Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for this amazing sounding book with an extract from it, so read on and enjoy!
If everyone is lying, who can you trust?
The Halfway Inn is closed to customers, side-lined by a bypass and hidden deep in inhospitable countryside. One winter’s night, two women end up knocking on the door, seeking refuge as a blizzard takes hold.
But why is the landlord less than pleased to see them? And what is his elderly father trying so hard to tell them?
At the local police station PC Lissa Lloyd is holding the fort while the rest of her team share in the rare excitement of a brutal murder at an isolated farmhouse. A dangerous fugitive is on the run – but how can Lissa make a name for herself if she’s stuck at her desk? When a call comes in saying the local district nurse is missing, she jumps at the chance to investigate her disappearance.
The strangers at Halfway wait out the storm, but soon realise they might have been safer on the road. It seems not all the travellers will make it home for Christmas . . .
Extract: Arriving at the crime scene
When we get to the farmhouse at the top of the hill an ambulance is already parked at the edge of the higgledy flagstone path, doors yawning wide. Its blue light casts spectral shadows on the violet misting of early morning snow but the siren is off, the urgency passed – I realize it’s no longer a race between life and death. One of them has won.
Three other police cars have turned up, not a bad turnout since this is more than half the available workforce in peak flu and Christmas holiday time, and most of them are probably hung over. Half a dozen uniformed officers I recognize, all of them men, are rubbing their hands together and milling around on the front path, looking for someone to tell them what to do.
The strangest thing of all is the silence. It hits us as we wind down our windows; it’s as if someone has turned the volume off on a TV show. None of the usual off-colour banter is taking place, no joshing, joking, chit-chat is being exchanged. The only sound is the occasional crackle and mutter of radios and the cackle of alarmed crows in the close-knit trees rising all around us.
Light blazes from the windows of the farmhouse, illuminating it like a film set at the point when the actors are about to take their places before someone calls action. Determined to get closer, we crawl our squad car past the unhinged front gate, taking care to avoid the banked snow, pulling up around the back and slipping unchallenged up the brambly path towards the open back door.
That’s when I see it, the dog.
It’s strung up in the kitchen window, electrical wire looped from its neck to the curtain rail above. In the full light of the kitchen, through the panes of glass between us, we can see it’s a small collie, black and white, dangling full length, its legs limp, empty eyes half open.
‘What. The. Fuck?’ says Jim, half to me and half towards the two young officers already flanking the door. Jim is part of that generation that never curses in front of a lady, and it’s a mark of his shock that he doesn’t automatically apologize. Not that I care, not when I’m horribly fascinated by the string of pinkish drool stretching itself from the dog’s mouth. After a moment I realize my own mouth has fallen open and snap it shut, swallowing heavily.
Neither of us speaks.
‘That’s . . . interesting,’ says Jim, finding his voice first, pulling off his helmet and running his hand over his cropped grey hair in a gesture I’ve come to recognize as shorthand for, ‘I can tell you, love, the world is becoming a strange and unfamiliar place and I’ll be glad to get out of this game.’
‘Hey, Sarge,’ says the youngest officer guarding the door, ‘Fucked up or what?’
What is there to do but edge closer, along the path towards the door, though right now every piece of crime scene protocol, not always my strong suit anyway, has left my brain. Through the gap in the officers’ shoulders I can see an old man inside, sitting on a kitchen chair in the hall, eyes glassy-wide, face bruised, right arm hanging limply in his lap. His breath heaves in and out, high and thin, a papery crackle. A paramedic is trying to put an oxygen mask on him but he keeps pushing it off, mumbling, ‘My wife, my wife . . . please . . .’
About the author:
Beverley Jones was born in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales, and started her ‘life of crime’ as a reporter on The Western Mail before moving into TV news with BBC Wales Today.
She covered all aspects of crime reporting before switching sides as a press officer for South Wales police, dealing with the media in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning.
Now a freelance writer she channels these experiences of ‘true crime,’ and the murkier side of human nature, into her dark, psychological thrillers set in and around South Wales.
Halfway, her fifth crime novel follows the release of Where She Went by Little Brown in 2017.
Bev’s previous releases, The Lies You Tell, Make Him Pay and Fear The Dark are also available from Little Brown as e-books.