Sunday, 9 August 2015

No Other Darkness

No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary
Published by Headline
30th July 2015
Paperback Edition
I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Sarah Hilary's second novel No Other Darkness which came out in paperback at the end of July.  It follows on from her highly successful debut Someone Else's Skin which has just been awarded the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award.  If you haven't read it yet, my review can be found here.  To wet your appetite, here's an extract from the book, and my review will be coming soon.
She looked away from the bed, to the wall where the food cans were stacked. The bunker was organised like living space: the food kept as far as possible from the corner where a bucket was covered with a mouldy towel. The bed was segregated from the play area by a space for getting dressed and undressed. The degree of organisation said this was a long-term arrangement. Permanent, the way a life sentence is permanent. Pitiful. 
She tried to imagine bagging and tagging the contents of the bunker. Most of it would fall apart the second it was touched. Rust had eaten under the ring-pulls on the tins, growing ghostly green flowers. The tins touched a memory, frail, in the back of her head. Steel wants to be iron oxide. She’d learned that at school, remembered the teacher telling the class, ‘We dig it up and beat it into steel, but it doesn’t last. Steel wants to be iron oxide.’ Kettles, cans and cars, the foundations of a thousand high-rises, all with the same ruddy heart lusting to be iron oxide again, to corrode or collapse. It was happening down here, in the dark. She could taste the iron on her tongue, its flavour like blood.  
She shone her torch on the nearest of the cans, to check whether any attempt had been made to open it, and to see what kind of food it contained.  
In the wreckage of one peeling label she read, ‘Peaches.’  
She must’ve eaten tinned peaches as a child. Syrupy, slippy, a pink taste although the fruit was orange. She reached out and touched a fingertip, just a tip, to the nearest can. Rust whispered under her gloved touch, like feathers.  
They wouldn’t get fingerprints from anything in here.  
In which case, how would they find whoever did this?  
She needed to know who was responsible for what she couldn’t look at, not yet.  
Her mobile phone pressed hard into her hip as she crouched by the side of the bed. The torchlight didn’t make a difference, not really. It just stirred at the shadows, like a stick stirring at mud. She looked around for child-sized torches. Surely they weren’t expected to get dressed in the dark, or to use the bucket in the dark, and why allow them books unless – 
Under the pillows.  
They’d put the torches under their pillows, to keep them safe and close at hand. They’d cuddled together because of the dark. Scared – 
The word wasn’t big enough.
Happy Reading
Miss Chapter x

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