Thursday teaser: Rainy Night to Die

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Read on to see how your could WIN a free e-copy of this week’s featured novel, the brand-new espionage thriller

By Caleb Pirtle III

PAULINE SAT IN silence on the sofa as the hours dragged slowly from morning to late afternoon.

The clock might as well have stopped.

It no longer had any meaning.

Just a tick.

Then a tock.

And time, which would outlive them all, stepped off the edge of the earth and would never be recovered again.

It fell into yesterday.

It would never see tomorrow.

It was lost, gone on a one-way street that ran forever and might run into a dead end before dark, and time had taken Pauline with it.

She had the guilt of murder hanging heavy on her conscience.

She had watched his face as he moved toward her, a red mask of rage, his veins pulsating on the side of his head, his pupils dilating, eyes turning from dark to a deeper shade of black.

His hands were huge, his fingernails torn ragged, packed with blood and dirt.

His naked and bloated body was awash with sweat.

Pauline could not forget the grin that tore across his face as though it had been scarred by a hacksaw.

His pale lips wrapped themselves around a mouthful of yellowed teeth, each filed sharply to a point.

On more than one occasion, Petrov had bragged about biting the nipples off a woman’s breast before throwing her broken body back out on the street.

Pauline did not doubt his story for a moment.

The first bullet had staggered him.

He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet.

Maybe if the slug had only erased that sick and wicked grin off his face, she would not have fired again.

Petrov’s death was self-defense, she told herself.

She had no choice.

It was a law as old as the first light to touch a barren earth.

Kill.

Or be killed.

She had borne the brunt of Nikolay’s anger for the final time.

He would never touch her again.

She would no longer bear the bruises delivered by his fists.

But did it really matter?

Who would believe her?

A judge?

Pauline knew she would never see a judge.

Her trial would take place in either a back alley some night while a splinter of moonlight touched her face or on the cold, winter shores of the Ukraine River while a bitter rain tried to wash the demons from her tortured soul.

One bullet.

Her skull would crack.

Would she see death before death found her?

Spies did not die with honor.

They just died.

Were buried.

And soon forgotten.

It was as if they had never left their footprints upon the same dirt that would hold their graves.

Pauline felt isolated.

She was alone.

She couldn’t run.

There was no place to go.

They would find her.

The Russians had eyes in every corner of the city.

They were watching.

Always watching.

They were watching her.

Her life began in one flicker of firelight and would end in another.

About Rainy Night to Die

Roland Sand is the quiet assassin. His missions for intelligence agencies are those no one else wants to tackle. The reason is simple. Sand is expendable. If he doesn’t return, he won’t be missed. His name is erased. It’s as though he never existed.

Sand is sent to Ukraine to smuggle out a beautiful lounge jazz singer who, for years, has been smuggling Russian secrets back to MI-6’s home office in Great Britain. Her contact in London has been compromised. He is found floating in the Thames River. Sand must extricate Pauline Bellerose before the Russians trace the stolen secrets back to her and place a noose around her neck.

He has twenty-four hours to find the singer and remove her to safety. If she is caught, he dies.

A ship is waiting in the fog off the coast of Odessa. Time is running out. He must reach the ship at the appointed hour, or it will leave without them. In the secret world of espionage, the window of escape is narrow and closing all the time. The midnight storm is the only place to hide.

The Russians are waiting on the road to sea. Sand can’t outrun them. He can’t outfight them. He must outwit them. Otherwise, he’s trapped, and it’s a rainy night to die.

Find it on Amazon.

Win a free copy

Caleb Pirtle will give a free e-copy of Rainy Night to Die to one person who can identify Roland Sand’s identifying feature. Leave your answer in the Comments below.

Caleb Pirtle III

began his career writing about history and travel. He learned quickly, however, that what happens is never as important as those who make it happen. Many of those people have made their way into his novels.

Pirtle is the author of more than 80 published books, including the noir suspense thrillers, Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, Place of Skulls, and Night Side of Dark. He has also written two noir thrillers, Lovely Night to Die and Rainy Night to Die.

Other historical novels include Back Side of a Blue Moon, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award and Best of Texas Book Award, and Bad Side of a Wicked Moon. He has written such nonfiction award winners as XIT: The American Cowboy, Callaway Gardens: the Unending Season, The Grandest Day, Echoes from Forgotten Streets, Spirit of a Winner, and Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk.

Pirtle lives at Hideaway Lake in East Texas with his wife, Linda, who is the author of three cozy mysteries.

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Monday musings: Fiction is often more believable than truth

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Maybe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was right. Maybe life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man can invent.

You might as well write fiction.

Nobody believes the truth.

Why?

The truth often reads more like fiction than fiction does.

Just listen to the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:


Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive of the things, which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city gently remove the roofs, and peep in at all the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, it would make all fiction with the conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.

There are stories taking place in real life that are too strange and bizarre to be believed, yet they are part of the historical fabric that makes up the comings and goings of the world at large.

Take Edgar Allan Poe, for example. He wrote a novel that fulfills every tenet of the author’s literary connection with horror. He called it The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, and it told the odd tale of four shipwreck survivors who drifted on the open sea in a lifeboat for many days without food.

Desperate, they made a pact among themselves.

They would draw straws.

The loser would die.

The loser would make several meals.

A cabin boy drew the wrong straw.

His name in fiction was Richard Parker.

The tale was chilling.

Edgar Allan Poe always claimed that the novel was based on a true story.

He was right.

But there was one problem.

The true story had not taken place yet.

It was forty-six years later before the Mignonette went down in ocean waters.

Four men survived.

Four men and lifeboat.

The days passed, and they made a fateful decision.

They would draw straws.

The loser would die.

They would eat the loser.

The cabin boy drew the wrong straw.

His name, ironically enough in truth, was Richard Parker.

The stars do align strangely sometimes.

Try this coincidence on for size.

Wilmer lived the gentleman life of a farmer on the road between two major cities while the storm clouds of the Civil War were boiling overhead.

To the North lay Washington, D. C.

That was where the Yankees had their capital.

To the South, the road led to Richmond.

It was controlled by Johnny Reb.

And Wilmer?

All he wanted to do was farm.

Bull Run was the battle that triggered the war, and it erupted along the road that ran right past Wilmer’s farmstead. The Confederates even confiscated his home and turned it into their headquarters.

Wilmer tried to hang around.

But the shots of war were coming too fast, too deadly, and too often.

Bullets were slowly tearing his house apart.

So, being of sound mind and body, Wilmer packed up and headed farther back into Virginia where, once again, he could find peace and a measure of solitude.

The sounds of war faded, then stopped altogether. He was beyond their reach.

But four years later, the Yankees of Ulysses S. Grant and the Johnny Rebs commanded by Robert E. Lee once again came to Wilmer’s farm.

Wilmer McLean watched Lee surrender his sword.

He watched the Confederates lay down their rifles.

He watched them ride away from the McLean House on the edge of Appomattox.

He watched a terrible war come to an end.

And he later remarked, “The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor.”

Try making somebody believe that in a novel.

Too contrite they would say.

We don’t believe in such coincidences, they would say.

But none of us can escape them.

Maybe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was right. Maybe life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man can invent.

The writers of fiction would never dare to put these stories on paper.

Fear is the reason.

Fear of ridicule and humiliation.

I believe all writing of fiction based on a few facts and a little truth.

You can see how Caleb Pirtle III uses this principle in his contemporary thriller, Lovely Night to Die, available on Amazon.

Caleb Pirtle III

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of more than seventy books, including three noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the DeadConspiracy of Lies, and Night Side of DarkSecretsand Conspiracy are now audiobooks on audible.com. The fourth book in the series, Place of Skulls, was released in 2017. Pirtle’s most recent project is the Boomtown Saga, including Back Side of a Blue Moon and Bad Side of a Wicked Moon.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has also written three teleplays. His narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk, is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Pirtle was a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and served ten years as travel editor for Southern Living Magazine. He was editorial director for a Dallas custom publisher for more than twenty-five years.

Get to know Caleb through his

BestSelling Reads author page
   |    Amazon Author page
   |    Website   |   Blog    |  Facebook    |   Twitter



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Thursday teaser: Wired Courage

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This week’s Teaser is from the latest in the Paradise Crime series. Read on to see how you could win a free e-book

By Toby Neal

Discipline was beautiful, even when it hurt.

Pim Wat stood on the stone balcony of the temple overlooking the courtyard. Rows of acolytes, dressed identically in black cotton gi, practiced before their master. The crisp movements of the closely guarded martial arts routine were already embedded in her own muscle memory, and if she’d joined the young men and women in their tidy rows, she could have performed their routine perfectly, too.

Someone missed a movement, the mistake glaring in the crisp rows of conformity, and the master raised his baton.

All movement ceased. The rows of recruits froze into stillness. The master lowered the baton, and the recruits dropped to the ground to do push-ups.

They would do push-ups until he raised the baton again.

Armita appeared at Pim Wat’s elbow. “Your tea, mistress.”

Pim Wat took the hand thrown porcelain teacup without looking at her maid. She sniffed the jasmine-scented brew, then took a sip. Scalding hot, just as she preferred. “Acceptable.”

She seated herself on one of two chunks of amethyst that had been beveled into stools. A large tiger’s-eye plinth, glowing with bronze iridescence, served as a table. Armita faded back into the building after leaving a lacquered tray holding a pot and another teacup.

Perhaps the master would join her, but he didn’t always. Pim Wat willed him to, craving the drug of his presence.

The recruits were still doing push-ups. At last, the master raised his baton, and they leapt to their feet in one accord. He barked out an order, and the routine began again. He tapped a student on the end of one of the rows with the baton, handing it over. The black-clad young man took the carved ivory cane reverently, and stepped into the leader’s place in front.

The master strode toward Pim Wat, and she smiled with satisfaction as he glanced up at her.

Moments later he seated himself on the other chunk of amethyst and picked up his teacup. He closed his eyes to savor the tea, some of the most expensive and exquisite in the world, as Pim Wat feasted her hungry gaze on the man that she loved with an unseemly and obsessive passion.

The master looked no more than thirty, though he was at least Pim Wat’s age. His long black hair was braided and decorated with carved jade. The smooth fans of his eyelashes rested against golden-skinned, high cheekbones, contrasting with straight black brows. He opened dark purple eyes that must be the result of some multi-racial encounter of ancestors. “When is she coming to us?”

Pim Wat tightened her mouth in annoyance and hid her expression behind the delicate, hand thrown cup. “My daughter is stubborn. I’ve told you this.”

“The Yām Khûmkạn requires her.”

“And I’ve told you that she cannot be persuaded. Especially now that she’s pregnant.” Pim Wat’s cup rattled as she set it on the tray. She was going to be a grandmother. What a reminder that time was passing. Despite all her efforts, she was getting old. “I have tried everything to get her to come, even threatening her lover. She has refused.”

“Does she suspect anything about what we really want?”

“No. How could she? But she does not trust me.” Pim Wat made a fist. “I cannot command her like I used to.”

“You must manage your emotions, Beautiful One,” the master said. He leaned toward her, but instead of a kiss, drew a line down her profile with a finger and tipped up her chin. He teased her, rolling the ball of his thumb across her lower lip. Pim Wat’s eyes fluttered shut in anticipation and her body trembled. “Take her, if there is no other way. Do what you must do.”

His touch disappeared.

Pim Wat kept her eyes closed for a long moment, still hoping, but when she opened them, he was gone.

“Manage my emotions, by Quan Yin’s left tit,” she snarled. “Armita! My tea is cold!”

Armita came out onto the balcony and whisked away the tea. Pim Wat looked down at the practice area, but it no longer entertained her. She followed her maid into the main chamber of her apartment.

Thick, luxurious carpets and rich silk drapes softened the harsh stone walls and floors of the ancient room. “We must prepare a plan to get Sophie Malee,” Pim Wat said.

Armita’s eyes flashed, just a tiny flare of defiance. “Are you sure that’s a good idea, mistress? She is well protected.”

“The master wants her, and thus she will come. Once she’s here, they won’t be able to take her back. The stronghold of the Yām Khûmkạn is too remote and fortified.” Pim Wat turned toward a tall, exotic wood armoire. “Back to Hawaii I must go. Such a long, tiresome flight.” Pim Wat pinched the back of Armita’s arm viciously as the maid reached out to open the armoire. “And that’s for questioning me.”

About Wired Courage

Paradise is stalked by a relentless evil.

What would you do if your family was threatened?

Sophie just wants to settle down with her unusual family—but a powerful presence sweeps in to steal her joy. At her most vulnerable physically and emotionally, Sophie must rise up to hunt down those who would take what’s most precious to her. The boundaries of love and friendship are tested as the men in her life grapple with their roles, each trying to help—but in the end, it’s Sophie who must face the darkness from her past and vanquish it.

Now available from all major e-tailers

Win a free e-copy of the first book in the Paradise Crime series, Wired In

Author Toby Neal will give away a free e-copy to one person who answers this question in the Comments, below:

Tell us your favorite thing about Hawai’i.

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Toby Neal

grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. A mental health therapist, Toby’s career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her mystery, thriller and romance books.

She writes fast-paced, character-driven stories set in wonderful places. “No one can read just one!” exclaims one fan.

Outside of work and writing, Toby volunteers in a nonprofit for children and enjoys life through beach walking, body boarding, scuba diving, photography, and hiking.

 Visit her on her:

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New bestseller: Seek and Destroy

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The second Eva Driscoll thriller will be available on Amazon on Wednesday, November 14. Get a taste of this new blockbuster

By Alan McDermott

As Gray stepped up to the ATM machine, he looked around out of habit. He’d known a couple of people who had been the victim of distraction thefts, so he always made sure there was no one near him when he used the machines. That was when he saw the Renault pull up on the other side of the street. The buzz cut and leather jacket of the driver grabbed his atten­tion, setting him immediately on edge.

“Daddy! You’re hurting me!”

Gray looked down at Melissa and let go of her hand. He hadn’t realized he’d been squeezing it so hard. He knelt in front of her and kissed her tiny fingers. “I’m so sorry, darling,” he said, with one eye on the Renault.

Two men had climbed out of the back seat, and they were heading his way. He recognized the look they shared and pegged them as mili­tary, either former or current. Whichever it was, they reeked of trouble.

Gray took Melissa by her other hand and led her away from the ATM. He needed to get her somewhere safe, and the only place he could think of was the café. If something bad were about to happen, he didn’t want Melissa witnessing it, and the owner was a friend who could handle himself. Like Gray, Marco had spent time in the armed forces. Unlike Gray, Marco was built like a tank.

Gray led Melissa to Marco’s place, and when he glanced back he could see that the two heavies were still following him and had closed to within twenty yards. He opened the door and saw his friend behind the counter, preparing a sandwich.

Ciao, Tom. Come va?

“Marco, I need help.”

The big man’s forehead furrowed. “Problem?”

“Maybe. Can you keep an eye on Melissa for a few minutes?” When Gray saw the confusion on Marco’s face, he resorted to what many peo­ple do in foreign countries. “You watch Melissa? Five minutes? I go?”

Si, si, non c’è problema.” Marco smiled.

Gray tried returning the expression but suspected that it came out as a weird grimace. He turned and left the café just as the two strang­ers mounted the curb. There was no emotion on their faces, and Gray wondered if they were simply heading inside for something to eat, but that thought was quickly dispelled.

“Courtesy of the ESO,” the first one said, and launched at Gray, aiming a boot at his chest. Gray easily parried it and countered with a punch to the man’s jaw that connected with a satisfying crunch. He followed up with a left, but it glanced off his opponent’s forehead. The other man joined in, catching Gray on the side of the face with a fist that felt like a hammer, and Gray’s legs barely kept him upright. He’d never been hit so hard in his life, and wasn’t about to let it happen again. He shook his head to clear it, then spun and delivered a roundhouse kick that almost tore the second thug’s head off. The man went down, and Gray turned to face the other just in time to block a fist traveling at speed toward his face. He struck out with his open palm and caught the man in the sternum. The crack of bones echoed the pain on the man’s face.

“Sonofabitch!” he grunted, but kept coming. A vicious uppercut sent Gray staggering backward, and he fell over the café’s wooden adver­tising board and ended up in a heap on the ground. He tried getting to his feet, but kicks started flying in. One caught him in the temple, and he collapsed once more, curling into a ball to prevent damage to his major organs.

The assault stopped abruptly, and Gray heard shouting and the sound of a distant siren. He opened an eye and saw Marco chasing after one of the thugs with what looked like a meat cleaver. The two attack­ers were sprinting to the car they’d arrived in, and they managed to get inside the moving vehicle before Marco could take a swipe at them.

Gray sat up, trying to make sense of it all. A single word jumped into his head.

Melissa!

About Seek and Destroy

She got away once. They can’t let it happen again.

Eva Driscoll is on the run. She has a new identity, and the best part of $20m liberated from the CIA. Henry Langton is dead but his sinister allies are circling, and not even a presidential pardon can help Eva against an organization that operates above the White House.

With agents around the globe and no tactic off limits, Langton’s men are calling the shots. When they track down ex-CIA computer expert Farooq Naser and threaten Andrew Harvey and Tom Gray, Eva knows they will come for her next. She needs to run—and fast—but what chance does one woman have against the most powerful group in the United States, with just a few ex-spooks and a couple of mercenaries on her side?

But her pursuers should know that, even backed into a corner, Eva Driscoll is not the kind of prey to give up without a fight. But will it mean hurting those she cares for the most?

Alan McDermott

is a husband, father to beautiful twin girls, and a full-time author. Alan lives in the south of England, and in 2014 he swapped writing critical application for the NHS to penning thrillers that have gone on to sell close to a million copies.

His debut novel, Gray Justice, was well received and earned him membership of Independent Authors International. That book launched in July 2011, and by the time he’d written the follow-ups, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, it had attracted the attention of a major publisher. Alan signed with Thomas & Mercer in 2013 and has now written six novels in the Tom Gray series and a spinoff called Trojan. Alan’s eighth novel, Run and Hide, introduced a new female lead, Eva Driscoll.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page   |   Amazon Author page   |   Website   |   blog   |    Facebook    |   Twitter

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When fiction meets fact

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By Alan McDermott

Your favorite bestselling authors have noticed times when real events seem to mimic events they depicted in their fiction before. This week, Alan McDermott describes something that should give us all pause, where reality seems like a page from his spy fiction.

spy through your cell phone

Photo: Andy Rennie, Creative Commons

After I released my fifth novel, Gray Vengeance, in May 2015, I had a few reviews that suggested the idea of the security services being able to take control of just about every device in the country was a bit fanciful.  I’d created a fictitious program called Brigandicuum that allowed the US and UK governments to gain access to any device that contained a chip.  Mobile phones, TVs, laptops, computers, nothing was beyond their reach.  Not only could it intercept communications, it could recognize every keystroke and send the information to a facility where analysts would action it.  The spyware was concealed within the kernel of the device’s software and was activated when a file was placed on an NSA server.  The moment the device found the file, it was an open book.   In Gray Vengeance, MI5 used Brigandicuum to track down and neutralize a domestic terrorist cell and find the man ultimately responsible.

In response to those reviews, I was tempted to point out that the thing about fiction is, it isn’t real, but Edward Snowden beat me to it.  In an interview with the BBC in October 2015, he revealed that smartphone users can do “very little” to stop security services getting “total control” over their devices.  According to Snowden, GCHQ had the power to hack into phones without their owners’ knowledge.  While not as sophisticated and all-encompassing as Brigandicuum, GCHQ’s Smurf suite of spyware could turn phones on and off, access the microphone at any time, and track it more accurately than the well-known triangulation method.

So how exactly does GCHQ get control of your phone? “It’s called an ‘exploit,’” Snowden explains. “That’s a specially crafted message that’s texted to your number like any other text message but when it arrives at your phone it’s hidden from you. It doesn’t display. You paid for it [the phone] but whoever controls the software owns the phone.”

So next time you read a novel and think, “Yeah, right, like that could ever happen”, you have been warned.

Gray Vengeance spyingGray Vengeance

An African militia has a new leader—and Tom Gray has a deadly new problem.

Da Sunan Annabi has a ruthless new leader whose aim is to train British nationals to bring England to its knees.

As their plans unfold with deadly precision and Britain is crippled by a series of attacks, the government is forced to deploy its new secret weapon: a surveillance network that can spy on nearly every human being on earth. It is nearly foolproof—but is it ethical? And does that even matter now?

Soon, Tom Gray and his daughter are in the militia’s sights, and their lives depend on Gray finding the man behind the recent atrocities. His desperate search leads him to Africa and Cuba, for a final showdown with an enemy he could never have imagined.

Gray Vengeance, the fifth book in the action-packed Tom Gray series, leaves you breathless until the very last page.

Bestselling author Alan McDermottAlan McDermott

lives in the south of England,  and is married with beautiful twin daughters. He recently gave up his job of creating critical applications for the NHS to write action thrillers full time.

His debut novel, Gray Justice, was very well received and earned him bestseller status. The next two books in the series — Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption — were enough to attract the attention of a major publisher, and he has since added Gray RetributionGray Vengeance and Gray Salvation to the list.  Alan’s seventh title, Trojan, is a spinoff featuring MI5 agent Andrew Harvey, Trojan, was shortlisted for an ITW thriller award.

His new series will begin with Run and Hide, launching on August 22. You can read a preview on BestSelling Reads right now.

Alan can be found:

BestSelling Reads author page  |    Website  |  blog  |  Facebook    |   Twitter

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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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