Publication Date: Available Now from Trapeze
Source: Review Copy
Today I am very happy to offer you a short extract from The Craftsman – a brilliantly creepy crime thriller. You might want to get your hands on this one quick smart! Links to my review etc follow.
Tuesday, 10 August 1999
On the hottest day of the year, Larry Glassbrook has come home to his native Lancashire for the last time, and the townsfolk have turned out to say goodbye. Not in a friendly way. It might be just fancy on my part but the crowd outside the church seems to have grown during the brief, chill funeral service, swelling the numbers that arrived early to claim a good spot, the way people do before a big parade. Everywhere I look, people stand among headstones, flank the perimeter wall and line the footpaths like some ghastly guard of honour. As we follow the coffin out into sunshine bright enough to cauterise wounds, they watch us, without moving or speaking. The press are here in force, in spite of the date being kept secret for as long as possible. Uniformed police hold them back, keeping the paths and the porch clear, but the photographers have brought stepladders and huge telescopic lenses. The rounded, fluffy microphones of the news presenters look powerful enough to pick up the scampering of church mice. I keep my eyes down, push my sunglasses a little higher on my nose, although I know I look very different now. Thirty years is a long time. A few yards ahead of me, beads of moisture swell and burst on the necks of the pallbearers. These men leave a trail behind them, a smell of aftershave and beer-infused sweat, of suits that aren’t dry-cleaned quite often enough. Standards have slipped since Larry’s day. The men who worked for Glassbrook & Greenwood Funeral Directors wore suits as black as newly mined coal. Their shoes and hair gleamed, and they shaved so close as to leave raw, rash-scarred skin behind. Larry’s men carried the caskets reverently, like the works of art they were. Larry would never have permitted the cheap laminate coffin I can see in front of me. Knowing that his own funeral fell short of the standards he’d insisted upon could have been a bitter disappointment to Larry. On the other hand, he might have laughed, loudly and cruelly, the way he did sometimes, when you least expected it, when it was most unnerving. And then he might have run his fingers through his black hair, winked suggestively and resumed dancing to the Elvis Presley tracks that seemed constantly to be playing in his workshop. After all this time, even thinking about Elvis Presley’s music sets my heart racing. The cheap coffin and its bearers turn like a giant crawling insect and leave the path. As we head south towards the Glassbrook family plot, the heat on our faces is as intense and searching as limelight in a down-at-heel musical hall. In Lancashire, this high on the moors, hot days are scarce, but the sun today seems determined to give Larry a foretaste of the temperatures waiting for him in his next place of confinement. I wonder what words his headstone might carry: Loving husband, devoted father, merciless killer…..
About the Book:
Catching him will make her career – and change her forever.
On the hottest day of the year, Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of Larry Glassbrook, the convicted murderer she arrested thirty years earlier. A master carpenter and funeral director, Larry imprisoned his victims, alive, in the caskets he made himself. Clay effigies found entombed with their bodies suggested a motive beyond the worst human depravity.
13-year- old Patsy Wood has been missing for two days, the third teenager to disappear in as many months. New to the Lancashire police force and struggling to fit in, WPC Lovelady is sent to investigate an unlikely report from school children claiming to have heard a voice calling for help. A voice from deep within a recent grave.
As she tries to lay her ghosts to rest, Florence is drawn back to the Glassbrooks’ old house, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where she once lodged with the family. She is chilled by the discovery of another effigy – one bearing a remarkable resemblance to herself. Is the killer still at large? Is Florence once again in terrible danger? Or, this time, could the fate in store be worse than even her darkest imaginings?
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