up and I feel like it can provide an insight to a book that fellow readers may not end up with, and I didn’t want to taint my experience with extra knowledge – if that makes sense.

Sam is a lovely little boy and I found him charming and sweet. He had some meltdowns, sure, but he felt very real. I thought Kate was strong as heck, but I felt so bad for her and her struggle to seek help – she thought she would worry people and be a burden and that made me so sad. Even out of the abusive situation, that damage remained. Matt is the knight in shining armor, destined to bring that family a happy ending, but not without his own baggage and emotional burden. I found the characters very well written and very human. I was rooting for the main protagonists throughout!

Matt was kind and patient when encountering Sam. When they first met, I held my breath for Matt’s reaction. Then I laughed because I feel like that’s how I would have reacted too. It may have happened off the page, so to speak, but I don’t recall Kate strictly telling Matt that Sam had autism. It seemed more that he basically figured it out based on the signs in the home and his own general knowledge. His compassion was lovely to read and warmed my heart, but then Kate’s ex, Jake made an appearance which brought a big dark cloud ready to rain on my fuzzy feels parade.

I was worried for Kate and worried for Sam. I couldn’t put the book down. I had to find out how this would pan out for them, then Jake even got Matt involved. Determined to swan in and control Kate’s life entirely – or so it appears, under the guise of wanting to know his son.

I was aghast at how things went down later on in the book. I was shocked even though I thought I shouldn’t really be surprised, but I also realised that this, too, was probably pretty realistic and it really tugged at my heart and made me feel so sad for Sam and other autistic children in the world and their families who have had to endure that situation or similar, and they’re undoubtedly out there. It’s “just a book” but it really rang true in a lot of aspects and that really got me. It wasn’t pleasant but it was real and while we can stop reading a book, we can’t close our eyes and prevent things from happening in real life.

It’s food for thought and a reminder that there’s so much we don’t see or know and that we should always try to be compassionate, patient and understanding with others. This book is an excellent, un-put-downable read about a woman, her little boy and the new guy next door that will tug at your heart and make you feel things.

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A compelling and emotive story about a mother’s unbreakable love for her autistic son.

Kate has a six-year-old autistic son, Sam. Having started a new life to escape her controlling and abusive boyfriend Jake, Kate believes the past is behind her and that she and Sam are safe.

But after spotting Jake through a misted-up cafe window, she knows that her previous life has found her.

Kate confides in her new neighbour Matt, a man running from his own secrets. He seems to offer a genuine chance at happiness for Kate and her son, but Jake is determined to get them back at all costs….

Picking Up The Pieces is an original, moving and gripping page-turner about a woman’s search for happiness as she fights to protect her autistic son’s future.

 

UYe53oN7_400x400 Jo Worgan is a freelance copywriter, columnist and book blogger. She has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son. Writing is what she truly loves, and Picking up the Pieces is her second novel following her first, An Unextraordinary Life.

Today Jo lives in Lancashire with her husband of 19 years and their two young
sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes, cinema, the Lake District and lots of playgrounds.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison – Review

chasing-monsters

Hey guys. Today I’m bringing you a review on this new release from Urbane Books – Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison. It came out on the 4th October 2018 and is a crime thriller, available in both Paperback and Kindle formats – to buy and to borrow as part of Kindle Unlimited.
A pretty cool fun fact about the author is that he has spent a lot of his professional life working within the UK’s criminal justice system, primarily as a police officer, however he has also worked as a dog handler and criminal profiler, as well as working with the (now defunct) FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico.

The first thrilling book in the Will Scott series.

In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.

DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the murderer. In so doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit where no one can be trusted.

The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community, but without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?

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The first thing I have to note about this book, is the book itself. The cover is gorgeous and very suitable for the book. It’s only now I’ve finished the book in it’s entirety, that I feel I really understand it. Many books have fantastic covers, but there are few I feel have had this much thought go in to them. There are also themed chapter pages and wings throughout which is a lovely touch and matches very well with an element revealed later in the book.

The book jumps right in with finding a person on the beach and a lot of dialogue, using a lot of very British lingo which US readers may have a bit of trouble with – however, I believe it to be quite an accurate representation how many of us (English folk) speak. This sort of fades out though and the writing relaxes a little more, or it feels that way to myself at least.

The start feels quite structured and I struggled with it. This is character, here are details about character. It felt a little overwhelming and “for the sake of it” but things were upwards once these details were disclosed to the reader and everything felt like it was advancing the story. I may have struggled with the start, but by the end, I couldn’t put it down.

It doesn’t take too long for us to get to the first proper crime scene and this really had me hanging on. Harrison has you hanging on and makes you work for the details. The built up suspense is excellent and it was from this point that I realised he had me hooked. The nature of the corpses was a grim one and there are a few elements that sound like implausible scenarios and unrealistic reactions for experienced police officers; when the team go through the crime scene later on is a prime example. It really bugged me at the time, but it’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things and by the next crime, I’d forgotten all about it.

The book is well paced and becomes quite easy to read from cover to cover. There are constantly events happening with no “lull” that would be convenient for the police. There are force politics involved, as with many crime books, however, not the expected “ah, budgets” and things like that. Very different to the usual office politics I’ve come to expect from crime fiction.

It’s quite a ride. The book has you question your own morality when you discover the victims are bad people themselves. Did they deserve to be murdered? Is it justice? Should we feel sympathy regardless or quietly celebrate? It really gives you a lot to think about.

I avoid mentioning mid-end books of spoilers, however I can talk about this without context, so it’s spoiler free. Later in the book, it feels like the story is being wrapped up and the premise is being set for a second installment (which I believe there will be) but then more action happens. It was incredibly intense, more so than the rest of the book had been and I ended up staying awake late to finish it because I absolutely had to know. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I found it absolutely gripping; a stark contrast to when I had first started reading the book and didn’t feel particularly excited about it – it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t stand out. It came along in leaps and bounds and became something I didn’t expect at all. It turned out to be a phenomenal read and one that I would highly recommend. Never had I read a crime thriller that has had me think so much about myself as well as the characters and the system that they operate in.

I really hope Harrison does follow through with a sequel and that it’s as excellent as this book was. I highly anticipate it and I know I’ll be reading it for sure!

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Stealth by Hugh Fraser – Review

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I’m pleased to be opening up the Love Books Group tour for Stealth by Hugh Fraser with a spoiler-free review! Stealth is the fourth installment to Fraser’s Rina Walker crime-thriller series, but can happily be read as a stand-alone. It’s available to pre-order and comes out on 4th October 2018.

When a step out of line means a fight to the death…

London 1967. A working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club. Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove.

When a member of British Military Intelligence becomes aware of her failure to fulfil a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor, he forces her into the deadly arena of the Cold War, with orders to kill an enemy agent.

Rina needs to call upon all her dark skills, not simply to survive but to protect the ones she loves.

If you’d like to find out more about the book, please do check out the other stops on the tour! Here is the poster with the details:

Stealth

Stealth opens up leading straight in to action – not the sort I was expecting based on the blurb of the book. A lot more “shady-dealings” than super spies. Though I will say, there are spies and because of being a London hit-woman, assassin, whatever you’d like to call her; it’s interesting to see how she deals with what gets thrown at her later.

Based in 1967, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dived in, but I felt immersed pretty quickly to a London from decades ago. The environment and the language used by the characters led me to be a lot more comfortable with the book and the entire thing flowed well. Now, I’m no expect on the 60’s – it’s well before my time, and so I’ve no idea on the accuracy of the way the characters speak compared to people of that time; however, I felt convinced and that element added strength to the character and the story.

At first, I wasn’t sold on the main protagonist, Rina. She seemed brash, unfeminine and I thought she was written a bit like a male character – however, that soon changed as I made a little more progress with the book and got to know Rina more. In actual fact, she’s a badass, female protagonist and almost every single thing that happens with her adds to her character development, in my personal opinion. She does use her femininity, but not in the way that I’d expected. On multiple occasions, I was surprised and pleasantly so, at the direction things went in.

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Hugh Fraser said that he has “no set writing process” and that he tends to not plan the story in advance and let Rina take over. I was wondering how this would translate within his work and the answer is “very well.” The book was well paced, with plenty going on, there weren’t really any lulls and it felt like I was right there with Rina, along for the ride and if I dared to stop and rest, I’d end up missing out. Despite not having read any of the previous books, I was indeed carried along with the action and I really enjoyed the ride.

So if you enjoy fast-paced crime-thrillers and a strong, female protagonist, you should definitely pick this book up and give it a go. You can grab it over on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle editions.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Implant – Ray Clark: Excerpt

Hey guys! Today, I’m on the blog tour for a fantastic book called Implant by Ray Clark. It’s the third in a series, but admittedly, this book was my introduction to it. I’ve added the previous installments to my TBR pile as I’ve really enjoyed this book thus far; and while it is part of a series, it works perfectly fine as a standalone. The book doesn’t take too long to really get in to the “meat” of the story, and I was really a big fan of that. I’m currently still reading the book though. I had planned on doing a full review for my spot on the tour, but moving house left me short on time – so today I have an excerpt to share with you instead. I hope you’ll love it and pick up a copy and we can chat about it if you’d like! Thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group, Urbane Publications and Ray Clark for inviting me to be a part of this! Implant is on sale now in both paperback and kindle editions.

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Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.

Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence. Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?

Implant is the perfect read for fans of Peter May, Mark Billingham and Peter James.

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3.

3:20 a.m.

“Do you want me to put a trace on the calls?” Cragg asked.

​Both men had moved out of the back office now, into the more clinical surroundings of the lobby and the front desk.

​“Might be a good idea, sir. While you do that, maybe I should have a walk round to Armitage’s, see what’s happening.”

​Gary didn’t think a trace to his phone would do much good. He knew that as you travelled up and down the country, your mobile phone ‘shook hands’ with each phone mast as it came within range. You didn’t have to be using it, but the mast would know it’s available to make or receive calls. At the end of the day, however, the range was only accurate to within 1.5 miles.

​“It’s okay, lad. I can dispatch a car if you like.”

​“Where are the others?”

​“Further north, at Rudson, investigating an attempted break-in.”

​“You could give them a call and see how they’re doing. If they’re nearly finished, let ‘em know I’m going, and maybe they can meet me there later. After all, we don’t know what this is yet, and it’ll only take me a few minutes to walk round.”

​“If you’re sure,” said Cragg.

​“Course I am. Anyway, the doc said I needed the exercise for the leg. Can you trace the calls?”

​“I’ll use Charter to try to trace them. It’ll just take longer.” Charter was a software program the police used to obtain information from phone companies under the RIPA Act.

​Gary put his helmet on and stepped out the station front door. The sky was still dark with little cloud and no breeze, which made for a mild September morning. The road was quiet: no traffic, no people, not even a brave fox.

​The station was situated on Old Bramfield Road, to the north of the town, going towards Bursley Bridge and eventually Harrogate. Armitage’s place was in Carpenter’s Alley, behind the Market Square, at the foot of The Shambles. He estimated it would only take about ten minutes to walk, despite his leg.

​It took less than a minute for the bloody thing to start aching, an annoying pulsing sensation.

​The accident was still very clear in his mind. They were playing a team from Ilkley. One of their defenders was known locally – and nationally, he shouldn’t wonder – as “The Monster.” He’d been sent off more times than any other player in the league, and it was probably the sole reason that had stopped Ilkley Town achieving promotion. Maybe their manager would see that one day.

​The Bramfield defender, Steve Preece, had supplied the perfect cross for Gary. The goalkeeper was the only man to beat, and Gary reckoned it wasn’t much of a problem. Where The Monster had come from was anyone’s guess.

​Gary went down like a sack of spuds, even heard the break. He hadn’t felt any pain at first. He couldn’t remember the exact point at which he had felt pain, but it had more than made up for his initial lack of it.

​Mr. Sinclair had called it a ‘green stick’ break. His bones had been broken laterally in a jagged fashion, and they had needed to be straightened and pinned. The surgeon had been to see him a couple of times in hospital, gave him extra injections in the leg. He’d said it would take time, things would improve, but it was unlikely Gary would play football again. Not at Sunday League level, anyway.

​Mr. Sinclair would know. He was as good as anyone. Had to be to treat Gary’s mother the way he had done.

​Gary approached the crossroads in the town centre and turned right on to Wheelgate, passing the shops. He hadn’t seen any people on his walk, and passed only a couple of vehicles approaching from the south side, one of them was a bus with no passengers.

​He turned left on to Finkle Street, and his thoughts were once again with his mother.

​She had a type of brain cancer called glioma. He remembered the day when she had suddenly started having epileptic fits, right out of the blue. With progression, she’d had more, and had then grown forgetful.

​She was so frightened. So was he, come to mention it. He’d lost his father; he wanted to hang on to his mother.

​Gary approached the old library, which led to The Shambles. As Armitage’s hardware shop came into view, he could indeed see the light burning in the window, and the front door open.

​He glanced behind him and noticed Richard Jones with his pushbike, standing outside The Golden Lion pub. The man waved, wheeling his bike towards Gary. He was dressed in an old trench coat and trousers. Gary reckoned his age to be mid-fifties.

​He turned his attention to the old hardware store. It had been a part of the community for as long as he could remember, much longer in fact, as he read the sign above the shop that told him it had been established in 1939.

​It was a long fronted building made from different shades of brick, indicating when and where it had been extended. He suspected the main door at the far right side was not the original entrance, which was probably the more central one now used as a window display. To reach the shop you had to walk down four huge concrete steps, with a slope for wheelchairs running down the middle. To the far left were a cycle rack, and a huge potted plant. On the corner of the building an old-fashioned gas mantle was fixed to the wall, unlit.

​Gary was about to tell Richard Jones not to come too close when movement caught his attention. About thirty feet in front of him, where the shop ended and a wall separated it from the public toilets and the car park beyond, someone had stepped back into the shadows.

​At least, he thought someone had.