Today I am delighted (and a little scared) to be taking part in the blog tour for Rachel’s Abbott’s latest novel, Come A Little Closer. I am not scared about being part of the tour. Reading and reviewing is the easy bit, but because I am a little mad, I’ve agreed to take part in the writing challenge.
The premise – given a prompt of a paragraph and several key items, I need to continue the story. You have no idea how hard that actually is until you try. Ask me to write 800 words as a review and I fly – try stopping me. 800 words of interesting, engaging and potentially thrilling story … well. We’ll see just how bad it is in a moment or two. First – let’s see what the book is all about …
About the Book
They will be coming soon. They come every night.
Snow is falling softly as a young woman takes her last breath.
Fifteen miles away, two women sit silently in a dark kitchen. They don’t speak, because there is nothing left to be said.
Another woman boards a plane to escape the man who is trying to steal her life. But she will have to return, sooner or later.
These strangers have one thing in common. They each made one bad choice – and now they have no choices left. Soon they won’t be strangers, they’ll be family…
When DCI Tom Douglas is called to the cold, lonely scene of a suspicious death, he is baffled. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she get there? How many more must die?
Who is controlling them, and how can they be stopped?
Come A Little Closer Writing Challenge
Gemma had been afraid of the dark for as long as she could remember. As a child, she had blamed the cold, ancient house they had lived in – its endless corridors had too many closed doors for people to hide behind, too many secrets concealed in the shadows. But now there was no excuse. Her flat was modern, open, with huge windows.
It made no difference, though. Each night of the long winter months as she stood outside the block, she imagined all the doors she would have to pass before she reached her own, wondering if the lights in the hallway would be working, or whether they would flicker and go out, leaving her blind in the inky black void. Alone with her fear.
Perhaps she had always known that this day would come. She took a deep breath and stepped into the silent entrance, her heels tapping out a warning that she was coming on the polished concrete floor of the long corridor.
It had to be tonight. She knew that. No sense in putting it off any longer. There was nothing left anymore. Nothing other than shared bills and a constantly widening chasm in a relationship she had once dreamed might be the one.
Then why had he made it so hard. Why now? Why today?
A Facebook post from Kev. A personal invitation to an ‘exclusive party’.
Party. Tonight. Our place. Eight-thirty.
As she reached the flat, she knew something was wrong. Nothing obvious, none of the tell-tale omens that she had seen in her nightmares. Just … something. A slight shift in the air to accompany the apprehension she always felt. A tingle that sent shivers down her body.
Her hand trembled as she held her key up to the lock, hesitating, the fear grabbing at her once more. She paused a moment longer before slowly pushing the door open. As she moved into the flat she could feel the hairs on her arms start to rise, sweat beading her skin. This was absolutely crazy. Home was her sanctuary. There was no reason to be scared. Not here.
The living room sat in near darkness, scant ribbons of light from outside street lamps punctuating the gloom. It was quiet. Too quiet. She was late, held up at work by yet another query from her manager, but still. Kev should be here. Eight thirty. That’s what he’d said. She could imagine the lecture she would face about her tardiness, about work being more important than he was. The same every day. One more battle proving the relationship really was over.
‘Kev? Sorry I’m late. Work stuff, you know?’
Gemma reached around to turn on the lights. Nothing. Just more darkness.
She cast her eyes around the room, making out the silhouette of the furniture. As her sight adjusted to the poor light she could feel her pulse begin to race. Ba-bam, ba-bam. Over and over. Faster and faster, sweat now pooling at the base of her spine in spite of the coolness of the night.
‘Kev? I think the fuses have tripped.’
She stepped forward, halted by the sound of glass crunching beneath her shoes. Pulling her phone from her bag she activated the torch shining it upon the tiny shards of glass scattered across the floor. Lifting it upward she shone it upon the last remaining light bulb in the fitting, the other two shattered, the evidence lying at her feet.
Gemma turned to the hallway, her fear causing her to clench her fists, her breath now coming in short sharp bursts. Beneath the bathroom door she could see light, flickering not constant. Tiny shadows dancing back and forth, drawing her instinctively towards it. Beside the door, a small tea-light illuminated the hall table, it’s flame licking the side of a small glass.
She stopped by the table, lifting the glass to sniff at the pale amber liquid, taking a small sip and grimacing. Sweet sherry. Just like her Nanna used to drink at Christmas. Why would Kev leave her a glass of sherry? It made no sense.
Gemma gave an involuntary shudder. Her anxiety was spiking, her muscles tensing making her feel old and stiff. Steeling herself she pushed the bathroom door open, bracing herself for the inevitable fight.
‘Kev. Look this really isn’t funny.’
Her eyes struggled to adjust to the dim light in the bathroom, a dozen tiny tea lights the only respite from the darkness. Even as she looked around, her mind failed to process just what she was seeing and hearing.
A faint plink, plink broke the silence, the evidence of the not quite closed tap spilling into the nearly full bathtub. The water seemed pale pink as though awash with her bath salts. Only it wasn’t bath salts that coloured the water. Oh god, that it had been.
A pool of deep crimson liquid coloured the floor, drawing Gemma’s gaze, an errant arc darkening the once white tiles, trails dripping down, down, down.
She was frozen in time, unable to move. Unable to think.
She almost missed the whisper of breath which glanced her neck, the faint odour of decay which accompanied it. Hardly felt the soft touch of the gloved hand as it slid around her throat, squeezing and constricting until she could scarcely breathe never mind scream. Barely heard the swoosh of the bathroom door as it closed behind them and the click as the latch caught.
‘Welcome home, Gemma.’
A whispered voice, cold and harsh but one she knew to be unforgiving. This was it. The thing she had always feared.
The secret behind the doors.
The terror in her darkness.
‘So, my dear. Are you ready to party?’
Gah! Yes, well. Sorry about that. Still, at least I can guarantee that if you read Come A Little Closer you will be in for a real treat. Book seven(!) in the Tom Douglas series, this is a really creepy and unnerving story which will make you think long and hard about just who you can lay your trust in.
Come a Little Closer is a really intriguing tale which separates into several parts or stories. As typifies this series, while this is a DCI Douglas investigation, Tom does not really take centre stage until much later in the story. Instead we hear two different voices, young woman, Sharon, who agrees to a secret assignation with a stranger in a bar that she may live (or not) to regret, and an, as yet, unidentified voice of another woman, one who seems to be held in very suspect circumstances. The exact nature of her status is yet to be discovered, but as we move through the book we learn more and the very nature of what is happening becomes clear.
The largest part of this book is given to a woman known as Judith. Judith is in a troubling and abusive relationship, one which despite a long trip in her Grandfather’s honour, she is unable to break free from. Befriended on her travels, as her world crashes all around her, she thinks she has found the perfect way out. But, as is always the way, things are not as they seem and it seems Judith has stepped out of the frying pan and into the fire.
As for Tom, he is faced with investigating the mysterious death of an unidentified young woman. It looks like it should be simple to resolve and yet nothing about the case is simple and when another young woman goes missing and a face from his past arrives on the scene, life for Tom suddenly becomes very complicated.
I love the way in which Rachel Abbott skilfully weaves all these stories together. Although I think Judith’s story was leaning towards the inevitable, the full extent of what she finds herself caught up in will definitely surprise and perhaps shock the reader. While I was very suspicious of the motives of certain characters, I certainly didn’t see the end coming. Not at all. Judith frustrated the hell out of me at times. Even as a victim of what can only be termed domestic abuse, I can’t believe she could be so naive. One of those moments when you want to grab a character by the shoulders and give them a darned good shake. You know the ones.
I loved seeing more of the development of Tom’s personal life. After the hitch he suffered in his love life with Leo, it’s good to think he may finally have found the person he can really settle with. However, things can’t be that simple and the complications he faces in his private life are setting us up for more bumps in the road later on I think. I have to be honest, I really do like Tom Douglas. Ever since I read The Back Road he has been one of those characters who stick in my mind. He’s the kind of person you can trust to have your back and someone you are more than happy to go on the adventure/investigation with.
Come A Little Closer isn’t particularly fast paced, although there are many moments which will have you holding your breath, and more than one which made the skin crawl. Just thinking of one now is making me shudder a little. Gah. Nothing is taken too far, no gratuitous violence or scenarios to shock, but still enough to compel you to read on. and hook you into the action. Touching on subjects of abuse, false imprisonment, drugs and the dark side of manipulation, there are plenty of mysteries to be solved and fans of the series will be desperate to see if Tom’s love life will ever come good.
A great addition to the series and with the way Tom’s story was set up, and with Becky about to go on maternity leave, leaving him without that extra layer of support and protection he relies upon, I can’t wait to see what is in store for our hero next time.
My thanks to Rachel Abbott and Maura Wilding for the advance copy of Come A Little Closer for review, and for inviting me to be a part of the tour. Sorry to you all for my writing lol.
Come A Little Closer is available now from the following links:
About the Author
Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again and The Sixth Window. Her most recent novel, Come a Little Closer, is available from February 2018.
Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages and her books have sold over 2.8 million copies in the English language.
In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed #14 in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.
Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel’s website, or follow her on Twitter.
Make sure to check out some of the other fab blogs taking part in the tour for more great reviews and features.