‘Call Me A Liar’ is on my TBR and I hope I can get round to it soon, however I am delighted to be hosting an extract of the book for my stop on the blog tour today. Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite. Before we get to the extract, here is a bit more about ‘Call Me A Liar’:
You could say it started with vanity. We believed we were special. But the truth is we were simply vulnerable.
Months after landing their dream job, five brilliant young minds are sent on a remote retreat.
But when one of them disappears, they’re forced to question why they were brought there in the first place.
And for the first time in their lives, they realise too much knowledge can be deadly . . .
One of them is lying.
One of them is guilty.
No one is safe.
Lewes Police Station
Let me say this: cracking Libby’s skull was not part of the plan. I can’t even remember hitting her; it was more of a violent push in the deep heat of an argument and before I could do anything to change the outcome, she was flying backwards, her head making a strange metallic sound as it connected with the stone floor. Ting! That’s the only way I can describe it, like one of those instrumental triangles we used to play in school. It was a shame about the floor too – if it had been a shag pile carpet rather than porcelain, Libby might not be unconscious in hospital. But I’m certain safety was not uppermost in their minds when they were designing that house. It was all sharp angles and hard surfaces and glinting, gleaming glass that allowed your own reflection to stalk you.
I don’t mention any of these misgivings to the police, though. My solicitor has advised me it’s not a good line of defence. They’re hardly going to charge a floor covering with a violent crime, he says.
It’s me they have in their sights, at any rate. Every question is angled towards my guilt. What I did. What I failed to do. My shortcomings – of which there are many – have been itemised and catalogued, and while individually they appear harmless enough, their combined effect in the harsh light of the interview room creates an unsettling picture. I don’t doubt this is the ploy, the web the officers are spinning around me. But it is an effective one nevertheless. Having listened to their accusations and character assassinations for the best part of eight hours, I’m beginning to scare myself.
The main issue appears to be my scant adherence to the rules. Yes, it’s true, there are rules of engagement when you find your self in such situations. Say your wife or child goes missing, say you stumble across a body, or in my case, you happen to knock out a loved one, there are set procedures and scripts to follow. Firstly, you raise the alarm. You call 999. You attempt to help the victim. You account for every second spent before help arrives. Officer, I passed wind at 2.02 p.m. You display the correct mixture of horror, fear and sadness. You cry the requisite amount of tears. Basically, you’re aiming for high levels of authenticity in every single action. Anything too forced or overly dramatic will arouse suspicion. Anything too casual and you are cold and callous. It’s a balancing act and I’m no circus entertainer. I’m failing spectacularly.
I did nothing. Try explaining that one away. I tell them I panicked but even that’s not true. I wasted precious minutes standing over Libby unable to compute what had happened. There was nothing left inside me, no nerves or sensory receptors to send messages to my brain. Even when finally I leant over her to assess the level of damage, I became instead mesmerised by my own face, gawping at me from the polished brilliance of the porcelain floor.
Well, look what you’ve done.
You thought you were special.
Turns out you’re every bit as bad as the rest.
The officers say they want to know everything, but this is a lie. They want to know everything around the narrow field of their investigation, scavenging for morsels of extraneous information that will get us nowhere while blocking out the bigger picture. I have no intention of pandering to them. I could tell them Amy Winehouse was playing on the karaoke system at the party downstairs, not Amy herself, obviously, but Will’s brutal destruction of ‘I’m No Good’, but that would be pointless scenesetting, nothing more. I could make a stab at describing the hurt Libby inflicted upon me. Her revelation chiselling into my bones. I don’t love you, I never did. How she stood in front of me and delivered this nugget of truth. I could tell them how it burnt through the epidermis right down to the subcutis, how I thought the pain might send me mad with grief, but this would provide them with a motive, allow them to craft a neat narrative around revenge.
And this is not a story about revenge.
It’s about ambition and greed, and love, I suppose, and what we do in the name of them.
I tell the officers I looked out of the window and saw the car and the two men getting into it and driving off. I tell them I ran into the hallway and that’s when I saw the smoke and felt the blistering heat.
Have I mentioned the fire?
It has been suggested several times that I started it deliberately to cover up my crime, as if an assault wasn’t enough for one evening and I decided to go the whole hog and burn the place down.
Let me say this clearly: I did not start the fire but someone else did.
Everyone invited to the party was meant to die in that fire.
And just because we survived doesn’t mean we’re safe.
Not even Libby, if she ever wakes up.