Head of Zeus
ebook & hardback: 9th Feb 2017 | paperback 7 September 2017
| About the book |
Five years ago, Rosa walked to the pier in the dead of night, looked into the swirling water, and jumped. She was a brilliant Cambridge student who had just lost her father. Her death was tragic, but not unexpected.
Was that what really happened?
The coroner says it was suicide. But Rosa’s boyfriend Jar can’t let go. He sees Rosa everywhere – a face on the train, a figure on the cliff. He is obsessed with proving that she is still alive. And then he gets an email.
Find me, Jar. Find me, before they do…
He’s learnt over the years that paranoia is a corrosive disease, eating away like acid at the edges of his rational mind, but he allows himself one certainty this evening: his at wasn’t visited by burglars. The chaos was too choreographed, too methodical for crackheads. In recent days he has had the feeling of being watched, followed home from work, observed from coffee shops, a sensation that he has so far managed to dismiss. Tonight changes everything.
He unbolts the locked side door of the garage and stepsinside, turning on the fluorescent strip light. His actions feel more valid now. He isn’t expecting this place to have been burgled too, but it’s still a relief to nd it exactly as he left it yesterday. He sits down at the computer, switching it on as he looks around the small, cold space. Rosa always feels closer here.
Three nautical charts of the north Norfolk coastline, taped together, dominate one breeze-block wall. Red-marker-pen arrows have been drawn on to the charts, indicating the direction of currents; beaches as far west as Burnham Deepdale and Hunstanton have been circled. Next to the charts is an Ordnance Survey map of Cromer. Green-coloured pen lines lead out to photographs and CCTV stills neatly stuck to an adjacent pinboard.
The wall behind the computer table is a patchwork of photographs. On the left-hand side are images of Rosa from university. On the right are unconfirmed sightings since her death, some of them crossed out. He didn’t take a photo at Paddington of the woman he thought was Rosa. Instead, he sticks a photo of the station on the wall, draws a question mark next to it with a red marker pen and adds the date.
He keeps everything to do with her here, in an effort to preserve some sort of normality in the rest of his life. The end- less Freedom of Information requests to St Matthew’s (her college), the police, the hospital, as well as his correspondence with the coroner (exempt from FoI). There’s the more personal, too: a Margaret Howell nightshirt (bought by her aunt when she got into Cambridge), her favourite perfume (scent she’d found in the spice market in Istanbul), one of the funny cards she’d slipped under his college door.
When people visit the flat, they think he’s moved on with his life. He likes that, wants people to believe he’s over her. No one need know that it’s here in this draughty lock-up that he feels most alive, surrounded by images of the woman he loved more than he thought it was possible to love another human being. If someone walked in on him now, they would mistake him for a stalker. In some ways that’s what he is, except the woman he is hunting is meant to have died five years ago, jumping to her death on a wild night in Cromer, 130 miles away on the north Norfolk coast.
| About the author |
Author Jon Stock, now writing as J.S. Monroe, read English at Cambridge University, worked as a freelance journalist in London and was a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4. He was also a foreign correspondent in Delhi for the Daily Telegraph and was on its staff in London as Weekend editor.
He left Telegraph in 2010 to finish writing his acclaimed Daniel Marchant spy trilogy and returned in 2013 to oversee the paper’s digital books channel. He became a fulltime author in 2015, writing as J.S. Monroe.
His first novel, ‘The Riot Act’ was shortlisted by the Crime Writers’ Association for its best first novel award. The film rights for ‘Dead Spy Running’, his third novel, were bought by Warner Bros, who hired Oscar-winner Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) to write the screenplay. It is currently in development.
He is the author of five novels and lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife, a photographer, and their three children.