Welcome to the latest stop on the blog tour marking the release of Kill Me Twice, a compelling and nerve-shredding psychological thriller from Simon Booker, and a follow up to his debut Without Trace which introduced us to feisty investigative journalist Morgan Vine.
Read on for a tantalising extract…
Karl Savage is dead.
He must be. His ex, Anjelica, is in prison for murdering him in an arson attack. Multiple forensic experts testified to finding his charred remains.
So when Anjelica begs investigative journalist Morgan Vine to prove her innocence, it seems an impossible task. It doesn’t matter that Karl was abusive. That Anjelica has a baby to care for. That she’s petrified of fire. The whole world knows Karl is dead.
Then he turns up outside Morgan’s window . . .
Her solicitor said the evidence against her was purely circumstantial. No jury would convict.
But here she is. And here she’ll stay, unless someone champions her cause.
‘They said I’d have done anything to stop Karl taking my baby, which was true.’ Angelica checks herself, swallowing. ‘But not that. Not setting fire to his flat…’ She swallows again, eyes brimming with tears.
Morgan lets Anjelica sob. She scans the woman’s bruises, the cuts on her cheek. She doesn’t need to ask how they got there. Weeks of hostile press coverage cemented the woman’s reputation as a callous killer. A heartless mother.
Mum murdered lover while sick baby cried.
The overweight prison officer is in the doorway, hands on her hips.
Morgan checks her watch.
‘Still got twenty minutes.’
‘My shift’s over. There’s no one to supervise.’
Anjelica looks panic-stricken.
‘We don’t need anyone to supervise.’
The officer rolls her eyes.
‘Two minutes, make ‘em count.’
She steps outside. Anjelica starts to babble, running out of time.
‘The good Lord knows I’m telling the truth but he’s testing me every day. I need you to believe me. There’s no CCTV of me driving across London, the car doesn’t show up on the number plate recognition thing – the ANPR…’
She knows all the jargon. But still Morgan isn’t convinced.
You could have taken a friend’s car. Or a night bus. Or a minicab.
‘I need to review everything,’ she says. Her ribs are aching.
Anjelica fixes her with a glare.
‘Easy to write a book, make money,’ she says. ‘Harder to help people.’
Morgan forces half a smile. The woman is short on charm but has a point.
‘I’ll give you a decision as soon as I can.’
She gets to her feet. Anjelica follows suit, fear in her eyes, panic in her voice.
‘I can’t lose my baby. I can’t be in here. Not for something I didn’t do.’ She pauses, her voice falling to a whisper. ‘God forgive me for saying this, but if you don’t help me I’ll kill myself.’
The threat makes Morgan bristle with anger. The words harden her heart.
‘You know I’ll have to report what you just said.’
A steely stare.
‘Just being honest.’
The officer is back, tapping her watch, lips pursed.
‘I’ll be in touch,’ Morgan says. But Anjelica isn’t finished.
‘I read your book. It says you have a daughter.’
The woman stares Morgan in the eye.
‘Think about me tonight, when you’re trying to get to sleep. Picture me here. Imagine I’m your daughter.’
‘I’ll do what I can. I promise.’
Morgan follows the officer onto the landing. She turns. Anjelica is watching, twisting the tissue in her hands, a picture of anguish. Behind her head is a poster.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Simon Booker is an author and screenwriter who has written prime time TV drama for BBC1, ITV and US TV. His UK credits include The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Holby City and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries. He has written seven plays for BBC Radio 4, worked extensively as a producer in television and radio, and as a journalist. Booker lives in London and Deal.
His partner is fellow crime writer MJ McGrath. They often discuss murder methods over breakfast.
Follow the author on Twitter @simonbooker
Kill Me Twice is available to buy here