Originally published: 2 May 2019
Author: William Shaw
Published by: Riverrun
Page count: 400
A little different to my usual posts as I am doing my first ever extract! Deadland is the 2nd book in the Alexandra Cupidi series and as I’m loving crime fiction at the moment, I just know I’m going to love this! The cover is just so atmospheric and bleak!
YOU CAN RUN
The two boys never fitted in. Seventeen, the worst age, nothing to do but smoke weed; at least they have each other. The day they speed off on a moped with a stolen mobile, they’re ready to celebrate their luck at last. Until their victim comes looking for what’s his – and ready to kill for it.
YOU CAN HIDE
On the other side of Kent’s wealth divide, DS Alexandra Cupidi faces the strangest murder investigation of her career. A severed limb, hidden inside a modern sculpture in Margate’s Turner Contemporary. No one takes it seriously – even the artwork’s owners, celebrity dealers who act like they’re above the law.
YOU CAN DIE
But as Cupidi’s case becomes ever more sinister, as she wrangles with police politics and personal dilemmas, she can’t help worrying about those runaway boys. Seventeen, the same age as her own headstrong daughter. Alone, on the marshes, they’re pawns in someone else’s game. Two worlds are about to collide.
Tap and Sloth, two teenage boys, decide to steal a mobile phone. Their first attempt goes wrong, so they head off for a second attempt at the same location, the local train station.
…Second time was definitely a better location. There was no CCTV on the cut-through from the station down to TK Maxx.
‘See?’ said Sloth.
He was right. They arrived there as a local train pulled in. Coming off the platform, exactly the same thing, everyone pulling out their phones. ‘I’m home, love.’ ‘Need anything from the shop?’ Made it easy.
But by the time they’d figured out the area, everyone from the first train had gone, so they had to wait for the next one from London to pull in. They found a spot to hide this time, tucked out of the way beside the Chinese takeaway.
‘Spliff?’ said Tap after fifteen minutes.
‘Might slow you down a bit.’
‘I don’t need slowing down, bruv. Stay woke, not broke.’
‘Deep. Just keep it nice and subtle this time. All right?’
‘Like a girl asking me not to be rough with her.’
‘’K off. You wouldn’t even know what that’s like.’
Neither of them would, as a matter of fact.
A train arrived. Sloth started up the motor again. The first commuters were too tightly packed together to bother with. It was like lions, you had to wait to pick off stragglers.
They both saw him at the same time. Ordinary-looking bloke. Jeans and brown jacket. Balding slightly. Earring. Holdall in his left hand, phone at his right ear. The man’s face was red, as if he was flustered. From where they sat, out of view, they couldn’t make out what he was saying.
‘What’s he got?’
And then, as if just to oblige them, the man held out his phone, looked at his screen, then returned it to his ear and continued talking.
‘iPhone X,’ said Tap, quietly. ‘Look. For sure. Get a few hundred for that. Easy.’
‘Got to be. Look at the size.’
The man paused by the gate. They could hear him talking now. It sounded like ‘Keep your hair on. You still get to keep your half, I just get all the rest.’
‘Come this way, come this way,’ whispered Sloth.
Tap was suddenly unsure. There was something odd about this man, the tightly wound way he gripped that bag at his shoulder, the redness of his face. Later he would wonder if he should have said something, told Sloth to leave it, but in front of him on the bike, Sloth seemed so sure.
The man ended the call, reached down, opened the bag, and placed the phone inside.
‘See that?’ said Sloth.
This time Sloth did everything right. The moment the man was past them, walking across the expanse of litter-strewn tarmac, Sloth kicked hard on the pedal and launched the bike forward off the stand, out of the darkness at the side of the old takeaway restaurant. The man didn’t have a chance. In the second that he heard the sound of the motor coming up behind him and stopped to turn, Sloth braked a touch, slowing the bike just for long enough.
Afterwards, they roared down the ramp onto the pavement, bumping onto the carriageway, Tap clutching the stolen holdall to his chest and shouting, ‘Got it this time, bro.’
And Sloth accelerated round a white BMW 218i Sport, shouting, ‘Sweetness.’
The feeling was mad; the fear and thrill like being on the wildest theme park ride, only better.
Thank you to Corinna at Riverrun for my copy and for inviting me on the blog tour. For all the other posts on this tour, be sure to check out the other bloggers below.
About the author:
WILLIAM SHAW was born in Newton Abbot, Devon, grew up in Nigeria and lived for sixteen years in Hackney. He has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger, longlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and nominated for a Barry Award. A regular at festivals, he organises panel talks and CWA events across the country. He is the author of the Breen & Tozer crime series set in sixties London: A Song from Dead Lips, A House of Knives and A Book of Scars; and the standalone The Birdwatcher. Salt Lane and Deadland are spin-offs to The Birdwatcher. For over twenty years he has written on popular culture and sub-culture for various publications including the Observer and the New York Times. He lives in Brighton with his family.