Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Tattoo Thief by @AlisonBelsham #CrimeFiction #Suspense @TrapezeBooks

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Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham
Synopsis:

A policeman on his first murder case
A tattoo artist with a deadly secret
And a twisted serial killer sharpening his blades to kill again…

When Brighton tattoo artist Marni Mullins discovers a flayed body, newly-promoted DI Francis Sullivan needs her help. There’s a serial killer at large, slicing tattoos from his victims’ bodies while they’re still alive. Marni knows the tattooing world like the back of her hand, but has her own reasons to distrust the police. So when she identifies the killer’s next target, will she tell Sullivan or go after the Tattoo Thief alone?

Extract:

I peel away the blood-soaked T-shirt from the unconscious man’s back to reveal a spectacular tattoo. The photocopy I take from my pocket is crumpled but it’s good enough for me to check against the image on his skin. Thankfully, there’s just enough light from the street lamp to see that the two designs look the same. A round Polynesian tattoo in heavy black ink adorns the man’s left shoulder, an intricate tribal face scowling from its centre. Spreading out from the edges is a pair of stylised wings, one extending down the man’s shoulder blade, the other extending across the left side of his chest. All of it is speckled with blood.

The images match. I have the right man.

There’s still a pulse in his neck, but it’s faint enough to reassure me that he won’t cause any problems. It’s essential to do the job while his body’s still warm. If the corpse cools, the skin stiffens and the flesh becomes rigid. That makes the job harder and I can’t afford mistakes. Of course, flaying the skin off a living body means so much more blood. But I don’t mind blood.

My backpack is lying nearby, discarded as I pulled him into the bushes. It was easy enough – the small park was deserted at this hour. It only took one blow to the back of his head and he crumpled at the knees. No noise. No commotion. No witnesses. I knew this was the route he’d take when he left the nightclub because I’d watched him take it before. People are so stupid. He suspected nothing, even as I walked towards him with a wrench in my fist. Seconds later, his blood was spreading across the ground from a wound at the temple. The first step executed most satisfactorily.

Once he was down, I hooked my hands underneath his armpits and dragged him as quickly as I could across the stone paving. I wanted the cover of the shrubs so we wouldn’t be seen. He’s heavy but I’m strong, and I was able to pull him through a gap between two laurel bushes.

The exertion has left me breathless. I hold out my hands, palms down. I see the ghost of a tremor. Clench fists, then open again. Both hands flutter like moths, just as my heart flutters against my ribs. I curse under my breath. A steady right hand is essential to carry out my assignment. The solution’s in a side pocket of my backpack. A packet of tablets, a small bottle of water. Propranolol – the snooker player’s beta-blocker of choice. I swallow two and close my eyes, waiting for them to take effect. At the next check, the tremor is gone. Now I’m ready to begin.

Taking a deep breath, I reach into the bag and feel for my knife roll. Satisfaction floods through me as my fingers touch the soft leather, the steel outlined beneath. I sharpened the blades with great care last night. Intuition, you might say, that today would be the day.

I drop the roll onto the man’s back and untie the cords. The leather unfurls with a soft clink of metal, the blades cold beneath my fingertips. I select the short-handled knife that I’ll use for the first cuts, marking the outline of the skin to be removed. After that, for the flaying itself, I’ll use a longer, backward-curving knife. I buy them from Japan and they cost a small fortune. But it’s worth it.

They’re fashioned using the same techniques employed for Samurai swords. Tempered steel enables me to cut with speed and precision, as if I’m carving shapes out of butter.

I put the rest of the knives on the ground next to his body and check his pulse again. Fainter than before but he’s still alive. Blood seeps from his head, more slowly now. Time for a quick, deep test cut into his left thigh. There’s no flinch or intake of breath. Just a steady oozing of dark, slippery blood. Good. I can’t afford for him to move while I’m cutting.

The moment has arrived. With one hand holding the skin taut, I make the first incision. I draw the blade swiftly down from the top of his shoulder across the jutting angles of his scapula, following the outline of the design. A red ribbon appears in the wake of my blade, warm as it runs down onto my fingers. I hold my breath as the knife carves its path, savouring the shiver that rolls up my spine and the hot rush of blood to my groin.

The man will be dead by the time I finish.

He isn’t the first. And he won’t be the last.

AB
Alison Belsham
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***Sorry my post is a day later than scheduled***

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract & #Giveaway (UK & IRL only) An Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carre @PenguinClassics @lecarre_news

John le Carre - Blog Tour Card
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The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carre – #2 in the Karla trilogy
Review to follow – Currently reading
Synopsis:

It is a beleaguered and betrayed Secret Service that has been put in the care of George Smiley. A mole has been uncovered at the organisation’s highest levels – and its agents across the world put in grave danger. But untangling the traitor’s web gives Smiley a chance to attack his Russian counterpart, Karla. And part-time spy Jerry Westerby is the weapon at Smiley’s disposal.

The Honourable Schoolboy is remarkable and thrilling, one of three books (together with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley’s People) to feature the legendary clash between Smiley and Karla, two brilliant spymasters on opposite sides of the Cold War.

Extract:

Perhaps a more realistic point of departure is a certain typhoon Saturday in mid-1974, three o’clock in the afternoon, when Hong Kong lay battened down waiting for the next onslaught. In the bar of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a score of journalists, mainly from former British colonies – Australian, Canadian, American – fooled and drank in a mood of violent idleness, a chorus without a hero. Thirteen floors below them, the old trams and double deckers were caked in the mudbrown sweat of building dust and smuts from the chimneystacks in Kowloon. The tiny ponds outside the highrise hotels prickled with slow, subversive rain. And in the men’s room, which provided the Club’s best view of the harbour, young Luke the Californian was ducking his face into the handbasin, washing the blood from his mouth. Luke was a wayward, gangling tennis player, an old man of twenty-seven who until the American pullout had been the star turn in his magazine’s Saigon stable of war reporters. When you knew he played tennis it was hard to think of him doing anything else, even drinking. You imagined him at the net, un-coiling and smashing everything to kingdom come; or serving aces between double faults. His mind, as he sucked and spat, was fragmented by drink and mild concussion– Luke would probably have used the war-word ‘fragged’ – into several lucid parts. One part was occupied with a Wanchai bar girl called Ella for whose sake he had punched the pig policeman on the jaw and suffered the inevitable consequences: with the minimum necessary force, the said Superintendent Rockhurst, known otherwise as the Rocker, who was this minute relaxing in a corner of the bar after his exertions, had knocked him cold and kicked him smartly in the ribs. Another part of his mind was on something his Chinese landlord had said to him this morning when he called to complain of the noise of Luke’s gramophone, and had stayed to drink a beer.

John Le Carre – Information:

On 27 September Penguin Modern Classics will have published the entire works of John Le Carré, making him the living author with the greatest body of work to be awarded classic status.

John Le Carré is one of the greatest and most popular writers of our time. His writing has come to define the age, from his extraordinary Cold War novels The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, to his powerful depiction of the War on Terror in A Most Wanted Man and his most recent novel, A Legacy of Spies. New to the list will be The Little Drummer Girl – a thrilling story of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of the Middle East conflict. This compelling novel will be the subject of a major six-part BBC adaptation this October starring Alexander Skarsgård and Florence Pugh, from the producers of the award-winning BBC drama The Night Manager.

JLC
John Le Carre
Website

Giveaway:

To be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of An Honourable Schoolboy, Simply A) comment on this blog post
B) RT the pinned Tweet @annebonnybook
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The giveaway will run until Monday morning and is open to UK & IRL only
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract #JoNesboMacbeth #ScandiNoir #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @HarvillSecker @DeadGoodBooks

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Macbeth by Jo Nesbo
Review to follow
Synopsis:

He’s the best cop they’ve got.

When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess.

He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past.

He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach.

But a man like him won’t get to the top.

Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his.

Unless he kills for it.

Extract: From Chapter One

The shiny raindrop fell from the sky, through the darkness, towards the shivering lights of the port below. Cold gusting north-westerlies drove the raindrop over the dried- up riverbed that divided the town lengthwise and the disused railway line that divided it diagonally. The four quadrants of the town were numbered clockwise; beyond that they had no name. No name the inhabitants remembered anyway. And if you met those same inhabitants a long way from home and asked them where they came from they were likely to maintain they couldn’t remember the name of the town either.

The raindrop went from shiny to grey as it penetrated the soot and poison that lay like a constant lid of mist over the town despite the fact that in recent years the factories had closed one after the other. Despite the fact that the unemployed could no longer afford to light their stoves. In spite of the capricious but stormy wind and the incessant rain that some claimed hadn’t started to fall until the Second World War had been ended by two atom bombs a quarter of a century ago. In other words, around the time Kenneth was installed as police commissioner. From his office on the top floor of police HQ 4 Chief Commissioner Kenneth had then misruled the town with an iron fist for twenty-five years, irrespective of who the mayor was and what he was or wasn’t doing, or what the powers-that- be were saying or not saying over in Capitol, as the country’s second-largest and once most important industrial centre sank into a quagmire of corruption, bankruptcies, crime and chaos. Six months ago Chief Commissioner Kenneth had fallen from a chair in his summer house. Three weeks later, he was dead. The funeral had been paid for by the town – a council decision made long ago that Kenneth himself had incidentally engineered. After a funeral worthy of a dictator the council and mayor had brought in Duncan, a broad-browed bishop’s son and the head of Organised Crime in Capitol, as the new chief commissioner. And hope had been kindled amongst the city’s inhabitants. It had been a surprising appointment because Duncan didn’t come from the old school of politically pragmatic officers, but from the new generation of well educated police administrators who supported reforms, transparency, modernisation and the fight against corruption – which the majority of the town’s elected get-rich-quick politicians did not.

And the inhabitants’ hope that they now had an upright, honest and visionary chief commissioner who could drag the town up from the quagmire had been nourished by Duncan’s replacement of the old guard at the top with his own hand-picked officers. Young, untarnished idealists who really wanted the town to become a better place to live.

The wind carried the raindrop over District 4 West and the town’s highest point, the radio tower on top of the studio where the lone, morally indignant voice 5 of Walt Kite expressed the hope, leaving no ‘r’ unrolled, that they finally had a saviour. While Kenneth had been alive Kite had been the sole person with the courage to openly criticise the chief commissioner and accuse him of some of the crimes he had committed. This evening Kite reported that the town council would do what it could to rescind the powers that Kenneth had forced through making the police commissioner the real authority in town. Paradoxically this would mean that his successor, Duncan the good democrat, would struggle to drive through the reforms he, rightly, wanted. Kite also added that in the imminent mayoral elections it was ‘Tourtell, the sitting and therefore fattest mayor in the country, versus no one. Absolutely no one. For who can compete against the turtle, Tourtell, with his shell of folky joviality and unsullied morality, which all criticism bounces off?’

In District 4 East the raindrop passed over the Obelisk, a twenty-storey glass hotel and casino that stood up like an illuminated index finger from the brownish-black four-storey wretchedness that constituted the rest of the town. It was a contradiction to many that the less industry and more unemployment there was, the more popular it had become amongst the inhabitants to gamble away money they didn’t have at the town’s two casinos.

‘The town that stopped giving and started taking,’ Kite trilled over the radio waves. ‘First of all we abandoned industry, then the railway so that no one could get away. Then we started selling drugs to our citizens, supplying them from where they used to buy train tickets, so that we could rob them at our convenience. I would never have believed I would say I missed the profit-sucking masters of industry, but at least they worked in 6 respectable trades. Unlike the three other businesses where people can still get rich: casinos, drugs and politics.’

In District 3 the rain-laden wind swept across police HQ, Inverness Casino and streets where the rain had driven most people indoors, although some still hurried around searching or escaping. Across the central station, where trains no longer arrived and departed but which was populated by ghosts and itinerants. The ghosts of those – and their successors – who had once built this town with self-belief, a work ethic, God and their technology. The itinerants at the twenty-four hour dope market for brew; a ticket to heaven and certain hell. In District 2 the wind whistled in the chimneys of the town’s two biggest, though recently closed, factories: Graven and Estex. They had both manufactured a metal alloy, but what it consisted of not even those who had operated the furnaces could say for sure, only that the Koreans had started making the same alloy cheaper. Perhaps it was the town’s climate that made the decay visible or perhaps it was imagination; perhaps it was just the certainty of bankruptcy and ruin that made the silent, dead factories stand there like what Kite called ‘capitalism’s plundered cathedrals in a town of drop-outs and disbelief’.

The rain drifted to the south-east, across streets of smashed street lamps where jackals on the lookout huddled against walls, sheltering from the sky’s endless precipitation while their prey hurried towards light and greater safety. In a recent interview Kite had asked Chief Commissioner Duncan why the risk of being robbed was six times higher here than in Capitol, and Duncan had answered that he was glad to finally get an easy question: it was because the unemployment rate was six 7 times higher and the number of drug users ten times greater.

At the docks stood graffiti-covered containers and run-down freighters with captains who had met the port’s corrupt representatives in deserted spots and given them brown envelopes to ensure quicker entry permits and mooring slots, sums the shipping companies would log in their miscellaneous-expenses accounts swearing they would never undertake work that would lead them to this town again.

One of these ships was the MS Leningrad, a Soviet vessel losing so much rust from its hull in the rain it looked as if it was bleeding into the harbour. The raindrop fell into a cone of light from a lamp on the roof of one two-storey timber building with a storeroom, an office and a closed boxing club, continued down between the wall and a rusting hulk and landed on a bull’s horn. It followed the horn down to the motorbike helmet it was joined to, ran off the helmet down the back of a leather jacket embroidered with norse riders in Gothic letters. And to the seat of a red Indian Chief motorbike and finally into the hub of its slowly revolving rear wheel where, as it was hurled out again, it ceased to be a drop and became part of the polluted water of the town, of everything.

Behind the red motorbike followed eleven others. They passed under one of the lamps on the wall of an unilluminated two-storey port building.

The light from the lamp fell through the window of a shipping office on the first floor, onto a hand resting on a poster: ms glamis seeks galley hand. The fingers were long and slim like a concert pianist’s and the nails 8 well manicured. Even though the face was in shadow, preventing you from seeing the intense blue eyes, the resolute chin, the thin, miserly lips and nose shaped like an aggressive beak, the scar shone like a white shooting star, running diagonally from the jaw to the forehead.

‘They’re here,’ Inspector Duff said, hoping his men in the Narcotics Unit couldn’t hear the involuntary vibrato in his voice.

JN
Jo Nesbo
Website

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview & #Extract Leave No Trace by @MejiaWrites 4* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction @QuercusBooks #LeaveNoTrace

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Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Ten years after a boy and his father went missing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the boy – who is no longer a boy – walks back out of the forest. He is violent and uncommunicative. The authorities take him to Congdon Mental Institution in Duluth, on the edge of mighty Lake Superior.

There, language therapist Maya Stark is given the task of making a connection with this boy/man who came back from the dead. But their celebrity patient tries to escape and refuses to answer any questions about his father or the last ten years of his life. In many ways he is old far beyond his years; in others, still a child.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world – but at what cost to herself?

My Review:

Leave No Trace has instant appeal to readers. 10yrs ago Josiah Blackthorn and his son Lucas (10yrs) disappeared into the Minnesota boundary waters and were never seen again.
Now, Lucas is back!!!!!!!

We follow the case through the eyes of Dr Maya Stark at the Congdon psychiatric institute. Maya is no stranger to mental health herself, having experiences her own share of personal losses and in-turn ending up a patient at the institute.

Dr Mehta the senior psychiatrist assigns Maya the case, which is in some sense suspicious. As Maya is a specialist in speech therapy and the boy has since refused to speak.
After being arrested for breaking and entry, then identified he was immediately taken to the institute.
Where the staff nickname his Tarzan and regard him with fear and intrigue.

‘No one can help us – that’s why we disappeared’ – Lucas

‘He wasn’t a boy’

Maya is attacked on their first meeting and Lucas attempts an escape. What ensues is a battle of wills between the two. As they both attempt to delve further and further into each other’s background etc.

‘Damaged people recognised their own’

Lucas and Maya’s background are fully explored, and it is then that you get a sense of why these two may eventually bond. Lucas refuses to communicate with the police for fear of incriminating his father. Maya encourages him to keep a journal. Josiah has a history of alcohol abuse and violence but has no outstanding warrants.
What happened in the years they disappeared?

What makes someone abandon their modern-day life for the wilderness?

‘Would you go up to the mountain to save the person you loved most in the world? How far would I go to help them’
This is the most unusual book I’ve ever read about mental health. The personal story of the characters and the challenges they face in helping one another is captivating. 4*

MM
Mindy Mejia
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Extract:

Robert and Monica Anderson owned a camping outfitter
store in the tiny border town of Ely, Minnesota. According
to their website, they stocked Kevlar canoes, state of the art
rain gear, powdered guacamole, and anything else a Boundary Waters
voyager could dream of needing for a trek into the wilderness.
At 12:26 a.m. on October 5, long past the busy summer season
and even the smaller burst of travelers who wanted to see the fall
colors from the bow of a canoe, Monica was watching Netflix in
their apartment above the store when the sound of smashing glass
surprised her. She called 911 and crept downstairs with a utility
knife and her phone.
Expecting to find the same kids who’d vandalized a house down
the street, Monica was shocked to see a hunched figure behind the
store counter, pulling open drawers, rifling through the contents,
and shutting them again. Before she could report more than that to the 911 operator, a scream and a series of crashes cut off the rest
of the phone call.
Robert, startled awake, grabbed the hunting rifle he kept in
their bedroom closet and rushed downstairs to see a dark figure
wielding a knife. He aimed into the shadows and fired, but the cry
that followed the blast was too high, too familiar. He ran forward
as his wife’s body was shoved at him and caught her before she hit
the ground. Someone pulled the gun out of his hands and threw
it across the store to the sound of more shattering glass. Sobbing
on the floor, he cradled Monica and looked desperately around
for a phone, a weapon, anything. When the intruder tried to dart
past them, Robert lunged for his feet, tripping him. The person
responded by flipping over and kicking Robert in the head until he
lost consciousness.
The police took Robert’s statement from the hospital, hours
before his wife slipped into a coma and died. The intruder, who’d
been chased down by responding officers, had to be physically restrained
during his mugshot and fingerprinting, which eventually
revealed him to be a lost child from the missing persons list. Even
in the cryptic language of police reports, it was obvious they hadn’t
known what to do next. At nineteen, he was too old for social services
to get involved and the most they could charge him with was
B&E, attempted robbery, and assault. The Ely police transferred
him to Duluth – complaining about extensive damage to the jail
cell – and if he was anyone else the judge would have sent him to
prison for a few years, but the boy who came back from the dead
got a commitment order and a ticket to Congdon.
And now, after two weeks of silent violence and disregard for
every human around him, he’d decided to talk. To me.
I read his entire file three times. His mother, Sarah Mason, had died of a brain aneurysm when Lucas was five. Besides his father,
Josiah, his only other known relative was a maternal grandfather
currently living in an Alzheimer’s unit outside Chicago. He’d attended
a series of elementary schools around the Midwest before
his disappearance. Good grades – better than mine, like that was
a challenge. His therapy notes were less inspiring. The Congdon
psychologists had tried communicating with him a dozen
different ways: They’d showed him pictures of the Northwoods
and of his father, played music popular from the year he went
missing, demonstrated games he might have enjoyed as a child,
even played the video for all entering campers about how to leave
no trace of themselves when they journeyed into the wilderness.
I found it on YouTube, all the rules for burying fish entrails,
collecting firewood, hauling every scrap of trash back out of the
woods, and saw how ridiculous it would look to someone who’d
been a ghost for the last ten years, who had probably watched
those campers light their choking pine needle fires and dig their
shallow fish graves.
Pacing the house while Jasper snored, I wracked my brain for a connection, some pathway into Lucas Blackthorn’s head, and by dawn I’d scribbled a list of the few
things I knew for sure.
One, something or someone had driven Lucas out of the Boundary Waters.
Two, he didn’t find what he was looking for at the outfitter’s store. The police confiscated nothing from him except a few sharp rocks.
Three, he wanted to escape Congdon, and I’d bet anything he
was trying to get back to the glacial waters and shadowed forests
that called him home.

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The After Wife by @C_HunterAuthor #NewRelease @TrapezeBooks #TheAfterWife

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The After Wife by Cass Hunter
Synopsis:

When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.

She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband.
Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.

But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death.

A gift called iRachel.

Extract:

The Lab
‘One step closer,’ Rachel commanded.
Luke sighed and moved nearer. He was now standing directly
across the desk.
Rachel paused as she made a small adjustment. ‘Okay. Ready.’
‘What do you want me to do?’
‘Make eye contact, for a start.’
Luke raised his head. His eyes were deep blue and fringed with
thick, dark lashes. ‘Eye contact established. What now?’
‘I need you to be feeling a powerful emotion. Something
recognisable. So, think of something that you feel strongly about.
Don’t say what it is.’
Luke’s gaze flicked to Rachel’s and then away again. She saw
him draw a deep breath and then narrow his eyes in concentration.
He stared, with electric intensity. Rachel observed him
closely. He seemed to have forgotten to breathe. She saw his eyes
are. His pupils widened visibly, and she heard a change in his
breathing. His hands tightened into fists.
‘What do you see?’ she said.
The voice beside her was low and quiet. ‘Pupil dilation, respiration
shortened and more rapid, up to twenty breaths per
minute, heart rate increased by—’
‘Luke’s wristband is picking up his vital statistics and I can
read them on my screen,’ Rachel said impatiently. ‘Tell me what
he’s feeling. What do you sense?’

2
There was a long silence before the figure at Rachel’s side spoke
again. ‘He is focused. Not agitated, but concentrating very hard.’
‘Good,’ said Rachel. ‘Keep going.’
‘He is frowning. His temperature is steady, and I see no signs
of anger. I don’t believe I have made him angry.’
‘Not yet,’ said Luke.
‘He said “not yet” as if it were a warning, but I detect a smile.
Was that a joke?’
‘As close to a joke as you’ll ever get from Luke,’ said Rachel.
‘Is this going to take long?’ said Luke.
‘I think I have it!’ The voice was excited. ‘He is impatient because
we are taking up his time.’
‘Impatient,’ said Rachel. ‘Was that it, Luke? Was that the emotion
you were expressing?’
Luke laughed and visibly relaxed. ‘I would have said irritated.
But, yeah, impatient is close enough. Can we stop now?’
‘Don’t be a spoilsport,’ said Rachel. ‘It’s going so well. Just a
few minutes more . . .’ She checked her watch. ‘Oh no! It’s so
late. I must get away on time today – it’s our anniversary. Eighteen
years. Can you believe it?’
‘I can,’ said Luke drily.
‘Aidan’s booked us in for dinner at the Old Saxon. I was so
thrilled when he told me. You can’t get a table there for love or
money. He must have organised it months ago.’ Her smile was
wide with excitement.
‘Sounds like fun,’ said Luke. ‘Happy anniversary.’
‘Thanks.’
Rachel stood up from her chair and stretched. The last rays
of sunlight slanted in through the windows, dappling the teetering
stacks of paper on her chaotic desk. She moved over to the
window and looked out at the smooth lawns which surrounded
the laboratory building. It had been a beautiful spring day and it

3
promised to be a lovely evening. She imagined holding Aidan’s
hand across the restaurant table, sipping a cool glass of wine. She
would put work out of her mind for once and relax. Yes, there
was a tiny glitch she’d spotted in the experiment, and she’d have
liked the time to run the sequence one more time and solve it,
but not now. Now was the time to switch off .
She looked over to Luke’s side of the lab. He had crossed to
one of his workbenches and was recording some data on a clipboard
in his small, meticulous handwriting. She made fun of him
for writing things out by hand before he entered the information
into his computer, but he was insistent.
‘I like to form things manually,’ he’d say when challenged. ‘If
it doesn’t exist physically, it isn’t real to me.’
She laughed at that – she could make mountains move and galaxies
whirl with the keystrokes of her computer and that was as
real as any column of handwritten figures. But Luke was adamant.
‘I think with my hands,’ he’d repeat insistently. And he did. She had
never worked with such a fi ne mechanical engineer. If she could
conceive of something, Luke could build it. His obsessive attention
to detail equalled her own, and his creativity was boundless.
When she’d joined Telos she’d imagined she would be working
in a large team. But the organisation’s policy was to pair scientists
with complementary skills. They held excruciating meet-and greet
induction events to matchmake researchers.
Luke, who had joined at the same time as Rachel, had refused
to participate in the speed-dating event. He’d sat alone at a table,
working on his laptop, not talking to anyone. Passing behind him
on her way to get coffee, Rachel had glimpsed a 3D diagram of a
human hand. He was trying to model the motion of a finger and
thumb pinching together. But there was an error somewhere and
the movement had a judder which he couldn’t seem to remove.
Rachel could sense his frustration, but his squared shoulders and…….

CH
Cass Hunter
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