Extract Five: Chapter5, pp.31-32
‘Jesus, Fintan! Have some respect . . .’ I stop myself, but not quickly enough for old Donkey Ears.
‘You were gonna say “for the dead”, weren’t you?’ he says, turning towards me, nostrils almost winking. ‘What do you know? Have they found her body?’
‘No. I mean we don’t even know she’s dead. I’m just assuming the worst, now he’s had his money. What use is she to him now?’
My voice cracks, straining to contain that geyser of inner terror. What if my stupidity last night led to Julie’s murder? How am I supposed to cope with that? Live with that? I screw the lid down tighter. I know she’s dead because she came to me last night. That’s how this cursed bloody condition works. But I don’t know how or when she died. There’s still a chance he killed her before the ransom drop. That would mean her death is not my fault. It makes no sense at all but, for now, I’ve got to cling to that flimsy hope . . .
I scold my emotions for running ahead of the facts. All I know for sure is I must have got close to her dead body at some point either before, during or after last night’s ransom drop. That’s the only time the dead play their games with me . . . when I’ve been physically close to their recently slain cadavers. Poor, poor Julie . . .
About the author
James Nally was a journalist for 15 years, before leaving to become a producer and director of TV and film. This is his first novel, and is based on his experiences of his years writing about the murder victims of London.