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?”
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
deleted them all.
more, check out the blogs below for the Follow Me Down blog tour.