A little bit of everything

Friday, 31 March 2017

Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith | Book Extract, Blog Tour

Hi everyone! For todays post, I want to share with you an extract form the brand new novel, Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith, which was released on the 21st March. I'm delighted to be part of the Follow Me Down blog tour. This book is a must-read for fans of The Girl On The Train. Sherri Smith, author of this novel, lives in Winnipeg, Canada. She spends time with her family and two rescue dogs and also restores vintage furniture. Follow Me Down is Sherri's first thriller.

"Mia has built a life for herself far from the small town where she grew up. But she is forced to return home when her brother goes missing. Once the golden boy of the community, Lucas has disappeared the same day as the body of his student is pulled from the river. Unable to reconcile the media’s portrayal of Lucas as a murderer with her own memories of him, Mia is desperate to find another suspect. But if Lucas is innocent, why did he run?"

It was a thirty-minute hike down a narrow pathway with tree roots snaking out of the ground. I tried to imagine Lucas walking this trail as a killer. Joanna would be in front of him because it was a single-file type of trail and it was the gentlemanly thing to do. She’d think they were just going on some aimless lover’s stroll, blissfully clueless that he planned to bash her skull and choke her to death. And here my mind ran through a list of motives; he sensed her pulling away and if he couldn’t have her, she deserved to die/she was extorting him to stay in the relationship by promising to tell everyone if he left her and he could lose his job/because maybe there was a baby growing inside of her that he didn’t want/because he just wanted the thrill of watching her die? Joanna would glance playfully back at him, a tight bud of a spring flower tucked behind her ear. Her lovely red hair catching the light and Lucas would give her one of his big grins in return, while pressing his finger into the tip of a pair of scissors hidden in his pocket. The grin dropping from his face the moment she turned around, or maybe not. Maybe he wore a violent little grin the entire time. But I couldn’t believe it. Even if he was having sex with Joanna and she threatened to tell or for any other reason, why the hair? Why would Lucas want to cut off her hair? So someone who had cancer wouldn’t get it? That was a certain brand of spitefulness that just didn’t exist in Lucas. More proof it wasn’t him. I realized quickly this was a pretty fucked-up argument to defend Lucas with: couldn’t be him—he wouldn’t take a cancer patient’s chance to have a wig.
Police tape fluttered loose from trees, just off the trail. I went down a narrow, seldom-used path. Mosquitos swarmed; I slapped at my neck. It was more heavily wooded here than other parts. The light was tricky, almost dark but with twinkling pockets of sunlight weaving in through branches that looked like they were never still. A good place to kill someone in relative privacy. I could glimpse the river though the brush, glinting like a serrated knife. So this was where she died. This was where my brother supposedly bludgeoned and choked the life out of a teenage girl, then dumped her in the river. Something lurched inside of me. My heart felt unsteady, and my skin jittered. I worried for a second that I’d faint and be discovered there. The other twisted Haas twin found dozing at the kill site. How damning would that be?
I made my way down the grassy riverbank. The forward momentum would have made it easy and quick to drag a body into the water. The river was deeper, more wild in the spring after the melt, but by May it was safe enough to wade into. By summer you could swim. The killer wouldn’t have had to worry about a current sweeping her away. He could have taken his time anchoring her down with sticks and rocks, making her body blend into the riverbed.
I bent down, ran my hand over the stony shore as if scouring for some clue the cops had missed. What exactly, I had no idea. A driver’s license with a picture and the address of the real killer would be ideal. But there was nothing, of course. Other than some fresh cigarette butts and beer can tabs, the area had been picked clean.
Back in the parking lot, my phone was flashing. My voice mail was full. One message was from my sinusitis-afflicted manager named Brad, who sniffed his way through a reminder that I needed to bring in a doctor’s note if I planned to be away for more than three days. And if, heavenforbid, I needed more than four days, I better fill out a short-term disability form.
The second message was from Pruden. “Hello, Miss Haas, I’m calling to let you know that there will be a press conference at nine a.m. tomorrow morning at the station. It would be really helpful if you could be there and appeal directly to Lucas to come in and talk with us. See you tomorrow.”
Another from my old guidance counselor, Mr. Lowe, although he introduced himself as Lucas’s co-worker. He’d packed up some of Lucas’s school things. If I was interested, I could pick them up after three thirty. Nothing important, just posters and books. (I imagined the throat-clearing awkwardness surrounding that final bullet point at the staff meeting: So who wants to contact the sister?) Before Mr. Lowe ended the call, he blurted, “Sorry.” Sorry for picking the short straw, sorry for calling, sorry for packing his things, sorry that my brother was a suspected fugitive on the run, he didn’t say.
The rest were from reporters wanting a comment. One was from the Chicago Tribune. I could picture the newspaper spread around the lunch room at work, splotches of mayo dripped over Lucas’s face as my co-workers speculated if he was related to their truant pharmacist. I’d never told anyone I was from North Dakota, because the minute I did, I suddenly had an accent full of accentuated vowels and had to endure a spate of “you betchas” and “doncha knows.”
I deleted them all.

For more, check out the blogs below for the Follow Me Down blog tour.


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