Publisher: Harper Collins
Available in ebook and paperback (12 November 2020)
ABOUT THE BOOK
French Alps, 1998
Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.
20 years later.
Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting. Someone knows what really happened that day. And somebody will pay.
An exciting new debut for anyone who loves Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, and C.L. Taylor
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part. Sadly this was one tour too many to fit in for a review but I have bought a copy of the book to read in my own time. I’ve never been skiing and I’m definitely not a fan of the snow but I really like the look of this. In the meantime I have an extract to share
The visibility is appalling. It was bad enough at the top, but once we’re over the back, the wind blasts directly into our faces. As I predicted, my two charges are barely up to the task. They both ticked boxes saying ‘confident black-run skiers’ on the forms – yeah right. It’s already clear that that isn’t true. I told them this was back country, but it isn’t really, luckily for them. I knew they wouldn’t be able to cope with anything properly hardcore. ‘Couloir Noir’, as it’s called, isn’t actually a couloir at all, it’s just a steep, narrow slope. Officially it’s off-piste, but it’s about as vanilla as off-piste can get. As long as you know where you’re going, like I do, you start at the top of the chairlift and you pop right back out at the bottom of the chairlift, no major deal. No hiking, no putting on skins. Nothing much to be alarmed about at all. But because it’s at the top of the glacier, these losers can boast about how they went ‘down a couloir off the back of the glacier’ when they get back to their pathetic little offices or university or wherever it is they go when they’re back at home, which is all they want. I know their type.
It’s no surprise to me that they don’t look like they’re enjoying it in any way. Andy has hung back a bit, saying ‘I’ll pick up any stragglers’ and left me leading the clients. As one of them snowploughs and picks their way down, the other one bolts past me, thinking he’s something special because he can go fast, whereas in reality he’s simply out of control. It’s not big or clever, it’s downright dangerous. Andy races past me and I shout, ‘Make that guy wait! He doesn’t know where he’s going!’ but my voice disappears into the howling wind.
‘This is trickier than I expected,’ says the slower one.
He’s trying to sound confident, but I can hear a wobble in his voice. I know I should say ‘You’re doing great,’ but I can’t bring myself to do that, because, well, he isn’t. Being nice is Andy’s remit, not mine. That’s the only reason I have a business partner, I’m not that good at the being friendly bit, while Andy is. I’m just here for the mountains; as far as I’m concerned, the clients are a necessary evil. Andy does the client stuff: the showing them Mont Blanc, the boasting about how the mountains are our office, the going on about how we have the best job in the world and all that. So instead of offering the struggling skier some platitude like Andy would (or lying, if you will), I turn away and simply say: ‘Follow my trail. Stay close.’
We catch up with the other guy, who has mercifully had the sense to wait, but after a brief chat about the importance of skiing within your limits I set off again, faster than I would normally like to in these conditions, to make sure I stay ahead of him. He is not going to out-ski me – I am clearly the better skier here by a mile, as well as being in charge. They should be behind me, following my trail, like I told them. Why would they book me if they’re not going to do as they’re told?
Totally unhelpfully, Andy has disappeared again, who knows how far down the slope. I make a few more turns, faster this time to make sure the clients can’t overtake me again, and then look back to see where they are.
And by the time I do that, they’ve both disappeared.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines, specialising in travel. Most recently she has written several ski pieces for the Guardian and is currently compiling a 50 best family holidays round up for the Telegraph. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives in France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier.