Hello, Book Dragons! The new WordPress is here and I really don’t like using it. 😦 But I think practice makes it perfect… How about you? Did you get it? Do you like it? Today I would like to welcome you all on my stop of the Blog Tour for The Big Chill By Doug Johnstone and I would like to share an exclusice 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: Psychological Thriller
Release date: 20 08 2020
Price*: Kindle £3.79 (GBP)/ Paperback £7.49 (GBP)
Kindle $6.15 (USD)/ Paperback $15.95 (USD)
Pages: ~ 300
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: Haunted by their past, the Skelf women are hoping for a quieter life. But running both a funeral directors’ and a private investigation business means trouble is never far away, and when a car crashes into the open grave at a funeral that matriarch Dorothy is conducting, she can’t help looking into the dead driver’s shadowy life.
While Dorothy uncovers a dark truth at the heart of Edinburgh society, her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah have their own struggles. Jenny’s ex-husband Craig is making plans that could shatter the Skelf women’s lives, and the increasingly obsessive Hannah has formed a friendship with an elderly professor that is fast turning deadly.
But something even more sinister emerges when a drumming student of Dorothy’s disappears and suspicion falls on her parents. The Skelf women find themselves sucked into an unbearable darkness but could the real threat be to themselves?
Following three women as they deal with the dead, help the living and find out who they are in the process, The Big Chill follows A Dark Matter, book one in the Skelfs series, which reboots the classic PI novel while asking the big existential questions, all with a big dose of pitch-black humour.
She stared at her laptop screen. She’d got the title, ‘Melanie Cheng Memorial’, and the cursor blinked at her from the next line. Anxiety swelled from her belly to her chest, and she breathed deeply and looked out of the window.
The view was out to the back of the flats, a patchwork of small lawns, a cluster of birch trees, and thirty other living-room and bedroom windows. She was reminded of that Hitchcock film Gran liked, imagined seeing a murder across the road. But all she could see was an old man bent over a stove, a young couple building Lego with their son, students staring at phones, their faces lit like figures in a Renaissance painting. Everyone getting on with life, the little disappointments and triumphs, the small gestures of comfort or annoyance, the incremental moments of time that accumulated into experience.
She felt stuck in comparison. For her, those moments weren’t accumulating, they were slipping away, one flash of panic to the next, one depressive slump bleeding into another, the constant anxiety. And this blank page in front of her wasn’t helping.
‘You don’t have to do it.’
Hannah turned to see Indy in the doorway, her face a balance of love and worry. Hannah felt her own twinges of love and worry. She was sick of feeling shit because of what happened, and Indy had been so supportive through everything. But it was crap that she had to be supportive, that Hannah needed nursing, when all she wanted to do was throw Indy onto the bed and kiss her, or go to the park and have a picnic, or sit in a café over brunch and taste each other’s food.
‘I do,’ Hannah said, looking at the screen.
Indy came over and placed her hands on Hannah’s shoulders. ‘It’s too much stress.’
‘I want to do it. We’re supposed to celebrate Mel’s life and we were her best friends.’ Hannah put a hand on Indy’s. ‘How do you do it, how do you cope?’
‘You know it’s different. With me it’s just grief, with you it’s more complicated because of your dad.’
Hannah had done the reading, on top of the grief there was guilt that her dad had killed Mel. And survivor guilt too, that she was alive when her friend wasn’t. She was to blame, of course, because if she had never been friends with Mel then Craig wouldn’t have met her. But how far back do you go with cause and effect? She preferred the quantum world, where cause and effect were looser, time didn’t run at the same rate, where her friend was still alive and nursing her new baby.
Indy leaned down and kissed Hannah, and she felt a shiver. She was glad she still got that, despite everything, that she was still turned on by her girlfriend.
She pulled away eventually.
Indy pointed at the laptop. ‘Just speak from the heart. What- ever you say will be great.’
It’d taken six months for the physics department to get around to this memorial for Mel, and Hannah was surprised they’d done it at all. It was complicated by departmental politics for a start. If they did a memorial for Mel, did they need one for Peter too? Hannah presumed they didn’t want to go there, given he was having an affair with one of his students, was thrown out by his wife, suspended by the department, then hanged himself. That’s the kind of thing that gives a physics department a bad name.
But one of the elderly professors, Hugh Fowler, insisted that Melanie’s life should be honoured by the department. Hugh was that peculiar creature of science departments, a doddering old guy who’d spent his life in academia, a kindly geriatric who never seemed to work but never retired either.
Hugh had contacted Hannah after a tutorial one day and asked if she would come into the office. He wanted a memorial for Mel, would she speak at it? So here she was the night before, staring at a blank screen. And it was worse because Mel’s family was coming down to Kings Buildings tomorrow. Hannah didn’t need that pressure on top of everything else.
Her phone rang. It was a mobile number, not in her contacts. No one ever called her except Mum and Gran. Probably just some marketing thing, but something made her curious and she pressed reply.
‘Please don’t hang up.’
Blood rushed to her face and she couldn’t breathe. She struggled to swallow as panic snaked up her throat and into her mouth.
About the author: Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions, and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.
Website: dougjohnstone.com. / Twitter @doug_johnstone
*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.