I posted my review when I read the book and is one of the best reads this year.
As my turn I am posting an extract from this new book.
About the book
Love You to Death – synopsis
Twenty years ago you were forced to give your daughter up. Now she’s back. Or is she?
Women who’ve had to give up children for adoption are being killed. A knock at their front door begins a nightmare from which they will never wake up.
East London Detective Ruby Preston and her team must hunt down a disturbed individual before someone else is taken. But when bodies start turning up, staged in perfect, domestic scenes, it carries the echo of a memory in Ruby’s mind. The tinkling of a music box. A mother and child reunion…
Then just as Ruby thinks they’ve made a breakthrough, she receives a sinister email, and the case takes a terrifying personal twist.
Can Ruby catch the killer before they strike again? Or will her troubled past catch up with her first?
LOVE YOU TO DEATH
About The Author
A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. She now writes full time.
Published by Bookouture, her DC Knight crime thriller series reached the number one position in the Amazon crime charts. Love You To Death, the first in her new series featuring DS Ruby Preston is due for publication 11th November 2016.
Her new psychological thriller, Witness, is published with Thomas & Mercer and due for publication 20th December 2016.
Sign up to join her Reader’s club for access to news, updates and exclusive competitions and giveaways. http://eepurl.com/IxsTj
By Caroline Mitchell
The lights of the Christmas tree twinkled in the dark space. On. Off. On. Off. Then the second set kicked in, sending an array of colours dancing on the walls of the dank grey basement. Despite the absence of windows, Emily Edmonds knew it was sunny outside. The weather forecast had warned it would be the hottest September in five years. She shifted in the cold metal chair. The puddle of urine had soaked into her skirt, casting up the stench of ammonia with every movement. Her wrists sent a sharp slice of pain through her nerve endings as the bindings cut further into her flesh. Something clicked into place and a low whirr ensued. On. Off. On. Off… the light sequence began again. Emily closed her eyes, the flashes still found their way into her vision. Her throat tightened as she sobbed, but no tears came. She was dry. Wept out, pissed out, sweated out. Dry as a bone with nothing left to give.
Drip… drip… drip… the noise of a leaky tap teased her. Apart from the flashing lights of the artificial tree, she had been left in darkness. But over the course of the day she worked out her surroundings. She was in a basement of some kind, a windowless cave underneath the ground. Her captor seemed at ease when she entered, not looking over her shoulder for fear of being caught. The room housed a sink. Overhead, she could hear the sounds of a functioning home: footsteps, and sometimes a muffled television. Furniture screeching, taps running, toilets flushing. Life went on as normal above her head. Even if she wasn’t gagged, it was doubtful anyone would hear her screams. Her jaw still hurt from the punch she had received last time she tried it. The blood from her loose tooth had been warm, wet and left a bitter aftertaste. It was a relief to have some liquid flow down her throat. Tears finally found their way to her eyes, blurring the gaudy baubles into a kaleidoscope of colours.
Her eyes flicked up to the ceiling, squinting at the single light bulb hanging from a cobwebbed wire cable. The switch was powered at the top of narrow wooden stairs which creaked when weight was applied. It was a small comfort to know that the noise was enough to wake her when her body fell into slumber. Struggling against her bindings only made the ropes ride higher up her ankles and wrists, and her circulation was almost cut off as it was.
She stiffened as a door opened, flooding light down the stairs and into her field of vision. Emily blinked away the tears as the woman slowly took each step. Keep calm. Whatever she wants, please God, help me get it right. Visions of Harry, her husband, swam in her memory. How was he coping without her? He would be going out of his mind. Don’t cry. Everything will be alright, just focus…
‘It’s almost Christmas,’ the woman said, the childish words curling on her tongue. She looked as if she’d stepped from another era. The Victorian-style outfit consisted of a dark knee-length dress, covered by a lace-trimmed white cotton apron. Lace-up boots tapped on each step as she giggled with delight.
The woman seemed not to notice the smell, the overwhelming stench of decay. But Emily could not think about the source. It emanated from the dirt-stained floorboards which were rotting and splintered underfoot. The makeshift flooring revealed slices of blackened soil beneath, and Emily shuddered as she inhaled the offensive smell.
‘I’ve got a surprise for you,’ the woman said in a sing-song voice, jumping down the last step, both feet together.
Emily murmured a whine, her eyes wide and pleading.
‘Remember our little chat when you talked about Harry?’
Emily remembered, and regretted every word. Why had she confided in this stranger? Thinking she could trust her with the secrets she held most dear? Yes, Harry could be controlling, but it was only because he loved her and wanted to keep her safe. And now look at her. This is what happened when she tried to leave him. A prickle of fear rose up from within. She would never have said those things if she had known. Lucy was deranged. And she had been wrong. Whoever this person was, she was not her daughter.
Emily’s heart accelerated with each step Lucy took, until she was behind her, ripping off her gag.
‘Tomorrow is Christmas Day, Mummy. And it’s going to be just you and me. No nasty Harry anymore. We’re going to have the perfect day.’
Emily spat out the bile in her mouth, coughing, until something resembling air entered her lungs. ‘Harry… ’ she gasped, the words scratching against her throat. ‘What have you done with my Harry?’
Lucy’s voice thinned. ‘I killed him, of course, so we can be together. Tomorrow⎯’
But her words were cut short as Emily produced a woeful, garbled scream. ‘No… not my Harry! Get me out of here! Do you hear me? Untie me right now – get me out.’ She rocked in her chair, throwing her head from side to side.
‘But Mummy… ’ Lucy said, her face turning dark.
‘I’m not your mother,’ Emily screamed. ‘You’re a monster. I don’t want you! I want my Harry.’
Lucy turned to the tree, her words cold. ‘After everything I’ve done. You’re not my mother. You’re just a selfish cow.’
Emily’s chest heaved as she drew in lungfuls of air. She had vowed to stay calm. What had she done? ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘I didn’t mean to… Lucy? Please, don’t be cross.’
But Lucy was ripping the baubles from the branches of the tree, too consumed by anger to hear Emily’s pleas for forgiveness.
‘I’m sorry, Lucy, please,’ Emily said, her words laced with panic.
Her heart beat wildly as fear wrapped itself around her, and she strained against her bindings, desperate to escape. And then she saw it. The flash of anger in Lucy’s eyes. Spittle had formed in the corner of her mouth, white and frothy. She was beyond reasoning. The urine Emily was holding trickled once more down her thigh.
Darkness enveloped them as Lucy ripped the lights from their socket, her tortured wail filling the lightless room. Emily finally deciphered the source of the smell. Inhaling one last shuddering breath, she closed her eyes and prayed.