REALLY happy to join the blog tour for Elizabeth Haynes and Behind Closed Doors – I’m a huge fan (she has her very own page here on the blog so take a look HERE for her other great novels) so I’m more than pleased to share an extract from the novel, plus my original review and offer you the chance to get your very own copy (1 copy available – Open to UK and Ireland only) by doing the usual. Tweet me @Lizzy11268 or comment on this post about why you would like to read it.
About the book:
Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. Not being able to find Scarlett was one of the biggest regrets of DCI Louisa Smith’s career and when Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, Lou is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long. Was she abducted or did she run away?
As Lou and her team delve deeper into Scarlett’s past, their investigation throws up more questions than it answers. But as they edge closer to the truth about what really went on behind closed doors, it is more sinister and disturbing than they had ever imagined.
SCARLETT – Rhodes, Saturday 23 August 2003, 04:44
To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.
Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing. She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac. All that did was give her a sore throat. Nobody could hear her.
She tried listening instead, eyes wide with nothing to see. She could hear voices sporadically from somewhere else in the vehicle – two different men – but she didn’t recognise them, nor could she understand what they were saying. She assumed they were speaking in Greek, but the harsh rasp of the words sounded different from the voices she’d heard over the past week at the resort. Lots of ‘th’ sounds, rolled ‘r’s, words ending in ‘a’ and ‘eh’.
Fear came in cycles. The first endless panicky minutes had been very bad: trawling through vague memories of the past few days, trying to identify the mistake she’d made, because this had to be her fault – this can’t be real, I’m dreaming – then the shock realisation that this wasn’t a nightmare, it was really happening. The worst moment of all.
It had been so quick.
She had arrived a bit early at the place where they’d agreed to meet, and she’d been preparing to wait – he’d said he finished work at two – and a van had pulled up beside her. She hadn’t been worried. There were still people around, drunk tourists staggering back up the road towards their hotels. The side door of the van had slid open, and a man got out. He was talking to her, friendly, a smile that showed his teeth. His accent was so strong she couldn’t really tell what he was saying.
‘No, no,’ she’d said. ‘English. I don’t understand.’
But he’d kept yammering on, standing too close to her. She had begun to feel unnerved by it, and something had made her glance to the right, to the gate which led to the Aktira Studios, and in that split second when she’d seen someone she recognised, made eye contact, she had felt something like relief – and then the man had pushed her, a hard shove that sent her sprawling into the back of the van. He’d climbed in after her, slammed the door shut and the van started moving. The man had held her down, put his hand over her mouth, pressing her head into the metal floor so hard that she’d thought her skull was going to burst.
Seconds. The whole thing had taken seconds.
Now, hours since those terrifying first moments, she had reached a plateau brought on by the monotony of driving, the panic overridden by the pain in her arms and legs and the discomfort of being tied hand and foot and having to lie still on the floor of the van. They’d stopped once, very early on, before she’d had time to get over the shock or formulate any plan of escape; by that time the man in the back with her had already tied her up. He got out, leaving her alone, and the van door shut – and they were moving again.
The noise of the engine was unbearably loud; the van would bump and jolt as it went over potholes. Her head ached as a result, sometimes so badly it made her cry. The fear made her cry. Crying made her headache worse, and then it all became pointless, so she would stop for a while and try to sleep in snatches, because sleeping, at least, gave her a brief respite.
And she would dream of him, remember, and wake with tears on her cheeks, thinking, This wasn’t supposed to happen. Then the shock and the fear would kick in, and the whole cycle would begin again.
So the second book in the “Louisa Smith” series and with this one, the character and the series comes into its own. The introduction (Under a Silent Moon) was a clever take on the Police Procedural, intelligently done and highly absorbing. With “Behind Closed Doors” Ms Haynes as taken it to the next level – a darker tale for sure, some emotional themes exploring a side of humanity we rather wish didnt exist, with another cast of superbly creative characters that keep you turning the pages.
When Scarlett went missing, Louisa was part of the team and the fact that she was never found has haunted her. Now however, Scarlett has turned up – what happened to her and why forms the main part of the novel and it is fascinating, disturbing and highly addictive stuff.
On top of that we learn more about Louisa and what makes her tick – leading on nicely from what we knew of her in “Moon” – she has a beautifully drawn emotive edge to her, her relationships and friendships are all intriguing and full of great depth so you really get a feel for her and her reactions to events around her.
It is difficult reading at times, covering as it does human trafficking and abuse, but it is highly authentic and absolutely believable – Elizabeth Haynes manages to keep a realistic slant to the tale even as she throws in some elegant little twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Scarlett is a captivating and thought provoking character, even now I’ve finished the story I’m still not sure what I think of her and some of the decisions she made. For a story to give you pause for thought and at the same time entertain you thoroughly this is spot on.
Overall then a gorgeously written slightly different slant for the Crime Fiction genre, a mix up of very interesting police procedural and character driven drama that comes highly recommended from me.
Find out more HERE
Follow the author on Twitter HERE
To purchase Behind Closed Doors clickety click HERE
Some of my fellow bloggers will be telling you more on the tour, here is a selection of lovely sites for you to visit.
Happy Reading Folks!