I hope you had a great new year. Personally, I’m hoping 2013 will be a lot better than 2012, which sucked for a number of reasons. Thirteen is an exceedingly good number, though, so fingers crossed.
I’ll have a post in the next week or so with some more details/info about the Terrible novella (which just might finally have a title!); it’ll be an FAQ-style thing, so if you have any questions please do leave them in comments or use the Contact form to ask away. (I’ve already had quite a few questions about it, so I figure this will be the best way to answer them all.)
But today I have something a little different! Emily Winslow is a pal of mine from Absolute Write, and I think her book sounds awesome, so I asked her if she wanted to share an excerpt here today (it was supposed to be for yesterday, but yesterday went a bit haywire for me. My oven was condemned last week–no, seriously, I didn’t know that could happen either. But it’s a very old oven [like thirty years, I think] and the gas man came to look at it and decided we shouldn’t use it any more. So our wonderful landlord has gotten us a new oven, which will be delivered Friday [it is sad how excited I am about this]. The problem is, our old oven is smaller than what seems to have become the standard size for ovens these days, so we had a choice: buy an oven the same size as the current one for like £800, or take three inches off our countertop and buy a slightly bigger oven for a lesser price. Our landlord and I both felt the latter was the best option. So yesterday I had a bunch of work to do in the kitchen, both clearing and cleaning/tidying, and making a meal for Stephen’s co-worker who brought his big impressive power saw over to perform a countertop circumcision. Of course, the worst/hardest work is yet to come, because our old oven has its own backsplash thingy, whereas the new one does not, which means I’ll have like thirty years of grime to scrub off the tiles behind it once it’s gone, not to mention I will then need to paint those tiles to match the rest of them, and all that stuff. Not looking forward to that, particularly, or to what I am certain will be a shockingly filthy floor beneath, but oh well. I get a new oven. And the bottoms of my pots will hopefully no longer be crusted with soot after each use, requiring a complicated cleaning system involving toothbrushes and scrubby sponges just to keep them from staining my shelves. I have digressed quite a bit).
Point is, I spent all day yesterday Doing House Things, so I apologize to Emily for not posting this then. The good news, though, is that here it is now, and I hope you all enjoy it!
In the office, Lucy was talking with the new girl, who brought a newspaper in with her every day. Sometimes she spread it out on the table and it would overlap some of my envelopes. I don’t like to touch newsprint. On this one, the greasy ink made a generic picture of the river Nene in flood, near Peterborough. The words said a body had surfaced in the water there.
Lucy called the new girl Enid, which is how I learned her name. She said, “Enid, that’s disgusting!”
“That’s what water does. They have no idea who she was or how long she’s been there, really. Less than a year. More than a month. There were some hairs left to say she was fair. . . .”
I couldn’t see my notebook. The paper was opened wide, not even folded once. My notebook had to be under there. I looked for its outline, but the page about the dead person lay lightly. It curved. Anything could be under there. Or nothing. The other side, the rest of the news, lay thick and flat.
“Hi, Mathilde,” Enid said. “We’ll all have to be more careful. Someone doesn’t like girls with fair hair.”
I have fair hair. Enid’s hair is shit brown.
“She’s joking,” Lucy said. “Seriously, Enid. There’s nothing about any other victims.”
Enid shrugged. “Just haven’t found them yet.”
“Mattie, are you looking for this?” Lucy took my notebook off the seat next to her. She held it by its binding, which left the pages to flap.
I couldn’t speak. I willed her to put it down. Instead, she stood and walked around the table, holding it out. I didn’t move. “I’ll just put it in your bag,” she said. The bag had slid down to my elbow. It hung open there. The letter poked out the top.
I swung at her with the bag and took the notebook with my other hand. “Jesus Christ,” she said, jumping back. No one was in the way. I got out.
From THE START OF EVERYTHING by Emily Winslow, a novel of psychological suspense, which launches in the US from Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, today (yesterday). In hardcover, ebook and audio. The UK edition will launch in June.
“[Winslow is] brilliant at portraying the ragged fragments of these lives. What emerges isn’t a single killer with motive and means, but a tangle of stories crossing and colliding, stray intersections of incidents and accidents, misunderstandings, and misreadings, all thanks to the myopia of individual perspectives and the self-centeredness of individual desires.”
– The Washington Post
“Outstanding… A literary mystery, there are multiple viewpoints, the use of present tense and jumps in time. This dark thriller will bring chills and heavy atmosphere up to the shocking end.”
– Romantic Times, 4.5 stars out of 5
“Winslow’s second novel is compulsively readable with a final twist; a treat especially for fans of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell.”