To mark the publication of Trance by Adam Southward, I am delighted to be hosting an exclusive extract of this very book. Billed as an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, with a speculative twist, Trance is, according to crime writer John Marrs, “A tense, original thriller that perfectly blends the nail-biting suspense and shocks of Silence of the Lambs and Shutter Island.”
So what’s it about?
Three university scientists are found dead in a gruesome murder-suicide, and the only suspect in the case, Victor Lazar, is quickly captured. When the spate of violent suicides follows him to prison he is moved to solitary confinement, reserved for the highest-risk inmates. And then his assigned psychologist inexplicably takes his own life. Alex Madison, a former forensic psychologist turned private therapist, is brought in to interview Victor. He suspects that Victor is controlling his victims, somehow coaxing them into a suggestive trance. It seems like science fiction, but as Alex digs deeper he uncovers a frightening reality of secret research and cruel experimentation—and the perpetrators are closer to home than he could ever have imagined. Too late, Alex learns the true extent of what Victor is capable of—and who he’s after. With everything he holds dear at risk, can Alex take control of a dangerous mind—before it takes control of him?
So here for your enjoyment, is an extract of the book, just to whet your appetites a little more…
Sophie kept glancing at Alex as they descended the stairs to the guard station. He noticed it and wondered what was bothering her.
‘Will you be assessing him?’ she said, after several steps.
‘Him. Thirteen. Victor Lazar.’
Alex slowed and turned to her. ‘Mr Lazar is why I’m here. Thirteen?’
Sophie’s eyes narrowed. ‘It’s what he called himself when he arrived. Thirteen. So that’s a yes?’
Alex was surprised at her reaction. ‘What do you know about him?’
Sophie bit her lip. ‘Not much,’ she said. ‘His case is sensitive. Robert has access to the full case file. I don’t.’ She shrugged and walked faster.
Alex hadn’t seen the full case file yet either. He’d had a summary history emailed to him by the CPS but was told the full information would be available once he was on site.
As well as the unusual circumstances surrounding Victor Lazar’s arrest, there was the headline mystery, which was that Victor’s previous psychologist had committed suicide while treating him. Dr Henry Farrell, an experienced clinician close to retirement, had interviewed Victor alone in his cell for an hour. He’d left the cell complaining of a headache and driven home to call his wife, who was out of town. He’d made various nonsense statements over the phone, which his wife couldn’t accurately recollect, then jumped out of a third-floor window, landing on the concrete driveway. He was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
Alex could no doubt suggest several theories why a sane and intelligent man would take his own life, but the association with Victor was bizarre and curious. Victor appeared to be special – a potentially untreatable psychopath if the initial report was anything to go by. But that didn’t explain Dr Farrell’s behaviour. Connected or not, Alex intended to find out.
Trance is published 1st July by Thomas & Mercer (published in paperback and ebook, price £4.99)
Available at Amazon
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