Hello, Book Dragons! Today I would like to welcome you all on my stop of the Blog Tour for Ash Mountain By Helen FitzGerald and I would like to share an exclusive extract, with all of you. Thank you very much to Anne from Random Things Tours for the invitation. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: General Fiction / LGBT
Release date: 14 05 2020
Price*: Kindle £3.39 (GBP)/ Paperback £7.91 (GBP)
Pages: ~ 210
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: Single-mother Fran returns to her sleepy hometown to care for her dying father when a devastating bush fire breaks out. A devastating, disaster-noir thriller from the author of The Cry.
Fran hates Ash Mountain, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.
She returns to her hometown to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.
As old friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…
Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…
‘There has been chain migration since the Irish, you know,’ said Fran. They’d just passed the Monument Reserve and were now taking in Shitboxville, home to the never-seen commuters.
‘Do you know anyone who lives in there?’ Gramps hated commuters, they got their prescriptions in Melbourne at lunchtime and their groceries trucked in from Green Creek.
‘True, they don’t count,’ said Fran. ‘Guess again.’ They drove past the Ash Mountain sign and onto the dirt track.
To the left was the dilapidated farmer’s cottage that Dante had rented since his glorious return from overseas. There were numerous rusty vehicles and some old furniture in the front yard. Out back was a rickety corrugated iron water tank, which was open at the top and held up by metal stilts.
‘Hey, Dad!’ Fran waved at their brown brick house to the right. Her real-life dad was with Vincent and Nurse Jen in the living room, his wheelchair facing the thin slice of yellow garden in front of the veranda. Every beaten, grassless foot of the rest of the property was allocated to the two elderly ostriches, still running in order to attract, activities that did not naturally fit together for Fran.
She parked just past the drive to take a look, turning her dad’s monitor so he could too. The dominant female, Dame Miriam McDonald, was dashing from one end of the enclosure to the other at about seventy miles an hour. Ronnie Corbett was trying to keep up.
‘Day two and he’s done in,’ said on-screen Gramps.
‘Poor Ronnie Corbett.’ The light-coloured male ostrich finally stalled and collapsed, and the larger black female pranced off and shrugged with contempt. ‘Like getting
dumped on The Love House, isn’t it?’
‘Except these birds are wearing more clothing!’ said Gramps.
The track was becoming beaten. Just five hundred metres from home and it felt like proper bush, except for the architect-designed two-storey number nestled among the trees: McBean House, owned by Maz and Ciara, who had air-conditioning and a pool and were not afraid to use them. Whenever it was forty plus, it was open house at theirs.
‘Hey, why have we gone past our place?’ Vonny had only just looked up from her phone.
‘Dropping Dad’s chainsaw at the Ryans’. Won’t be long.’
Vonny slumped in her seat. Everything not on-screen was so annoying. ‘Was it the lesbians?’ she asked, checking out Maz and Ciara’s.
Fran thought they’d abandoned the chain migration convo. ‘Unfortunately, no,’ she said. Ash Mountain was unnerved by the kind of joy Maz and Ciara shoved in their
faces – theatre trips and open houses! – which is why there’d been a for-sale sign in their garden for eighteen months. ‘Nup,’ she said, ‘this chain migration started in 1901, which is when…’
‘Federation,’ Vonny, messaging her friends at the same time, said. ‘History-lesson time: gonna kill my mother.’
‘Yeah, but that’s not it.’ Fran always used to get a little carsick on this track. She opened the window in case. ‘In 1901 the brothers came to Ash Mountain.’ This was a new theory for Fran, but she thought it a goody – that before the internet, the colleges were like niche sites on the deep web, bringing people together from every which way, a community of individuals with one thing in common: boys
age eleven to sixteen. ‘And that caused the one chain migration that has thrived since the Irish.’ She reached the end of the tree-lined driveway and parked by the bean garden. ‘Perverts,’ she said, popping the boot and turning to Vonny. ‘So just take it in for me, hey?’
‘What? Me? No way. In there?’
The Victorian weatherboard farmhouse was in need of a paint, and the wrap-round veranda could do with some repair, but it was still the prettiest place Fran had ever seen. ‘Knock on the door, give it to whoever answers, and we’re outta here.’
‘What if a sexual pervert answers?’
‘Jeez, okay, we’ll both go in. And out. In and out.’ She switched off the engine and said to Gramps: ‘Won’t be long,’ but he’d turned his video off, probably when she started talking about the brothers. She took a breath and got out of the car. It was time to face Brian Ryan Junior again.
About the author: Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.
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