Today I’m thrilled to join the blog tour for The Dead Of Winter by Billy McLaughlin. I have an exclusive extract to share with you but first, here’s what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
One missing baby! One runaway teenager! Coincidence?
Detective Kevin Wallace doesn’t think so. And neither do the residents of Golf Road, who are all too quick to point the finger at a man with severe learning disabilities. As Wallace and a colleague, who has already experienced the ugly nature of this particular community, get closer to the truth they may not like what is hidden behind closed doors.
This is a brand new mystery from the writer of ‘Lost Girl’ and ‘In the Wake of Death’. Let the chills commence.
Mary Bradley ran her brush down the canvas and smiled. The place had finally come together and she could return to doing what she loved most. The girls were settled upstairs and she could have a moment free of their constant bickering and needling. Nobody warned mothers about that part. In the early days, Mary thought her job would be done when she’d got them safely off to primary school. It could only get easier after that.
The canvas went the way of most of Mary’s work; bleak and dismal. It was how she felt. Even with this new start, distancing herself from her ex-husband, it hadn’t been the pick-me-up she had hoped for. She reserved her feelings for her paintwork though. For the rest of the world, she painted on her lipstick and a beguiling smile. It kept the gossips and the wolves from the door. Even the girls couldn’t have known just how lonely and abandoned she felt.
Mary thought of the upcoming interview. It would be the first day of the rest of her life. She would no longer be a freelance artist. Her ex-husband’s generous salary had allowed her that one luxury. His pittance of a divorce settlement had not. She would start her career all over again, working at a gallery and hoping somebody would notice how talented she was. She had played it out in her head. She would invite some of her colleagues to the house for coffee or a glass of wine. It would be a gesture for her to get to know them. They would comment on the fabulous pieces that hung in the hallway. ‘Oh, those old things,’ she would say with mock modesty, ‘I did them myself.’
She put the brush on the rim of the easel and walked towards the kitchen. The thought of wine had whetted her appetite. That had been five minutes ago, and by the time she walked to the kitchen, she preferred the idea of a hot chocolate. As she did, she eyed herself in the mirror. Her divorce had not been kind. Her auburn hair hung lankly, forming a frame around her oval face. Crow’s feet had appeared around her startling green eyes which made her feel self-conscious when she smiled. So, she tried not to smile anywhere else but with her lips. She had lost so much weight the veins throbbed from her neck down. She had even had to buy a new suit for her interview because nothing in her wardrobe fitted any more.
The kettle whistled, startling her from her daydream. Her eyelids had begun to feel heavy, but she knew the minute her head hit the pillow her mind would spring to life. Her doctor had prescribed a mild sleeping pill, which she had refused to take. She would not become one of those tragic figures addicted to pills and only getting through the day and night because they were doped to high hell. She suffered the insomnia and grabbed cat-naps wherever she could. A new job would also put a stop to that. The clattering sound of the teaspoon against the glass mug was jarring when set against the silence of the rest of the house. It was amusing to her that she longed for silence when the girls were around and when they’d gone to bed, she longed for their noise. She took a sip from the hot chocolate and felt the sweetness at the back of her throat.
She was about to switch on the radio when the silence was broken by the arrival of sirens. She looked up at the clock. It was just after nine p.m. She slammed the mug down and moved towards the lounge. Where the room had been dark for most of the evening, it was now illuminated by the flashing of blue lights. Mary reached for her chest and saw two cars, one unmarked and the other with the police logo, skid to a halt at the foot of her gate. Within seconds of them stopping, a tall man in a grey overcoat stepped out of the unmarked car. He stared at her for a mere second before turning towards a smaller uniformed man. They spoke animatedly to each other and then looked back at Mary. She was suddenly filled with a sense of foreboding. What could have happened that required such an arrival? She pressed her hand against her chest and felt her heart beat a little harder than it should. When they turned, and walked towards the house next door, Mary felt the relief wash through her like a heatwave. Her panic subsided just in time for her to watch them disappear into the house next door.
The Dead of Winter is available from 13th March and can be purchased at the following links:
About the Author
Billy McLaughlin is a Glasgow born author who released his first novelette ‘Invisible’ in March 2016. Receiving glowing customer reviews, he followed up with the gritty novel ‘Lost Girl’ which introduces readers to the mainstay characters Phil & Kate. In September 2016, his third book ‘In the Wake of Death’ was released, re-uniting audiences with Phil & Kate as well as throwing a brand new mystery that has been praised for its unique twist.
McLaughlin welcomed 2017 in celebrating that ‘Lost Girl’ peaked at number 2 in the crime thriller charts the previous August and gained the coveted number 1 slot in the Scottish crime charts with ‘In the Wake of Death’. His fourth book is released on 13 March 2017. ‘The Dead of Winter’ will appear to be a stand-alone mystery, but introduces a brand new character that is already set to make a splash in the 3rd DI Phil Morris mystery ‘The Daughter’ which is due in summer 2017.
You can also contact Mr McLaughlin directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure to stop by one of the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour. My thanks to Emma Mitchell at EDM Editorial & Publicity Services for including me in the tour and all the very best of luck to Billy with his new book.