In this series, we invite our Crime Cymru authors to showcase an excerpt from one of their books. This week, Mary Grand explores the beauty and desolation of an island setting to set the scene for the tense opening of her new novel.
The very special setting for “The Island” and a short excerpt.
By Mary Grand
“The Island” is set in the stunning place I am now fortunate to be able to call home, the Isle of Wight. As always, my Welsh roots shine through it the book, with two of the central characters, Rhys and Anwen, coming from a village outside Swansea.
Like many areas of Wales, the Isle of Wight is a place of extraordinary beauty, dark skies, stunning beaches and gentle downland. However, this is also an island, and because of that it can feel remote, isolated, and as you travel on the ferry there is a feeling of leaving the rest of the world behind.
‘The Island’, is set on the west side of the Isle of Wight, in a fictitious village that I created around Brook beach.
“The Island “opens with Juliet returning to the Isle of Wight from years abroad to visit her sick father and to be reunited with her three sisters. As Juliet’s father lies dying, he issues her with a warning. She is disturbed as he starts to talk about dark family secrets, but nothing prepares her for his final words, ‘remember this, anyone can kill’. Juliet is desperate to dismiss his words, but two weeks later her brother-in-law is killed. Juliet is sure the killer is someone in the family or their small circle of friends and is determined to find out who killed him and why.
The Island. By Mary Grand
Prologue – Saturday August 20th, 2016
Adrenaline numbs the pain of the car keys digging into the palm of my hand. No breeze comes off the sea. Remnants of a scorching day hang in the air.
Hiding in the darkness, I peer at the church door, lit by the feeble night light in the porch, waiting.
Unexpectedly, the church door opens. Stop. It’s the wrong person. What the hell are they doing here?
I step back as they come towards me, hold my breath; they are so close now. I can imagine the warmth of their breath on my cheek. Oblivious to my presence, they move on, down the path towards the main road, and I return to my position, staring at the church door.
The church clock strikes one, the sound bouncing off the gravestones, and I see the lights in the church being switched off; the door opens again. He’s coming out. This is it.
I get in the car and push the keys into the ignition. I hear the clink as the stone-heart key ring knocks gently against the other keys. I wait, timing is everything. No headlights, no engine… yet.
He’s coming this way. That’s it. Now he’s walking down the path.
Quickly: engine on, accelerator hard down. Thud. It’s over so quickly. I screech to a halt, get out of the car. Something catches a slither of light. I check – he’s dead.
Two weeks earlier – Friday 5th August 2016
‘Dad.’ She reached out, touched his hand. It was too cold.
Slowly he turned towards her; their eyes met. Each soaked in the sight of the other.
‘Juliet,’ he spoke, the words soft, slightly slurred by the medication, a whisper of a smile on his lips ’my sunshine’.
She felt the tears burning her eyes, shards of glass in her throat made it hard to swallow. ‘I’m home now dad.’ she said, her voice shaking.
But then the smile melted away, his eyes screwed up in pain. ‘I’ve made such a mess of everything, I’m so sorry’.
His mind seemed to be all over the place, she wished he could calm down. ‘I will take care of everything dad.’
The words of comfort however failed to sooth him if anything he became more agitated.
‘You must be very careful. Anyone can kill.’
Juliet sat up, alarmed, was her father delirious? She glanced around to see if a nurse was close. But she felt his hand move under hers and looked back at him.
‘I know what I am saying, I’m sorry, but I have to warn you. You think you know them, but you don’t, even people close to you, even family’.
‘Dad no one we know would hurt anyone.’
Anyone who has the motive can kill. And if they have killed once they can kill again.’
“The Island “will be published by Boldwood Books on June 24th in eBook, paperback and audio.
Find out more about Mary’s books on her Amazon page.