This Little Dark Place A S Hatch. Blog tour extract.

Really happy to offer you an extract from the brilliant “This Little Dark Place” today – a tense and unnerving psychological drama which I will be reviewing very soon. Don’t miss out!

About the Book

How well do you know your girlfriend?

How well do you know your lover?

How well do you know yourself?

Daniel and Victoria are together. They’re trying for a baby. Ruby is in prison, convicted of assault on an abusive partner.

But when Daniel joins a pen pal program for prisoners, he and Ruby make contact. At first the messages are polite, neutral – but soon they find themselves revealing more and more about themselves. Their deepest fears, their darkest desires.

And then, one day, Ruby comes to find Daniel. And now he must decide who to choose – and who to trust.


When I got home Victoria was upstairs having a

bath. She’d left her iPad on the couch. I unlocked it, the

passcode was her birthday, and opened Safari. Evidently,

she was a very active member on the pregnancy forums.

There were various other hare-brained schemes for conceiving

that she hadn’t tried. Eating only seafood and

spinach. Climbing into an ice bath immediately after

sex. Sitting upside-down after sex. The colour orange.

The list went on. And then I read something that made

my stomach twist inside my body.

A thread entitled: ‘IF YOU’RE TRYING TO GET

PREGNANT – READ THIS!!! By Katrina, a mother of two

beautiful boys.’ Katrina used to work in an old persons’

home. She’d been trying to get pregnant for years.

She was on the brink of giving up. But then ‘MDH

got promoted’ (I discovered MDH meant ‘my darling

husband’), meaning she didn’t have to work any more.

So she quit and after that she got pregnant straight

away. Twins. What a miracle, et cetera. One day, admiring

the two babies, it hit her. She knew why she had

finally become pregnant. It was because she had taken

herself away from death. She was no longer surrounded

every day by dying people. That was the only explanation

and she urged the women on the forum to ‘avoid

death, and places where death lurks at all costs!!!!’ (this

included: doctor’s practices, nursing homes, funerals

and graveyards), before adding: ‘If someone you know

is sick or dying, you mustn’t see them any more. You

mustn’t allow their death to block the new life fighting

to blossom within you.’ The post had received hundreds

of replies and thousands of likes. Scores of women, all

using the same pseudo-religious language and shorthand,

thanking her, referring to her as some sort of

prophet. For the first time I felt resentful of the whole

process, the whole matter. I wanted to barge in on Victoria’s

bath and to rage at her stupidity, at her callous,

blind stupidity. Instead I went out to the workshop and

spent the evening polishing an ash dining table until I

was sure she’d gone to bed.

The following Sunday she said her father was in

Ireland on a golf weekend and her mother had asked her

to stay over, to keep her company. So on the Saturday I

drove her to her parents’ house, but before she got out

I stopped her. I told her I knew about Katrina on the

forum and why she was avoiding my mother. She said

nothing. She just clenched the handles of her overnight

bag tightly and pursed her lips. I had begun to feel like I

knew her less and less. We sat in silence. Cars whooshed

by. Seagulls twitched on the roofs of the houses. In that

moment I think I experienced the first desperate pang

of regret. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut,

allowed this phase to pass, just carried on trying to get

her pregnant. But I felt her changing. A shell of cynicism

and hardness was forming around her. I reached

out to her with my hand but she avoided my touch like

a cat.

Victoria announced one night that if by January we

hadn’t conceived she would contact the fertility clinic.

We were still having sex. Mostly, perfunctory. Occasionally,

aggressive. When I climbed into bed with her

without a kiss or caress I did so out of love for her. I

sensed her love for me was still there too, simply trapped

beneath a layer of ice. Sometimes I tried melting it.

Sometimes I took a pneumatic drill to it.

Christmas Day was hard. I sensed it would be my

mother’s last. Ivy was now living full-time in the Jerusalem

Full-Time Residential Care Home. Scrawny strings

of tinsel hung from each corner of the visiting room.

The nurses wore elf costumes. Some residents were

arranged in a semicircle around the telly watching It’s a

Wonderful Life. Ivy didn’t register me when I kissed her

forehead and I knew it wasn’t one of her ‘good days’.

I wished her a happy Christmas. I told her I loved her.

I told her I was thankful for everything she’d done for

me. I looked up and saw that her brow was furrowed

and I thought for a moment that my words had got

through, that I had stirred something deep within her.

‘Do you remember too?’ I said. ‘It wasn’t so long

ago.’ I squeezed her hand. I felt I had reached her. But

she continued to stare straight ahead, right through me.

And then I realised her expression hadn’t altered at all

in the time I’d been there. I followed her gaze to the

window and realised she hadn’t heard a single word I’d

said. Her expression, which I had interpreted as recognition,

was simply confusion. For it was dark and the

nurses had put the lights on in the visiting room and

instead of the sea, all Ivy saw was a reflection of herself

in the window. Ghostly and see-through. Half there,

half gone.

You can purchase This Little Dark Place (Serpents Tail) Here.

Happy Reading!

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