Published by Penguin (14 June 2018)
Available in ebook and paperback
It’s always an honour to open a blog tour, especially on publication day and congratulations to Howard Linskey for publication TODAY of The Chosen Ones. This looks a superb read and is definitely on my wishlist. For my turn today, I have an extract to share. My thanks to Sriya at Penguin for the tour invitation.
When Eva woke, imprisoned in a large metal box, the one thing that terrified her more than the prospect of her cap- tor returning was the thought that he might not. Then she would be trapped here for good, or at least until she ran out of the things she needed most: food, water, air.
Oh my God, how long would that take? She didn’t want to die like this. She didn’t want to die at all. She had to stifle the over- whelming feeling of panic and face the reality of her situation. As her eyes became accustomed to the gloom she realized she was in a container of some sort, with thick corrugated- metal sides, floor and roof. She felt dizzy and tried to focus on her surroundings so she could clear her head and begin to understand what might have happened to her.
She was lying on a cheap camp bed with no memory of how she had got there. The only light came from a single battery-operated lamp set upon a packing case that acted as a makeshift bedside table. She felt incredibly weak and had a splitting headache which added to her conviction that she must have been drugged somehow. Had some- one put something in her drink, or did something happen after she had left the pub? She couldn’t remember.
How had she got here? Who had trapped her in this airless metal prison, no bigger than her bedroom at home?
Then there were the unfamiliar clothes. She hadn’t been wearing them before. Her dress was gone. In its place there was a thick, dark-blue sweatshirt that was a little too big for her, its cuffs riding down over her hands, and a pair of loose tracksuit bottoms. Eva didn’t remember removing her dress voluntarily, or putting these other items on. Someone had stripped her then dressed her, but she must have been unconscious while it happened. She was still wearing the same underwear, minus her bra. The thought made her feel physically sick.
In her fear, Eva’s hand gripped the side of the bed. The mattress sagged in the middle where it had once been folded for storage. It smelt new, as if it had been bought with her in mind – that was another chilling realization.
The metal box was a rectangular shape and around twenty feet long and eight wide, with a door in the far wall. There was barely enough room to stand up. Eva tried to do just that but rose too quickly and her legs immediately buckled and she fell back on to the side of the bed, slipped off and landed heavily on the cold, hard floor. She managed to crawl towards the door, fighting the effects of the drug she was sure she must have been given. Once there, she struggled to pull herself to her feet. When she was finally upright, she tugged on the door then pushed at it. Even in her weakened state, she could tell it was stuck fast, locked from the outside.
She returned to the bed, feeling as if her legs were about to give way again at any moment, and allowed her- self to fall back on to it. Then she tried hard to remember what had happened to her, and fragments of the previous evening slowly came back to her.
She had been in the pub with the girls. She didn’t think she had been all that drunk. Eva had a flash of recollection: the girls laughing together about something someone had said, then, later, they were leaving, some on to a club, but Eva couldn’t go with them because she was meant to be at work the next day. Would her colleagues at the gym have missed her and reported her missing, or would they just have assumed she had overslept or felt ill? Was anyone looking for her?
She recalled almost falling over in the street outside the pub because one of her heels broke suddenly, and that she had to go barefoot, making her way gingerly along the pavement.
What had happened after that? Her memory of the evening seemed to end with her standing alone in a street down by the quayside. She recalled walking away from a taxi rank because the queue was absurdly long; it could take an hour to reach the front. She’d been put off by the raised voices and the pushing in she’d witnessed, the kind of behaviour that always seemed to cause a fight. But, after she had made her decision to turn away, what then?
Rain? She had a memory of rain, hard and unrelenting, with large drops falling and drenching her. She had worn no coat that night. It had been a sudden and malicious downpour that soaked her auburn hair and drenched her dress until it clung to her. It was so heavy people were running to take shelter, but Eva was barefoot and the ground was cold, wet and slippery. She couldn’t remember anything more after that.
Had she been snatched in the street? Had she gone with someone willingly? She couldn’t imagine she would ever do that unless it was somebody she knew, but had the combination of the downpour and a couple of drinks made her careless? Would she have accepted a lift from a stranger? It seemed unlikely.
The panic began to rise again in her, along with a clawing sense of despair. Eva had almost reached breaking point when she noticed something scraped on the wall near the foot of the bed: white marks, lots of them ‒ and she thought she understood what they were.
She reached for the handle of the lamp and scrambled down to the foot of the bed, holding her face close and the lamp closer, so she could be sure. Scratched into the metal wall of the box were a large number of little white lines. Four verticals and a diagonal over them, to indicate the number five.
Someone had been keeping track of the days, somebody who had been held prisoner here before Eva. Each clump of lines represented five days, and there were many, filling a large space that ran down to the floor of the box then ending abruptly. Eva began to scream then.
Inside the box, her screams came loud and shrill and they went on and on, with a force powered by blind terror. Outside, they were muffled by the thick walls of her metal prison. No one could hear.
| About the Book |
Eva Dunbar wakes in a large metal box.
She has no idea who has taken her.
She has no way out.
She isn’t the first young woman to disappear.
And with no leads Detective Ian Bradshaw has precious little time.
When at last a body is found, the police hope the tragic discovery might at least provide a clue that will help them finally find the kidnapper.
But then they identify the body – and realise the case is more twisted than they ever imagined . . .
| Author Bio |
‘The Chosen Ones’ is the fourth book in a north-east, crime fiction series written by Howard Linskey for Penguin Random House, featuring journalists Tom Carney & Helen Norton with police detective Ian Bradshaw. The other titles in this series are ‘The Search’ ‘No Name Lane’ and ‘Behind Dead Eyes’. He is also the author of ‘Hunting the Hangman’ a historical thriller about the assassination of Nazi General Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during WW2.
His David Blake trilogy ‘The Drop’, ‘The Damage’ & ‘The Dead’ have been optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron. They are published in the UK by No Exit Press, in Germany by Droemer Knaur and in the US by Harper Collins. The Times newspaper voted ‘The Drop’ one of its Top Five Thrillers of the Year and ‘The Damage’ one of its Top Summer Reads. Both books broke into the top five Amazon Kindle chart.
‘The Search’ was featured on CBS Reality true crime TV series ‘Written In Blood’ . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRFJ0txCYvQ
Originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, he now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin