Blog Tour: Being Simon Haines by Tom Vaughan MacAulay @RedDoorBooks

#WhoIsSimonHaines @TomMacAulay80 @RedDoorBooks

Hello and welcome to one of the final few stops on the Being Simon Haines blog tour.

About the book:

Meet Simon Haines.
BeingSimon_FrontCover

For a decade he’s been chasing his dream: partnership at the legendary, family-run law firm of Fiennes & Plunkett. The grueling hours and manic intensity of his job have come close to breaking him, but he has made it through the years and is now within a whisker of his millions: in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba in an attempt to rediscover his youthful enthusiasm and curiosity, and to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past…

Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, and charged with emotion, Being Simon Haines is a searching story about contemporary London and aspiration, values and love. Painting a picture of a generation of young professionals, it asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are?

Author: Tom Vaughan MacAulay
Paperback: 425 pages
Published by: RedDoor Books, 22 June 2017

My thoughts…

Frenzied, stressful city life is at the heart of this novel as Simon Haines works ridiculous hours at Fiennes & Plunkett – on the brink of propelling his career further, he decides to have a trip to Cuba.

The narrative is beautifully descriptive, full of anecdotes and humour, with flashbacks delving into Simon’s past. We see how his relationships have panned out, and influenced him personally, including that with his ex-girlfriend Sophie. The characters are well developed and complex; my perception of Simon changed as the story progressed. I didn’t warm to him at first, but as we learn more about him I grew to like him. As his backstory unravelled he became more human and thus easier to connect to as a character.

I particularly enjoyed the sections in Cuba, where Simon spends time rediscovering himself – this offered a much-needed, fantastic, calming contrast to his frenetic, chaotic corporate life.

If you’re looking for an intelligent read which is something a little bit different then I highly recommend Being Simon Haines – it is a refreshing take on what sacrifices are made in order to pursue lifelong happiness, as well as the consequences these actions can have along the way.

About Tom Vaughan MacAulay: 

TomVaughanMacAulay.jpg

Tom Vaughan MacAulay was born in Chester in 1980. Tom is a solicitor and has worked both in London and Milan during his career. He currently lives in North London and is in the process of completing his second novel.

You can see the other posts on the Being Simon Haines blog tour here:

BlogTour_SimonHaines.jpg

I was sent an advanced review copy of Being Simon Haines from RedDoor Books in exchange for a fair, unbiased and honest review. Thanks RedDoor!

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Two Lost Boys by L.F. Robertson

#TitanBooks #BookReview #BlogTour @TitanBooks

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Two Lost Boys by L.F. Robertson. A big thank you to Philippa at Titan Books for organizing, and including me, on this blog tour.

About the book:

Lost Boys_final

 

Janet Moodie has spent years as a death row appeals attorney. Overworked and recently widowed, she’s had her fill of hopeless cases, and is determined that this will be her last. Her client is Marion ‘Andy’ Hardy, convicted along with his brother Emory of the rape and murder of two women. But Emory received a life sentence while Andy got the death penalty, labeled the ringleader despite his low IQ and Emory’s dominant personality.

Convinced that Andy’s previous lawyers missed mitigating evidence that would have kept him off death row, Janet investigates Andy’s past. She discovers a sordid and damaged upbringing, a series of errors on the part of his previous counsel, and most worrying of all, the possibility that there is far more to the murders than was first thought. Andy may be guilty, but does he deserve to die?

Paperback: 400 pages
Published by:
Titan Books, 16 May – you can order a copy here

My thoughts…

As with any crime book I will keep my review brief as I don’t want to give away any spoilers, ruining the twists and turns of the book for you!

Two Lost Boys is a legal thriller that grips hard as we follow Janet Moodie’s progress during the sentencing of Andy Hardy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the justice system and US prisons then this one is for you. Whilst the characters in Two Lost Boys are complex, the plot and narrative is a little simple, but that’s no bad thing as the story flows exceptionally well. For me, Robertson’s career and legal insights bring the story to life and are what make it.

Justice sits at the heart of the novel; with a man on death row, will a fair trial be had? Innocence, guilt, mercy and grief are also explored throughout, with Robertson’s writing making the legal technicalities easy to digest and understand.

Overall, Two Lost Boys is a compelling, brooding novel full of dark, intense pockets – to the point where it felt quite oppressive at times. I found it fascinating how Robertson drew on her professional experiences to write the book; this made it an authentic, detailed read, with real insight into the criminal justice system.

About the author:

L.F. Robertson is a practising defense attorney who for the last two decades has handled only death penalty appeals. Linda is the co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Unsolved Mysteries, and a contributor to the forensic handbooks How to Try a Murder and Irrefutable Evidence. She has had short stories published in the anthologies My Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: the Hidden Years and Sherlock Holmes: The American Years.

You can see the other posts from the blog tour here:

Blog Tour Banner.png

I received an advanced copy of Two Lost Boys from the lovely Philippa at Titan Books for an honest and unbiased review – thank you, 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Obsession by Amanda Robson

 

@AvonBooks UK @HarperCollinsUK @LadySion #BlogTour #BookReview

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Obsession by Amanda Robson.

About the book… 

Obsession

One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?

It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.

Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenny. They’re lucky. But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?

Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiralling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?

Paperback: 1st June 2017 – you can pre-order here
Published by: Avon Books

My thoughts…

I absolutely raced through Obsession. A fast paced read, the story is full of twists and turns and is told from four perspectives by the two couples, Rob, Carly, Jenny and Craig, which I loved. The story is made up of a tangled web of deceit, domestic unhappiness, sexual deviance and bad decisions. Obsession is a dark domestic thriller that I definitely recommend reading.

4/5

Give it a go if you enjoyed: One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis or What Alice Knew by TA Cotterell

I’m also lucky enough to be able to share a short extract with you today – I hope you enjoy it!

Rob is away. Jenni is away. The children are all at my house for a blast – as much fun as it is possible for young people to have. I have taken them to Snakes and Ladders again. I hope they don’t get fed up of it. I can’t cope with looking after so many children if I have to do anything more strenuous. I’ve taken them to McDonalds, too. I have let them choose a bag of sweets each at the sweet shop on Church Street, the old-fashioned one with a bow window, black and white floor tiles and rows of jars containing everything from aniseed balls to toffee bon-bons. Now they are wide-eyed with exhaustion, ready for bed, sitting in a row on our sofa watching a weird cartoon, a cross between Pokémon and Frozen. If Jenni knew about the sugar they’ve eaten I know she wouldn’t approve. Her nose would wriggle in that strange way I used to think was cute. I am sick of the bitch-whore’s tricks – wriggling her nose like Samantha in Bewitched.

I open a bottle of wine while the children watch the end of the cartoon. Just one glass before Craig arrives. It slips down so quickly; I can’t have poured as much as I thought, so I top it up. Melon and blackcurrant. Perhaps a hint of raspberry. As soon as the cartoon is over, I snap off the TV. I stand up and try and look jovial, smiling like one of those inane CBeebies presenters.

‘Race time. Upstairs and into bed. The winner gets a surprise tomorrow.’

And so they hurtle past me, squealing and shoving. I have to intervene as Luke is almost pushed down the stairs. Pippa is the winner. Matt and John whinge. Mark and Luke don’t complain; they have been well trained by Jenni. They clean their teeth and snuggle into bed like a pair of little angels. As soon as I’ve got them all settled, the doorbell rings.

Craig.

He is here. Stepping into my hallway, handing me a bottle of Merlot and a bunch of pink carnations. He plants a kiss on each of my cheeks, irradiating me with the scent of his after­shave. I thank him and he follows me into our compact, candlelit kitchen where the table is laid for supper. I retrieve the opened wine from the sitting room, surprised to see that only half of the bottle is left, and pour us two large glasses. He watches me serve up the oysters I nipped off to buy while the children were choosing sweets. I’ve never liked them, they taste of seawater, but Jenni once told me they were Craig’s favourite. So tonight, oysters it is.

You can see the other bloggers posts here:

BLOG TOUR (1).png

BLOG BANNER

Blog Tour: The Search by Howard Linskey

#BlogTour #BookReview @PenguinUKBooks @HowardLinskey @JennyPlatt90

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Search by Howard Linskey – I’ve got a review of the book for you today. Enjoy!

A bit about the book…

TheSearchCover

Someone knows where the bodies are buried…

Little Susan Verity went missing during the heatwave of 1976. An unprecedented amount of police resource went into finding her, but to no avail. Until now. 

Convicted serial killer Adrian Wicklow was always the prime suspect. In the past, he’s repeatedly lied to the police about where Susan’s body is buried – playing a sick game from behind bars. But this time, he says, he’ll tell the truth. Because Adrian Wicklow is dying.

Detective Ian Bradshaw works with investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney to find the body. However, this is Wicklow’s life’s work. Would a murderer on death’s door give up his last secret so easily…?

The Search is the third book in the series, with No Name Lane and Behind Dead Eyes preceding it. If you’ve not read any of Linskey’s previous books, don’t fear as The Search works wonderfully as a standalone novel.

Paperback: 4th May 2017
Published by: Penguin Books

My thoughts… 

Set in Durham and centred around the case of missing Susan Verity, The Search is told from multiple perspectives – which I’m a huge fan of – as Detective Ian Bradshaw teams up with investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney to solve the 20 year old, re-opened mystery.

Early on, Bradshaw is sent to the prison where the terminally ill, suspected murderer Adrian Wicklow is locked up. The mind games begin as Wicklow gives Bradshaw an audio recording of his ‘real story’, promising that it would lead him to the missing bodies. This game of cat and mouse made me squirm; it was intense and angry, played out so well by the two characters, making my heart beat and my blood boil.

Wicklow is an intriguingly devious character, with a complex and troubled disposition. I found it fascinating how Howard Linskey portrayed him, as well as the affect that his personality had on DS Bradshaw – the more that he is exposed to Wicklow’s evil side, the more the case starts encroaching on his personal life, with the onset of night terrors. I was also fascinated by Helen and Tom’s relationship and was hoping for a different outcome (I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil any of the plot!). The parallel storyline of the mystery woman meant there was always lots going on, keeping me thoroughly interested throughout the book.

Whilst the story is a slow burner, it is also full of great dialogue and accurate descriptions. The Search is full of plot twists and the clues slowly unfold into a surprising conclusion. This book has everything I love (and want!) from a crime thriller: gritty characters, multiple perspectives, a shifting time narrative and parallel plots.

The Search gets a big thumbs up from me!

4/5

Give this a go if you enjoyed: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole or Ashes to Ashes by Paul Finch

About Howard Linskey: Howard Linskey is the author of the David Blake series, the first of which, The Drop, was selected as one of the ‘Top Five Crime Thrillers of the Year’ by The Times, and he has been called “one of the most commanding crime fiction practitioners at work today” by the Financial Times. His latest, The Search is out next week. Perfect for fans of gritty BBC Drama’s Broadchurch and The Fall, The Search is completely gripping and works brilliantly as a standalone title.

The Search blog tour has one more stop tomorrow (11th May), but you can find the other stops here:

TheSearch blog banner.jpg

I received an advanced copy of The Search from the publishers in exchange for a fair an unbiased review. 

Blog Tour: Ashes to Ashes by Paul Finch

#BookReview @paulfinchauthor @AvonBooksUK

Hello again and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ashes to Ashes by Paul Finch, a brand new crime thriller published by Avon books as part of the DS Heckenburg series. 

AshestoAshes

A bit about the book…

John Sagan is a forgettable man. You could pass him in the street and not realise he’s there. But then, that’s why he’s so dangerous.

A torturer for hire, Sagan has terrorised – and mutilated – countless victims. And now he’s on the move. DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg must chase the trail, even when it leads him to his hometown of Bradburn – a place he never thought he’d set foot in again.

But Sagan isn’t the only problem. Bradburn is being terrorised by a lone killer who burns his victims to death. And with the victims chosen at random, no-one knows who will be next.

Least of all Heck…

Paperback: 480 pages
Published by: Avon Books

My thoughts…

Number six in the series, Ashes to Ashes is a thrill-a-minute detective story packed full of gory action. We follow DS Mark Heckenburg (Heck) from London to his hometown of Bradburn on his mission to catch Sagan – during this time the newest criminal on the block, the Incinerator, is burning down the city’s inhabitants quicker than they can catch him. The story is peppered with mystery, police humour and suspense. Intense in places it had enough action to keep me wanting to read more.

As a character, Heck is a maverick and likes to do things on his own terms; he’s dark, brooding and broken, but his flaws are what make him. As the case unfolds we find out nuggets of information about his personal life, which is full of intrigue, as well as his family history – the backstory gives the reader enough information for this to be a stand-alone novel, without having read numbers one-to-five in the series.

Although it’s quite a long book, it is such a blockbuster and it had me racing through the pages eager to find out who the culprit was. At the end of the book I felt like I’d walked through the furnace with Heck. I’ll admit that this was the first Heck book I’ve read, but now that I’m hooked I want to go back to number 1 in the series to start from the beginning properly.

I definitely recommend Ashes to Ashes if you’re looking for a dark, violent crime thriller to read. 

HOOKEDONHECK

Give this a go if you enjoyed: Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge or Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

And that’s not as all for today as the lovely folk at Avon have given me an extract of Ashes to Ashes to share with you – enjoy!

Heck stood up, but slammed himself flat against the wall beside the steps, crooking his neck to look along the passage. He understood her thinking. If he went running down there and tried to grab the two cops, there was every possibility Sagan would open the door and catch all three of them. If he kept out of the way, however, it was just vaguely possible the duo had some routine business to conduct with the guy and might be on their way out again in a minute, with no one any the wiser about the obbo. That latter option was a long shot, of course. Like SCU, the Organised Crime Division was part of the National Crime Group. They didn’t deal with routine matters. There was one other possibility too, which was even more depressing. Suppose Cowling and Bishop were up to no good themselves? Could it be they were here to see Sagan for reasons unconnected with police-work? If so, that would be a whole new level of complexity.

Heck squinted down the gloomy passage. The twosome had halted alongside number 36. They didn’t knock imme­diately, but appeared to be conferring. He supposed he could try to signal to them, alert them to an additional police presence, but the idea was now growing on him fast that these two might have nefarious motives.

A fist thudded on the apartment door. Heck held his breath. At first there was no audible response, then what sounded like a muffled voice.

‘Yeah, police officers, sir,’ Cowling said. ‘Could you open up? We need to have a chat.’

Heck breathed a sigh of relief. They weren’t in cahoots with Sagan after all. But now he felt uneasy for other reasons. Given the severity of Sagan’s suspected offences, this was a very front-on approach – it seemed odd the two detectives had come here without any kind of support. Did they know something SCU didn’t, or did they simply know nothing? Had ambition to feel a good collar overridden the necessity of performing some due diligence?

The muffled voice intoned again. It sounded as if it had said ‘one minute’.

And then two thundering shotgun blasts demolished the door from the inside, the ear-jarring din echoing down the passage.

The Ashes to Ashes blog tour continues until 19th April – you can find the other stops here:

 

Blog tour.png

I received an advanced copy of Ashes to Ashes from the publishers in exchange for a fair an unbiased review. 

Blog Tour: The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

Hello and welcome to Harry’s Book Club, the fourth stop on the blog tour for The Cows by Dawn O’Porter.

A bit about the book…

Published by Harper Collins, The Cows is available to buy from today (6th April 2017) – happy publication day, Dawn! 

COW [n.]/kaʊ/

 

A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.

Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype. Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can – though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror.



When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all. 

Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.



The Cows (2)
Such a stunning cover!

My thoughts…

I was really excited to receive a copy of The Cows, especially as I had seen loads of chat about it on Twitter and it looked right up my street! At the heart of it, it’s a book about the pressure on women to reproduce in society, whilst also looking at what it means to be a mother, sister, daughter, friend and lover in the 21st century.

Stella, Tara and Cam are all at different stages in their lives, and all three women have a different take on motherhood. The book highlights that non-conventional journeys to motherhood are still normal, viable routes and if a woman doesn’t want a child, then that’s okay too. On the surface The Cows appears as a light-hearted chick-lit book, but it is so much more than that. An addictive and clever read, it is a fantastic piece of feminist literature that tackles deep, serious issues – everything from online trolling to how we deal with tragedy and grief.

The Cows is brilliant at celebrating and championing women in every form. It’s a letter to the modern-day woman, which tells us we can live any life we want to, with no judgement; Dawn reminds us it’s okay to be ourselves. It shows us that we should embrace our uniqueness and carve our own path out in this crowded world and as Cam says in the book, #DontFollowTheHerd

I found Stella, Cam and Tara to be well-developed, funny and fearless characters. Dawn did an interview with BBC Breakfast yesterday where she said that during the writing process all three women were either a fantasy of her or a part of her and that she’d felt all of their feelings during her lifetime. This shone through in the novel and made them all the more believable.

All-in-all, I absolutely loved this book and whilst it’s a pretty hefty 464 pages I sped through it in two evenings, I couldn’t put it down. I don’t want to give too much away in this review as I implore you to pick up a copy.

It was compelling, thoughtful and full of twists and I just had to find out what happened. The Cows is Dawn’s first foray into adult literature, I can’t wait to see what she does next!

4/5

A bit about Dawn…

DOP photo 5 david loftus
Photo by David Loftus

Dawn O’Porter is a novelist, columnist, broadcaster and designer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, son Art, cat Lilu and dog Potato. She has made numerous documentaries about all sorts of things: polygamy, childbirth, Geisha, body image, breast cancer and even the movie Dirty Dancing. She is the critically acclaimed author of Paper Aeroplanes and Goose.

Dawn launched ‘Help Refugees’ in 2015, a charity that sends urgent care to refugees across Europe. She is also the host of ‘Get It On’, a weekly podcast where she interviews interesting people about why they wear what they wear.

www.dawnoporter.co.uk / @hotpatooties

The blog tour is running until 17th April – you can check out the other stops on the tour here:

blog tour banner-4.png

I received an advanced copy of The Cows for an honest and unbiased review – thank you Harper Collins!

 

Blog Tour (Pt.2): Extract of Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith

Hello and welcome back to my stop on the Follow Me Down blog tour – if you haven’t read my previous post, which will tell you a bit about this book as well as my review, you can view it here.

Now, as promised, here’s an extract of Follow Me Down – I hope you enjoy it!

Back inside, I picked up the photo and slid it back under the palm tree magnet. Opened my brother’s fridge. It was nearly empty. A carton of eggs, the usual condiments, and three cans of beer still yoked by the plastic rings, a small pile of six-pack rings next to it. I took one of the cans, opened it, took long swallows, then pressed it to my cheek and wandered down the hallway.

The bathroom light was on. The door half closed. I wanted to hear a shower running, an electric razor buzzing, but nothing. I pushed the door open. There was his toothbrush, fully pasted and ready to go, sitting on the side of the sink. It was like he was standing over the sink, looking into the mirror, about to brush his teeth when he decided, fuck it, and walked out on his life. But that didn’t make sense. Wouldn’t he at least brush his teeth before becoming a fugitive on the run? Wouldn’t he take his toothbrush with him? Or his expensive electric razor so he could maintain his neatly edged two-day beard and the look of a European soccer player? Or his hair gel or his cologne? Lucas was vain; he would still want to look good.

Even if, and I couldn’t believe he’d risk such a very public fall from grace, but even if he were to have become sexually involved with one of his students who, just through sheer bad luck, happened to be murdered, he would stay and fight the charges. He wouldn’t be able to stand that people thought he did it. His need to be known as a good guy was almost pathological. We were the approval-seeking by-products of our histrionic alcoholic mother; we just went about it differently. I cared less about being likable than being considered impressive, whereas Lucas really wanted to be liked, the guy everyone wanted around, and that was who he’d always been.

Unless. Unless he’s dead too. I wasn’t just posturing for Pruden. This was a real fear. Some yahoo, maybe the same yahoo who lit his truck on fire, went after him. The kind of red-necked guy who’d want bragging rights at every bar that he took care of that sicko teacher preying on teenage girls. I could come up with half a dozen names right now, on the spot. Guys who’d at least claim that if they were alone in a room with Haas they’d cut his dick off, but not necessarily go through with it. Guys who’d trash his truck, go after him online, but only grumble something under their breath to him in person.

I couldn’t think this. It was too hard. If some vigilante spent the last few days bragging about giving Lucas the beating of his life (that ended his life), wouldn’t Pruden have heard about it by now? I wouldn’t put it past Pruden to cover it up, but would he really keep up with a bogus hunt for Lucas? Would he have even called me here?

Fuck. Stop.

Lucas called me Friday. Pocket dial or not, he called me and that meant he was alive. I knew this was some loose reasoning, but what else could I do? Thinking my brother was dead was last-resort thinking.

I went into his bedroom. Again it was a mess, but I knew there was a method to his madness. The last time we lived together was only five years ago. Lucas came to stay with me with big plans to live in Chicago. He was dabbling in acting and modeling. It was his first attempt at something after accepting he was not going to be a professional hockey player. After the initial excitement of getting some extra work playing a firefighter on a soapy TV drama wore off, he mostly loitered around my tiny apartment between sporadic shifts as a waiter, charming my off-limits roommates, watching SportsCenter, and eating cereal from a mixing bowl. With no real direction, he claimed to be having a serious quarter-life crisis while I’d just finished my pharmacy degree and was leafing through MBA programs at different Ivy Leagues. I had dazzling visions of myself in a top hat and tails, twirling a gratuitous walking stick as I climbed the pharma corporate ladder. I’d have nicknames like Conglomerate or Powerhouse or just Moneybags.

Then, just like that, Lucas decided to move back to Wayoata and get a teaching certificate.I pressured him to stay, pointed out he had given the whole acting thing only eight months, and even if he decided to do something different with his life, there were more and better opportunities in Chicago, but I couldn’t convince him. He invoked our mother as an excuse to run home, tail firmly between legs. She’s all alone. No one goes to visit her most of the year.

There was nothing I could say to that, even if we both knew he was bullshitting. He hadn’t been that worried about Mimi before things got a little hard and aimless, so I backed off, thinking he’d quickly get bored in Wayoata anyway. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

I opened drawers, came across a leather glove at the back of his sock drawer that I guessed was the one from Mimi’s car. The sight of it gave way to the skin-crawly seasickness I always got when I thought of Mimi, her “accident.” I slammed the drawer shut. Sunk down, hugged my knees. I couldn’t decide why he would have kept it all these years. I took a few nausea-battling breaths, then reminded myself it wouldn’t be the first time we were on the receiving end of the Wayoata police department’s incompetence.

We were seventeen when our mother had her car accident. Her injuries were severe (her sodden brain hit the inside of her skull like wet toilet paper on ceiling tiles, splot). But when Lucas and I were given the go-ahead to clean out her beige-gold LeSabre (Lucas insisted we do this ourselves, like it was some kind of pseudo funeral rite), he noticed that our mother’s change was still stacked in its holder, her sunglasses still clipped to the visor. The dent on the front of the bumper where she’d smacked into a tree was underwhelming. There was even a man’s leather glove. Just one. It didn’t add up. At least not in Lucas’s opinion. I knew better. I’d tried to point out Mimi’s car was a total sty and it wasn’t really that odd that we’d find a stray glove under the heap of store receipts, flattened cigarette packets, torn panty hose, stubby lipsticks. Lucas wanted to pursue it anyway. He was fixated on the glove.

Reluctantly, heart pounding in my chest, I had gone along with him to urge the police to investigate what he thought might be a staged accident, but luckily, Pruden was no Marge Gunderson. Before Lucas could even finish what he’d been referring to as his opening argument, before he could wave the black glove around, Chief Pruden cut him off. “The roads were icy. Your mother was drunk and wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Let’s not pretend she didn’t ever drive in that sort of condition. Just be happy she hit a tree and didn’t kill some nice family.”

Case closed.

Except, during those months before leaving for college, if we saw Pruden around town, my brother would eye him up and down. Make menacing but harmless gestures, like rubbing his middle finger on the bridge of his nose or, once, the pow of a finger gun. He’d tell anyone who’d listen that Pruden was an incompetent asshole. He was seventeen and angry and felt he’d been ignored. Now I couldn’t help but wonder if Pruden hadn’t held a grudge and was taking pleasure in pinning something on my brother.

I stood up again, opened his closet, and looked for an empty space from which a suitcase had been taken, where he’d packed his spare toothbrush and spare razor. Nothing was missing but Lucas.

And his ATM card. The reminder was a gut-punch. He could technically just buy it all, toothbrush, T-shirt, jeans. He could empty his account in one fell swoop after crossing the Canadian border and then really disappear. He would go to Canada, wouldn’t he? I mean it’s right there. Only if he was guilty, but he wasn’t.

I sunk down into his bed. What the fuck was happening? I was reeling. I truly understood what it meant to reel now. I felt cold and feverish. The dim ceiling light pulsed. I rolled over and cried into the pillow that still smelled like my brother’s hair gel.