Book Extract: Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot

TA81E4FE9-D77C-442E-940F-2486B11862DFhe blog tour train rolls in today for Keep Her Silent, the new novel by Theresa Talbot.

Ooonagh O’Neil is back with another dark and chilling investigation… ͚Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you͛ That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks.

Could Oonagh be the next target…? Authentic and gritty, Keep Her Silent is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. 

 

Theresa and her publisher Aira have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy. 

****** start of extract*****

Oonagh drove north along the coast road, the same one her dad took her on as a kid.

Maidens beach stretched out to her left, white horses crashing against the shore; the silhouette of Culzean Castle perched on the hilltop contrasted against the early evening sunlight. She turned left onto a single-track road and eased her car through the woodland area until she got to the clearing. It didn’t matter how many times she’d visited, the sight of the castle always made her catch her breath. Nestled in the crook of the Ayrshire coastline, the gardens enjoyed an almost tropical micro-climate from the Gulf Stream.

She’d arranged to meet Maura Rowinson at seven. The estate was part of a National Trust property, but Maura had assured Oonagh she could access the castle after closing as she had rented an apartment.

Oonagh followed the road round to the right of the main castle to the luxury holiday apartments and parked in the courtyard. There was only one other car there, an MG, British racing green. Oonagh parked alongside and switched off the engine.

She caught a brief glimpse of someone at the window, but her arrival would have been obvious for several minutes given the length of the drive. As she got out of the car a slight flutter of nerves played on her chest, but she’d left Gerry, her production assistant, in a pub less than three miles away with a mobile phone, access to a landline and instructions to call the cops if she didn’t check in within the hour.

A middle-aged woman with blonde hair tied back in a ponytail came out to greet her. She looked familiar, but Oonagh couldn’t place her. ‘Oonagh.’ She stretched out her hand; Oonagh smiled.
‘Maura? Good to meet you. In person,’ she added and allowed herself to be led inside and through to the main room, which looked out onto the Firth of Clyde.

There wasn’t much that still impressed Oonagh, but this view did. She stood at the window.

‘Wow, this is magnificent.’

‘Not bad, is it?’

‘Long-term let or…?’

‘I’m here for the summer.’

39B5EB0B-0BB8-4DF8-A60D-6FB0E52B9EA7A slight finger of anxiety stroked her chest and Oonagh wanted the small talk over.

The view was impressive and the house designed to within an inch of its life, but that wasn’t why she was here. She’d found Maura online. Or rather Maura had found her.

It wasn’t uncommon for people to contact Oonagh with the promise of a story. The next big scoop. More often than not they were nutters, but occasionally there was a
story worth following. It had taken several emails and a few furtive telephone conversations before Maura had finally opened up enough to tell her it was a story connected to the tainted blood scandal. Oonagh’s first instinct had been to pass it on to the health correspondent.

She had little interest in the saga. Haemophiliacs infected with hep C – or was it hep B she could never remember? – from contaminated blood products. They’d been campaigning for years for compensation and there was little more that could be told on the story. But Maura had convinced Oonagh that her take was different.

Said she had a human interest story that would be wasted on the health corr. It had been a while since Oonagh’d been to Culzean so she’d agreed to meet her.

‘Tea?’

There was a current trend for people to have ‘do not resuscitate’ cards on them. Oonagh wondered if there were similar ones with ‘no more tea’.

‘No, I’m good, thanks.’

‘So, shall we get down to business?’

Oonagh was a bit surprised, she hadn’t expected her to be quite so direct, but since she was: ‘Yip, fine by me. So, what’s the new angle on this?’

‘I’m not quite sure where to begin.’

Oonagh decided against saying the obvious and just let Maura continue at her own pace.

‘I need you to know that the world was a different place then. No Internet, no email – we didn’t even have mobile phones.’

Oonagh fingered her own mobile in her pocket.

‘Oonagh, what d’you know about the tainted blood scandal?’ Maura cut in and interrupted herself before Oonagh had a chance to answer. ‘Of course, you’re completely across it – you’re a journalist.’

Oonagh felt a wee bit stung, and slightly embarrassed. Yes, she knew the basic details but couldn’t recite it chapter and verse. Medical negligence stories were ten a penny. ‘I’m… familiar with it.’ She hoped Maura would fill in the gaps. She took her hand-held recorder from her bag and placed it on the coffee table.

‘I’d rather you didn’t.’

Oonagh glanced at the machine and toyed with the idea of switching it on regardless, but didn’t.

‘We stumbled across it by accident.’

‘We?’

‘That doesn’t really matter at this stage, but we had no idea people would get killed.’

‘OK, hold on. Can we start at the beginning?’ Oonagh began to feel slightly uneasy. She glanced at her phone. One bar; shite signal.

‘Please, just hear me out. It’s not easy to get this all in chronological order.’ Maura was drumming her fingernails on the coffee table. Her nerves were rubbing off on Oonagh, and irritated the hell out of her.

‘You seem a little… anxious, Maura.’

‘Really?’ She didn’t even try to disguise the sarcasm in her voice. Instead she gave a quick smile and crossed her legs, tucking her hands underneath. Fingers interlocked. Oonagh gave a weak smile.

‘What is it you want to talk to me about? It’s not just the tainted blood scandal, is it? That story’s years old.’

***** end of extract*****

 

theresa talbotAbout Theresa: 

Theresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel. Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.

Follow Theresa on Twitter: @theresa_talbot, Facebook: @TheresaTalbotBooks or her website: http://www.theresatalbot.com

 

Keep her Silent was released in August and is available in most UK book shops. To view the book on Amazon, click on this link: mybook.to/KeepHerSilent  Kobo: http://bit.ly/2KtnDBg , iBooks: https://apple.co/2KscfoZ  and Google Play: http://bit.ly/2u0VxlQ

Follow Aria (Theresa’s publisher,)  www.ariafiction.com.

 

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Laura
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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