In this series, we invite our Crime Cymru authors to showcase an excerpt from one of their books. This week, Nigel C. Williams sets the scene for the gripping seventh book in the Terry McGuire Crime series, co-written with Arthur Cole.
I write wherever I can these days. With Covid affecting our working lives, my wife has claimed our office for her Welsh language course – part of her professional development as a teacher, while I have made base camp in our dining room. I’m not complaining. The photograph shows it’s decorated appropriately for this time of the year. My wife loves Daffodils, and our home is full of them every spring.
I’m currently working on several projects, with the final edits of book seven in the Terry McGuire Crime series nearly complete I wish I could say it’s taking priority. But my lecturing commitments have exploded this term. Teaching from home has added a substantial load to my working day, and that inevitably eats into writing. As we had eight books complete with the ninth in the pipeline when we secured the publishing contract, the pandemic has slowed the release but has given us time to finish book nine well before the release date later this year.
My solo project, “Dead Legacy,” a supernatural thriller written under my horror pen name of Russ Geraghty, was published back in October 2020 and has been doing well in the USA with consistent, if not life-changing, daily sales. Considering the story is set in Dolaucothi in mid-Wales, this came as something of a pleasant surprise as there seemed to be little interest in Wales and the UK.
Being a diversion from the crime series, I was drawn to Stephen King’s book “On Writing.” King is the master of the horror genre and it made sense to soak up his often-hilarious advice in a book that I would recommend to anyone wanting to get into any kind of writing.
It’s not the first book I’ve read on the art of the author, but is certainly the most entertaining.
My cowriter, Arthur Cole, and I have another series in the pipeline too. Arthur is way ahead of me at present, and it’s hard to slow him down. The first of the Abraham Quince crime thrillers will be published in the summer. The first three books are all but complete and the intention is to release them in monthly intervals.
This is the first part of the new Terry McGuire Crime, book seven in the series, entitled “Redemption.” Due out soon.
The lights of the bar swirled like Van Gogh’s Starry Night as Matilda Donoghue gulped down half of her gin and tonic. Was it the sixth or seventh? She tried to remember but, even in her muddled state, accepted that it didn’t matter. She felt pissed, and Giles would be seriously pissed-off with her. He had not been happy that she’d agreed to a night out with Donna. Her friend had a reputation for being less than fussy when it came to the male company, and Giles did not hide his dislike of Dodgy Donna, as he liked to call her.
Decorated with cheap Christmas baubles and a small, sick fir tree, a cracked pane of decorative, mirrored glass added to her confused state of mind, the bar was large enough for a small stage set into a recess at one end. A Queen Tribute band played a poor rendition of ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ The irony brought a smile. Matilda finished the gin mixer and wondered what her husband’s reaction would be when she got home. He had a bad temper. Not just bad, his eruptions matched anything Vesuvius could throw up. But she knew he loved her. That didn’t stop him from giving her the occasional bruise in places others would never see.
Giles could go stuff himself. She’d sneak in and sleep in the spare bedroom. What he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him–or her. She’d done nothing wrong, but that never seemed to matter to Giles. Her mother had warned her that Giles was odd. Matilda had dismissed her concerns and been even more determined to prove her mother wrong. They married within six months of meeting, and the first year was everything she had hoped it would be. It was on the first anniversary of their first date that things deteriorated. Giles had taken her to the Taste of Bengal and had bought a bottle of cheap champagne to celebrate. What started as a beautiful evening ended in her being kicked in the ribs and slapped around the head whilst she got ready for bed. The next day, Giles was full of regret – inexcusable actions because of all-consuming love for her. He had acted out of character because she’d spoken to an old flame. Of course, how could Matilda hate someone who loved her that much?
She considered having another gin, but she didn’t want to push her luck. She thumped the empty glass on to the bar and waved at Donna.
“Another, hun?” Donna mouthed from a corner table. Donna was three years older than Matilda but acted half her age. At forty-four, she frequented shops catering for the younger woman and had latched on to a young man who wasn’t even half her age.
Matilda shook her head, grinned, and covered her mouth as she belched; the taste of bile and partially digested Korma nearly made her sick. She waved her hand. “Goshh a go,” she slurred.
Donna laughed. “Take care, hun.”
The first breath of winter air felt like she’d drunk another three gins. Her head swam, her toe found a misaligned paving slab, and the ground rushed up to meet her. A pair of unseen hands grasped her shoulders before she hit the ground.
“Than’ you,” she said as she looked into the dark, smiling eyes of her saviour. The man was about her age and handsome, honey-coloured skin, good bone structure, a full head of dark hair that had a hint of grey at the temples. Yummy, at least she thought he was. It might have been the beer goggles deceiving her. Everyone knew ugly men looked attractive after lots of alcohol.
“I’ll call a taxi,” the man said in a strange accent. She nodded and tried to smile. He leaned her against a wall. “You be OK there?”
Again, she nodded as the man began flicking through contacts in his phone. He dialled a number. “A taxi for lady outside the Neptune… the Harvester.”
The woman waited as the man listened to the reply.
“I see. Thank you,” the man said as he ended the call. “No taxi. All booked. You live far?”
“Asshree Load,” she giggled as the words came out wrong.
“Yesh, sorry. I’m a little tipsy,” more giggles. “Tipsy… I’m pissed, sorry.”
The man laughed. “Not far. I walk you there.”
“Nooo, nooo need,” she stumbled as she pushed herself off the wall. Once more, the man saved her from hitting the pavement.
“Come. Hold on to me. It’s on my way.”
The woman nodded. “Sooo kind.”
Matilda was conscious of every stride. Assisted by the kind man, she tried to focus on each step, but the more she concentrated, the worse things became. After what seemed like an age, the man sat her gently on a wooden bench. The place was familiar. It wasn’t home – it was a park, a place that she recognised. “What… we-hic-doing here?”
“Rest. I’m with you. You are safe.”
She tried to focus again and thought hard; she didn’t feel safe. Something was wrong. The man stepped behind the bench. She turned her head; the movement triggering a wave of nausea. Before her eyes could focus, the streetlights failed. That couldn’t be right. There should still be some light, surely? There was always some light somewhere. Something cold and smelling of rubber was over her head, like a plastic bag; it clung to her face as she tried to breathe. She panicked, desperate to get the rid herself of the cloying cowl, but her arms refused to cooperate.
As her mind finally cleared from the fear-induced adrenalin forcing the blood through her body, purging the alcoholic haze from her system, everything went black once more. No light would ever enter her eyes again.
Read more about Nigel here
To discover more of Nigel’s books, follow the link here to his Amazon page
WALES’ FIRST MAJOR INTERNATIONAL CRIME FESTIVAL!
The Gŵyl CRIME CYMRU Festival website has now gone live!
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