Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m absolutely delighted to share a wonderful extract from Suspects by Lesley Pearce. But before we dive right in, here is a little more about the book and its fabulous author!
About the Book
Welcome to Willow Close, where everyone is a suspect . . .
Nina and Conrad best thought they’d discovered their dream home.
But on the day they move in, a body is found – the victim attacked and killed in the woods.
As police start to question the residents, they discover that they all have their own secrets.
Behind each door, strange and even dark things are happening . . .
Now everyone is a suspect. And no one is safe.
About the Author
International bestselling author Lesley Pearse has lived a life as rich with incidents, setbacks and joys as any found in her novels. After her mother died, Lesley spent three years in an orphanage before she was taken home when her father remarried.
Resourceful, determined and willing to have a go at almost anything Lesley left home at sixteen. By the mid Sixties she was living in London, sharing flats, partying hard and married a trumpet player in a Jazz rock band. She has also worked as a nanny, a Playboy bunny and designed and made clothes to sell to boutiques.
It was only after having three daughters that Lesley began to write. The hardships, traumas, close friends and lovers from those early years were inspiration for her beloved novels. She published her first book at 49 and has not looked back since.
‘What on earth has Harry got now?’ Maureen Willis asked her husband Rob, pointing to their Border Terrier, which appeared to have found something interesting a little way ahead of them under a bush.
‘Harry. Leave it!’ Rob yelled. He looked back to his wife, with a shrug of resignation. ‘Please don’t let it be fox poo. Seven on an already hot morning and we’ll never get the stink off him.’ The couple speeded up to get their dog under control. Rob reached him first and Maureen heard him gasp in horror. ‘What is it?’ she called, panting a little with the exertion of getting her twelve-stone weight up the hill.
Rob had stopped short. Even from a distance Maureen could see, from the way he’d clapped his hand over his mouth, it was something gruesome. ‘Don’t come any closer,’ Rob shouted, waving his arms as further warning, then he bent over to put the dog on his lead.
‘What is it?’ she called.
Rob looked down at the young girl sprawled on the ground, half under a bush. Her long blonde hair was matted with congealing blood, which also covered her bare arms and clothing. He could tell by her coltish limbs she was no more than twelve or thirteen. His stomach heaved at the savage attack. Turning away, he said to Maureen, ‘Call the police, love. It’s a child who’s been attacked. I’m pretty certain she’s dead.’
At nine thirty the same morning, Conrad Best drove a hired van loaded with his and his wife Nina ’s belongings into Willow Close, and paused, taking in the carefully tended open-plan front gardens, and the serenity of the street. He turned to Nina in the passenger seat. ‘Do you think we could be in swingers’ territory?’
Nina laughed. She could always rely on Conrad to think of something smutty. But she could follow his thinking. In her opinion Willow Close in the bright sunshine was more Stepford Wives than swingers. Everything was perfect, from the neat borders of petunias and busy lizzies to the snowy white nets at sparkling windows, and gleaming, recently washed and waxed cars on drives.
But maybe Conrad had picked up on something else, a darker side to such perfection. Was it possible the residents threw parties where they swapped partners? If so, she hoped they weren’t watching her and Conrad right now with a view to drawing them into it. ‘Just keep that thought to yourself. I want to get on well with my new neighbours,’ she said reprovingly.
Conrad had no filter: he was quite likely to come right out and ask someone which people were swingers. ‘It’s so good to finally get a house of our own. Even the sun’s shining today.’
‘And the police have come to welcome us.’ Conrad pointed out a squad car parked just beyond their house. ‘Unless, of course, a swingers party got out of hand?’
‘You always think the worst.’ Nina giggled. ‘They might not be on criminal business. Maybe the policeman lives here and popped home for a coffee.’
Conrad parked the van outside the garage of number three, and looked thoughtfully across the road, where some neighbours had suddenly come out of their houses to get together. ‘Look at that lot. They ’ve come out for more than a lost dog or a broken window.’
Nina saw he was right. The body language and facial expressions of the people clustered together suggested they were discussing something distressing.
But the young couple had been dreaming of their own home for so long that their joy wiped out any-thing else that might be going on. They leapt out of the van gleefully.
Suspects by Lesley Pearse was published 24th June 2021, by Penguin Michael Joseph in hardback.
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With thanks to Megan, EDPR and Michael Joseph for my blog tour invite!