Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Before She Falls - Extract



PROLOGUE

SEPTEMBER
Depending  on  the  tides,  Louise  Griffiths  either  walked  the  beach 
or  up  along  the  cliff  path  at  least  twice  a  week,  rain  or  shine.  She 
always  parked  in  the  Dunraven  Bay  car  park  and  dressed  accordingly. 

Today,  the  tide  was  in  and  so  the  beach  was  out  of  bounds. 
It  was  late  September,  the  day  cold  and  blustery,  and  Louise  wore 
an  anorak,  hat  and  gloves.  Toby,  her  energetic  cocker,  preferred 
the  beach  because  the  cliff  top  meant  he’d  have  to  stay  on  a  lead. 
Louise  had  read  lots  of  horror  stories  about  dogs  chasing  birds  and 
jumping  off  viaducts  and  mountainsides  in  pursuit.  Southerndown 
Cliff  was  two  hundred  and  ten  feet  high  when  you  reached  the  top. 
It  wasn’t  worth  the  risk.  Toby  would  just  have  to  wait  until  they 
reached  the  other  side  and  the  river  mouth  to  run  amok.

Unlike  Toby,  Louise  preferred  the  cliff  path.  Though  it  flanked 
the  Bristol  Channel,  this  far  around  it  was  an  almost  west-facing 
coastline  and  open  to  the  Atlantic.  It  made  for  a  bracing  stroll, 
and  more  often  than  not,  Louise  would  stand  at  the  very  top 
and  wonder  at  the  view.  To  the  south,  she’d  look  out  across  the 
channel  towards  England.  Below,  at  the  bottom  of  the  cliff,  was 
the  beach,  though  the  rocky  limestone  shelf  and  the  lack  of  sand 
barely  qualified.  Still,  it  made  for  a  spectacular  landscape  that 
went  a  long  way  towards  explaining  why  this  spot  was  such  a 
popular  location.
The  sharp  easterly  whipped  up  the  surf  and  Louise  took  a 
handkerchief  to  her  running  nose  before  turning  back  towards  the 
path  to  continue  her  walk,  through  the  second  car  park  at  the  top 
of  the  rise  and  out  on  to  open  common.

There  was  someone  else  approaching  on  the  path  and  Toby 
looked  up,  his  tail  already  in  overdrive,  ready  to  greet  a  fellow 
walker.  A  smile  formed  automatically  on  Louise’s  lips  and  her  brain 
formulated  a  greeting:  a  mutual  appreciation  of  nature  and  the 
weather  that  had  become  her  standard  gambit  over  the  years.  But 
it  froze  halfway  as  the  girl  came  closer.  No,  strode closer,  because 
there  was  a  determination  about  this  walker  that,  as  she  neared, 
seemed  out  of  place.  She  would  have  seen  Louise.  There  was  no 
way  of  avoiding  that,  but  there  was  no  happy  reciprocal  smile  on 
her  face.  As  she  neared,  the  girl  put  her  hand  up  to  her  forehead 
and  kept  her  face  lowered  so  as  not  to  make  eye  contact.

Louise  was  no  psychiatrist,  but  she’d  taught  at  a  local  comprehensive 
for  almost  fifteen  years,  so  she  knew  when  things,  with 
girls  especially,  were  wrong.

‘Are  you  OK?’  Louise  asked.

The  query  triggered  a  reaction.  The  girl  looked  up  briefly.  Louise 
flinched  and  felt  something,  a  mixture  of  shock  and  alarm,  ripple 
through  her.  It  wasn’t  only  the  girl’s  lost,  hopeless  expression  but 
the  large  mark  on  her  face  that  made  Louise  start.  A  dark  stain  like 
the  curved  rays  of  a  black  sun,  obtrusive  and  obvious,  designed  to 
startle.  The  exchange  of  looks  lasted  the  briefest  of  seconds  before 
the  girl  passed  by  on  a  spur  that  left  the  main  path  and  headed 
towards  another  viewpoint.

‘Hello,’  said  Louise  to  the  girl’s  back,  her  voice  taut  and  urgent.

But  the  girl  took  no  notice.  She  walked  on  to  where  the  land 
began  to  fall  away,  where  earth  started  to  crumble.

‘Hello?’  Louise  said  again,  but  she  got  no  further.

The  girl  hesitated,  half  turned  and  let  out  one  shuddering  sob 
before  swinging  back  to  face  the  sea  and,  without  warning,  running 
towards  the  edge  of  the  cliff  where  she  dropped,  like  a  stone,  into 
the  void.

Something  imploded  inside  Louise  and  she  fell  to  her  knees. 
Toby  barked,  unnerved  by  the  strange  emotions  he  sensed,  but  his 
voice  was  drowned  out  by  another’s.

Louise’s  anguished  wail  was  lost  amidst  the  sound  of  the  gulls 
and  carried  off  by  the  wind  into  an  uncaring  sky.


Author Bio

Dylan Young grew up in a mining village in South Wales before boarding a train for university in London. A career in the NHS followed, but the urge to write never went away. Three dark psychological thrillers for Random House emerged in the late nineties, two of which were made into BBC films. Over the last decade, under different pseudonyms, he’s written children’s books and an adult contemporary fantasy series. But his liking for crime (writing) never died. Book 1 in the Detective Anne Gwynne crime thriller series, The Silent Girls, and Book 2, Blood Runs Cold, are available now.



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About The Book

Kimberley was a beautiful young girl with the world at her feet.
Before she fell.
Before she was gone.

When Kimberley Williams jumps off Southerndown Cliff, her family and the close-knit community are shocked. What would make her take her own life when she had so much of it left to live?

Detective Anna Gwynne is assigned to the case after it becomes clear that someone made Kimberley jump. Someone had been sending Kimberley messages, saying they would tell everyone her secret…

Then Anna realises there are others, all being sent the same messages, all with their lives at risk. To find the truth she will have to confront her own past, the lies she’s told about her childhood and the demons hidden there…

Can she save these innocent lives?

What is the secret they’re all dying for?

An absolutely gripping thriller that will hook you from beginning to end. If you love Val McDermid, Angela Marsons and Robert Dugoni, you won’t be able to put down Before She Falls.

Purchase Links







Thank you to Noelle from Bookouture for inviting me to take part on this blog tour.
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