Thursday teaser: Here the Truth Lies

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This week we present a psychological thriller teaser from the new book, Here the Truth Lies

JASON FARRAR VIA FLICKR

By Seb Kirby

I make it home in good time to take the call from Brian Cooper.

All the way, I’m worried that the tall man might get off the train at one of the stations further down the line, wait there and re-board my carriage when it arrives. But as each station stop passes and there is no sign of him, my sense of fear subsides and I sink back into the warm, welcoming arms of my whisky-aided world.

When eight-thirty comes around and there’s nothing from Cooper, I begin to think he must have second thoughts about calling. After all, I hadn’t been able to offer much hope of getting his case reviewed the last time we spoke, which is over two weeks ago. When the phone rings, I half expect it to be a cold call, but it’s Cooper’s voice at the end of the line.

He doesn’t waste time with any formalities. “Look, I don’t have long. I’m on three calls only a week and this is one of them. We have fifteen minutes.”

I try to put him at ease. “I’m glad you got through, I thought you might have problems accessing the phone.”

“They do you no favors in here. But, sweetheart, that’s something I wouldn’t expect you to understand.”

“I have an important question, Brian. I want you to think very carefully before you reply. The way you answer may well determine if I can go on helping you or not.”

“You’re trying to pull a number on me?”

“No, of course not. But you have to understand that there are some things we have to get straight before I can offer any further help.”

“I get it, sweetheart. What is it?”

“You are on the level with me, aren’t you?”

“Is that it? If you mean, did I do it, you know what the answer is. I didn’t do it. I was nowhere near the house.”

“So where were you?”

“Like I told you last time, I was out and about, working my patch.”

“Pushing drugs? With Alison?”

“What else. That’s what we did.”

I take a deep breath. “I need to understand why Alison placed you at that house in Morden. You and he were mates, working together.”

“He was never a mate of mine.”

“But you worked together.”

“Call it a marriage of convenience. You don’t have to like someone to work with them.”

“You’re saying you didn’t get on with him.”

“No, I’m saying that’s how the world is, sweetheart.”

I hate how Cooper calls me sweetheart in such a dismissive way. No doubt this is his attitude to most women, but I let it pass. “You’ve got to help me here, Brian. Did Alison have any reason to want to set you up for the murder by testifying that you and he were at the house in Morden?”

“He may have had his reasons.”

“Like what?”

“Isn’t that what you’re supposed to be finding out?”

“You need to see how damaging that was to your case. In coming forward Alison was putting himself at great risk, admitting to drug dealing along with you and placing himself in a position where he could have been accused of being an accomplice to murder. That gave his testimony tremendous weight with the court. Why would he risk all that if he didn’t feel compelled to tell the truth about the killings?”

Cooper falls silent for a worrying length of time, as if he’s thinking too much about what he should say next. I’m left with the feeling that he knows the importance of the question and that the way he answers will have a major effect on whether I’ll continue to support him. A pause that makes me uncertain that he’s not seeking to find the answer that will manipulate me the most. And when he does reply, what he has to say doesn’t calm those fears.

“Look, Alison was a bad man. There are a lot of bad men like him. They do terrible things. How do I know why he turned me in? All I can tell you is, I wasn’t there. I didn’t kill that girl or her father.”

I take another a deep breath. “Look, Brian. I need to say this to you again to make sure I understand. You could win parole by admitting that you did the killings. If you showed remorse, told them how sorry you were, you’d be more or less certain to be listened to. They could conclude that you’re no longer a danger. A year in a low security prison or so and you could be out.”

He interrupts with an undisguised note of aggression in his voice. “And admit to something I didn’t do? Spend the rest of my life being known as a child killer? There’s no way I would ever do that, sweetheart. I thought you knew I was never going to do that.”

“Which means there’s something you need to understand. If I continue the investigation and I turn up evidence that places you at the scene of the murders, I’ll be duty bound to reveal it. That would weigh heavily against any chance you might have of an appeal.” I pause again. “So, tell me one more time. Were you ever at the house in Morden? Yes or no?”

“It’s like I told you. I didn’t do it. Is that clear enough for you, sweetheart? And if I didn’t do it, how could I have been anywhere near that house? Answer me that?”

The time is up. The line goes dead.

I’m less convinced by Cooper than before the call. He could be using me, regarding me as a soft touch. Yet I know that whatever force is drawing me to the story hasn’t changed, no matter how unconvincing Cooper is. And once again he’s refused to admit to the crime, even though that could have bought him his freedom.

It’s that, more than anything else, that stays with me.

Here the Truth Lies: psychological thriller by Seb KirbyAbout Here the Truth Lies 

Sometimes your past is stranger than you ever imagined.

Emma Chamberlain has a consuming ambition – to prove the innocence of a convicted murderer sentenced to life. But the more she digs into the evidence, the more she is forced to confront threatening secrets about her own past that lead her to the ultimate question: who is Emma Chamberlain?

To discover the truth, Emma must expose those responsible for a dark conspiracy that has ruined the lives of many and now threatens her own.

Seb Kirby

BestSelling author Seb Kirbywas literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More; the science-fiction thriller, Double BindEach Day I Wake; and Sugar for Sugar. His latest book is another psychological thriller, Here the Truth Lies.

Seb can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page  |   Amazon Author page  |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |    Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website & blog 

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Villains: Why authors love to write them

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Seb Kirby

continues bestsellers’ musings on the villain: why we write them and what makes them compelling for both authors and readers.

villain with a knifeIn my latest psychological thriller, Here the Truth Lies, I wanted to create a villain who was ruthless and heartless, yet driven by forces outside his own control. I found this in Evan Cargill, a military-trained killer for whom all sense of remorse had been long ago destroyed by events in his brutalising past.

All that captivity.

The years in the children’s homes they forced him into were difficult but nothing compared with the times he spent in the Middle East, first as a soldier of fortune, then as a hostage.

They tried to break him every which way but all they did was hone his spirit of defiance. Each time they tortured him, he felt his body responding, strengthening, becoming ever more resilient. Each time they trashed him and left him for dead, he recovered, stronger, more determined.

He survived.

Time to take back what is owed.

But how can you reclaim a childhood?

That’s where it all began. The never-ending struggle that became his whole life.”

Where a villain comes from

I drew some of the inspiration for this character from Mary Shelley’s observation: “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” Evan Cargill does not see himself as a villain. He believes he is doing nothing but good in the string of gruesome murders he carries out. He sees the killings as wholly justified.

He’s not the main character in the story. That’s Emma Chamberlain, a young journalist facing her own struggle to make sense of her past. But in Cargill, I think I’ve created her dark counterpoint.

Here the Truth Lies: psychological thriller by Seb Kirby

About the book

Sometimes your past is stranger than you ever imagined.

Emma Chamberlain has a consuming ambition: to prove the innocence of a convicted murderer sentenced to life. But the more she digs into the evidence, the more she is forced to confront threatening secrets about her own past that lead her to the ultimate question – who is Emma Chamberlain?

To discover the truth, Emma must expose those responsible for a dark conspiracy that has ruined the lives of many and now threatens her own.

Seb Kirby

BestSelling author Seb Kirbywas literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More; the science-fiction thriller, Double BindEach Day I Wake; and Sugar for Sugar. His latest book is another psychological thriller, Here the Truth Lies.

Seb can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page  |   Amazon Author page  |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |    Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website & blog 

 

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Thursday teaser #excerpt: Here the Truth Lies

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This week’s excerpt is from the new psychological thriller

By Seb Kirby

PROLOGUE

I’m alone in the bed, unable to sleep, my eyes wide open, willing darkness. One of those who needs complete absence of light.

This means, as a minimum, full blackout curtains to take care of the lamps in the street outside. Even then, I detect stray splinters of light appearing around the edges of those curtains once my vision adjusts to the supposed blackness. This involves using the bed sheets to cover my head just enough to shade my eyes while leaving space to breathe. It’s a ritual that, once complete, is an essential prerequisite to any more sleep this night.

But here I am, awake, aware that something is wrong with the room.

I close my eyes. Too much is happening in my mind. Above all, McLeish, my boss, is hounding me for progress on the Stanley story. I doubt I’ll get back to sleep again but I must try.

A faint noise, a rustling sound, comes from the corner of the room. I don’t want to look. I’m phobic about moths, spiders, crane flies and anything with spiny legs. It could be one of those or, worse, a mouse. Nocturnal visitors are more than likely in the ground floor rooms I rent in this old Victorian house.

It’s at times like this I wish I were with someone. But I live alone now that Mark has given up on our marriage and gone to work in Prague. I miss him, yet value the feeling of independence. But now I want someone beside me to say: Emma, what’s that?

I raise my head from the pillow and turn toward the sound.

It’s a young girl. The rustling is made by her nightdress dragging on the ground as she walks towards the bed.

I look away and dig my fingernails into my wrist so hard I fear it might draw blood. The pain is intense. I need to know I am, in fact, awake.

I turn my head back. The girl is still there but she has stopped still now and is standing looking straight at me. She is nine or ten years old with curly blonde hair. Her blue-green eyes hold a look of fear that tells of great suffering and sadness. She is speaking, her mouth opening and closing, but I can hear no words. Yet I’m sure from the way the girl stares at me that whatever she is trying to say is meant for me.

My voice, when it comes, amounts to nothing more than a whisper. “What do you want?”

The girl’s lips stop moving for a moment and her eyes widen, as if she’s heard what I’m saying.

As she mouths silent words again, I strain to decipher them. It looks like I’m here now.  And now, perhaps she is trying to say her own name. I’m Jenny. I can’t be sure.

I struggle to find my voice again. “Tell me. You know you can tell me.”

The little girl says no more. Instead, she turns and retreats to the corner.

I raise myself from the bed. “Come back. I need to know who you are.” But, by the time my feet touch the floor, the girl is gone.

My eyes search the room, looking for any sliver of light. There is none. All is once more pitch black and silent.

As I lie back down, my heart is racing. My nightclothes are heavy with sweat.

There is no chance of sleep now.

About Here the Truth Lies

Sometimes your past is stranger than you ever imagined

Emma Chamberlain has a consuming ambition – to prove the innocence of a convicted murderer sentenced to life. But the more she digs into the evidence, the more she is forced to confront threatening secrets about her own past that lead her to the ultimate question – who is Emma Chamberlain?

To discover the truth, Emma must expose those responsible for a dark conspiracy that has ruined the lives of many and now threatens her own.

Now available in paperback

Order your copy from Amazon

About the author

Seb Kirby is the author of the James Blake Thriller series (Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More), the psychological thrillers Each Day I Wake and Sugar For Sugar, and the sci-fi thriller Double Bind. An avid reader from an early age—his grandfather ran a mobile lending library in Birmingham—he was hooked from the first moment he discovered the treasure trove of books left to his parents. He was a university academic for many years, latterly at University of Liverpool. Now, as a full-time writer, his goal is to add to the magic of the wonderful words and stories he discovered back then. He lives in the Wirral, UK.

You can learn more about Seb on his:

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.

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Thursday teaser: Sugar for Sugar — an excerpt

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Excerpt from Seb Kirby

This week’s excerpt comes from Seb Kirby’s latest novel.

A sound from somewhere far off, getting closer all the time.

I open my eyes. The phone is ringing.

I pick it up and look at the image on the screen.

The bearded man again, the one with the name Colin Tempest next to his photo. Someone I must know. I have to answer.

I take the call.

A male voice. “Issy, I’ve been trying to reach you but you haven’t been answering.”

I can’t concentrate on what he’s saying. I say the only thing that comes to me. “Who are you?”

“Don’t be foolish, Issy. It’s Colin. We need to talk.”

It’s a voice I’ve heard before.

“I can’t talk now.”

He’s insistent. “I can come over. Where are you?”

I look around the room. It doesn’t look familiar. I say the only thing I can. “I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever been in this place before.”

There’s a new note of concern in his voice. “I’ll find a way to help you, to make amends if you just tell me where you are.”

Make amends? So he’s done something to me. He thinks the reason I’m not talking to him is because of that.

“Tell me what you did to me.”

“I’m sorry, Issy. I’m really sorry but he left me no choice. You were the only one I could turn to, the only one who might have convinced him to change his mind.”

“What happened to Mike?”

“You know what happened to him, Issy. He died. A heart attack. You must know that. Why are you trying to pretend that none of this has happened?”

Mike is dead. I must have known that.

Is this the reason for these feelings of guilt I can’t control?

“I’m not pretending.”

He pauses for longer than he should. “The police have been here. What if they start interviewing everyone? It won’t be long before they get round to you and me. Whatever else is said, I need you to promise you won’t reveal our secret. You know it would ruin me and my family.”

I don’t know any secret. Why would he think I did?

“If anyone asks it’s not going to be a problem for me to tell them I don’t know.”

“Thank you, Issy. I knew I could depend on you.”

I stare again at the profile picture of the bearded man.

He wants me to trust him again but I know I can’t.

His voice breaks into my thoughts once more. “Look, Issy. I’ve got to go. Something urgent. Thanks for your help. Thanks for being so understanding. Thanks for everything.”

He closes the line.

I know that what’s been said won’t last long in my mind. I make a note on the phone.

Mike is dead.

Why do I feel so guilty?

Colin behaves like he owes me.

What is Sugar for Sugar?

Did you like this excerpt? Leave a comment.

Issy Cunningham has made a new life for herself but that’s all about to come crashing down. If only she could recall what happened that Valentine’s Eve, she would be able to tell the police what really took place.

But those memories won’t come because there’s too much in the past that troubles her.

How can she set the record straight when her past won’t let her be?

What a great book. It hooked me immediately and I did not want to put it down.—J L Edwards

This book kept me guessing … books are always best when you don’t see things coming!—Dawn

A super read. One of the things I really like about books by Seb Kirby is the obvious attention to detail that he has in his writing, it is quite outstanding.—Susan Hampson, Books From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

If you liked this excerpt, get the whole book from Amazon.

About the author

Seb Kirby was literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby

 

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Thursday teaser: Sugar for Sugar

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By Seb Kirby

Justin Hardman looks at himself in the mirror as he shaves. He likes what he sees. A man approaching forty but with the bright-eyed zeal of a twenty-year-old. A man in control.

He knows where he stands in this troubled world. He despises those who don’t have money and make an issue of being poor. Half of society feeds off their incompetence. Yet he hates even more those who are wealthy and pretend to help those on whose backs their money is made. He admires the charity CEOs who pay themselves six figure salaries. At least they’re honest enough to admit they are running a real, profit making business. He would never support the hypocrites who say they are skimming from the poor. The poor deserve all they get. What matters is being honest about the realities of this life.

When he needs money, he knows where to get it and how to get it. Because he knows what money is and how the wealth that comes with it was created.

He knows about his distant family ancestors who owned slaves working on the sugar plantations of Trinidad, those who were compensated well for the loss of their human property when slavery was abolished. He knows that the work of those slaves, whipped until bleeding as often as not in the treadmills used to process tobacco or sugar, lives on in the money that changes hands today. The indelible mark of his family is still on it. He knows that those who cannot face up to such truths about where their money comes from do not deserve to keep it.

He knows of those other family ancestors who benefited from the rape of Africa, profiting from the shipping companies that transported slaves and returned with tobacco and cotton from the New World. And he knows of the smarter branches of the family who distanced themselves from the brutality of the trade by profiting even further from the import and export duties levied on each shipment that came in or out of London, Liverpool or Bristol, while all the time showing an exemplary face to those around them, priding themselves on the donations they made to the fine buildings that still grace those cities.

Yes, it’s the wealth created by his ancestors and those like them that still flows as a flood tide of ever increasing strength through today’s London.

And he knows of those later family ancestors whose crimes, though vile and treacherous to many, were so long concealed by the passage of time that they were able to pass themselves off as altruistic patrons of the arts without risk of ridicule. The spoils of their dreadful deeds circulate still.

Yes, he knows his true place in this great scheme of things. What does it matter if in this generation he was born with none of the advantages he might have expected had his recent family not contrived to squander these fruits of the past long before he could inherit them? Unlike those around him who took entitlement for granted, he hadn’t been to a good school nor sent on to a place kept waiting for him at Oxbridge.

The only advantage Justin Hardman inherited was an insatiable ambition to succeed by any means possible and an unstoppable desire to recover what is owed from the past. And he knows this matters more than any accident of birth. His is the stronger form of entitlement. The wealth that should be his, the dead labor that has been passed down through the ages, might be now in the hands of others but it is still rightfully his. It is only appropriate that he must do all he can to now take it back.

He washes and dries his face and chooses his clothes for the day from the walk-in dressing room nearby. The choice of over twenty designer Italian suits and over a hundred handmade shirts would overwhelm some. But he knows he has style and can let instinct make the selection. The steel-grey suit. The blue-check shirt.

This is the most important thing he’s learned. The appearance of wealth attracts more wealth. That’s how to stay ahead in this life and get even. Something his father had never understood when he told his son he’d never make anything of himself. If his father could see him now. But he couldn’t. His father had died a loser.

About Sugar for Sugar

How far would you go to uncover the secrets of your past?

Issy Cunningham has made a new life for herself but that’s all about to come crashing down.

If only she could recall what happened that Valentine’s Eve, she would be able to tell the police what really took place.

But those memories won’t come because there’s too much in the past that troubles her.

How can she set the record straight when her past won’t let her be?

What reviewers are saying

“What a great book.”—J L Edwards

“Fast paced thriller”Dawn

“I simply whizzed through this book.”—Ashrae

“Exciting read”—TerryHeth

“A super read”—Susan Hampson, Books From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

sebkirby2Seb Kirby was literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind. Sugar for Sugar is his latest release.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Each Day I Wake

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A gripping psychological thriller
By Seb Kirby

EachDay-KirbyYoung women are going missing and only Tom Markland knows the terrifying truth.

When he’s pulled out of the North Dock, he comes round not knowing who he is or how he got there.

All he knows is that someone is killing young women.

He sees them die each time he closes his eyes.

The only way he’s going to recover his identity is to discover who is doing the killings.

Each Day I Wake will keep you turning page after page.

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Seb KirbySeb Kirby was literally raised with books – his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He’s been an avid reader ever since.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind.

Read more about him on his BestSelling Reads Author page.

Visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.

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