Thursday 31 August 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ 99 Red Balloons by Elizabeth Carpenter

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for 99 Red Balloons by Elizabeth Carpenter where I welcome Elizabeth to my blog where she has kindly provided an extract from his latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

It’s been forty-two hours. It feels like it’s getting darker in the mornings since she’s been gone, but I must be imagining it; the clocks don’t go back for another month. Grace will be back before then. She has to be. 
The only person who’s slept longer than a few hours is Jamie and that’s because I made him. Even then he woke up upset, asking if Grace was back. The last helicopter patrol was last night. The sound of the propellers reminded us that Grace is out there somewhere. The police have searched the newsagent’s, playgrounds, car parks, her friends’ houses, neighbours’ houses, and places I didn’t know existed in town. It’s like she’s just vanished.
Between us, Mum and I have managed to straighten the house and get it looking as though it hasn’t been pulled apart. Unlike the initial search of the house, the police were more thorough yesterday. They tried, but didn’t put everything back as it was. We ran Emma a bath so she didn’t have to watch as we put things away.
People have been bringing round dishes of lasagne, sausage casseroles, pies, which cover almost every kitchen surface. We’ve only eaten the ones from the next-door neighbours. Mum said we shouldn’t trust any of the others as we don’t know where they’ve come from. I thought she was being picky, but when the Family Liaison Officer, Nadia, didn’t touch them either, they went in the bin.
There’s a knock at the door.
‘I’ll get it.’ Nadia gets up from her place in the kitchen. She sits near the doorway. We can’t see her, but she’s close enough to hear what’s being said in the sitting room. Perhaps she’s been told to listen to what we say in case one of us knows where Grace is. Whatever the reason for her being here is, at least we don’t have to answer the door any more.
‘Those bloody reporters,’ says Matt. ‘Can’t they leave us alone? If they’ve got nothing useful to tell us, they should just keep the hell away.’
He still won’t look at me for more than a few seconds. Should I have replied to his message the other night? What would I have said? Text messages are terrible when discussing something important, but we can’t talk properly here. There are too many people around us all the time.
‘It’s Detective Hines,’ says Nadia. She stands with her back to the fireplace and folds her arms.
‘Morning,’ he says. He looks as though he’s been wearing the same suit for days. His tie is about three inches from the top of his collar. There are bags under his eyes and stubble is beginning to shadow his face. ‘I want to make a television appeal.’ 
Emma’s sitting in the chair by the window, her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms wrapped around them. It takes her a few seconds to acknowledge that someone has spoken.
‘Pardon?’ Her voice is cracked; she hasn’t spoken for hours.
‘An appeal,’ says Matt. ‘They want us to go on television.’
‘You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,’ says Hines, ‘but it might help jog people’s memories if they’ve seen anything out of the ordinary.’
‘Of course,’ she says. She looks away from the detective and resumes gazing through the window. She’s waiting for Grace. Any minute now she might walk back home. Emma wants to be ready for her, to open the door. ‘If we do it,’ she says, ‘I want Stephanie to be with me.’
Hines writes in his notepad again. ‘And you’re Grace’s aunt?’
Why does he keep asking me that? I thought detectives remembered everything.

‘Yes,’ I say.



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