It’s time for this week’s Guest Writer. Please welcome Joy Pearson. She shares an extract from her book, Untangling the Webs, with us. If any of you would like to feature in this slot and be a Guest Writer, please contact me: email@example.com. I accept stories and non-fiction of up to 1000 words and poetry of up to 40 lines.
Here’s some information about the book, in Joy’s words, before you read the excerpt:
‘UNTANGLING THE WEBS is a mystery relationship thriller with four women, four men, and a stalker. Their ages range from early forties to seventy. Though they have had diverse backgrounds and events in their lives, their bond is strong loyalty and unconditional loving support to friends with whom they are closest. The women must overcome conflicts, toxic behaviour, unexpected emotional shocks, treachery and grief. Having to show grit, and aided by the common thread of a close female `rock’, each one struggles on towards overcoming huge obstacles assailing them, untangling strong threads of mystery, intent on achieving joy again. They have flaws and strengths in equal measure, making them believable and likeable. Humour, wisdom, music, cats, a determined female stalker, are shared with the reader – the invisible privileged guest drawn ever deeper into the colourful characters’ lives. The relevance of the men in their lives is deeply explored and the story offers riveting cliffhangers.
‘Lost letters found four years after Trudie’s married lover, Laurie, disappears without trace, offer a few clues, but a serendipitous discovery in a Cornish church reveals vital information, if Trudie is brave enough to act upon it. Alison has to deal with repercussions from unearthing vicar Henry’s and police inspector Phil’s mendacious betrayals, before meeting lovely Stephen. Her discovery of Julia’s brutish husband David’s deep secret, breaks the impasse of her friend’s stressful situation. Phoebe’s cossetted life appears idyllic, but her late husband’s previously out-of-bounds den holds a breathtaking shock, needing Alison’s help to solve the enigma. The indomitability of the human spirit is evident throughout.
‘My book is available from myself, Amazon, Waterstone’s, Independent Bookshops.
‘I am available for book talks and signings by contacting me at Joy Pearson Author on Facebook.
‘E mail – firstname.lastname@example.org I have so far 5 Star Reviews from everyone’.
Review from a reader in the USA:
‘Oh, my gosh! This is truly excellent! I’m only just started and on page 12. Alison is at Phoebe Cade’s. I am into her character already! I am observant of superb sentence structure and ear for dialogue! It reads so professionally like a seasoned writer. This can’t be your first book, I am thinking! My hat is off to you! Your success is well-earned! You wrote an outstanding novel! I understand the hard work that goes into it. Now is your time!’
Now for part of the book:
JULIA SPYING IN DOLPHIN AVENUE
The night before David de Mar’s forty-third birthday on a freezing day in December, he casually revealed he had a meeting in Yorkshire. Julia’s mouth twisted, emotions near the surface. She guessed there may be a different meeting, but kept a blank expression, difficult with knowledge gleaned from Alison. Next morning she wished him a happy birthday.
‘Yeah, while the cat’s away, the mouse can play,’ he sneered, steaming through the hall, slamming the front door.
Each time his BMW disappeared, Julia felt emotionally freer, as if a heavy overcoat had been shed. David never felt guilt so continued to taunt. She mustn’t let him suspect she had knowledge of Dolphin Avenue.
Although he’d employed a detective, Julia could do her own sleuthing. Armed with directions, she set off at ten thirty, nerves attacking. Driving seven miles to Sandstone village, she drew into a layby to check directions. Her hands quivered, reading the last direction to turn into Dolphin Avenue, number seventeen being on the right. David’s car could be outside, despite the Yorkshire story, with him in the house. She had to take the risk.
Parking to look at what lay ahead, Julia noticed aisles of lime trees, making her less visible. During her childhood in a working class street, there were no drives or garages; her father infuriated with people parking outside their terraced house. Now Julia had a detached home with a double drive she didn’t have that problem, but since David, much greater concerns had loomed.
Julia cruised down the sleepy avenue, counting odd numbers of semi-detached properties. Passing number seventeen her pulse quickened as she parked opposite. Her mouth dried. David’s car was absent but the garage to No. 17 was open. A yellow Mini was there, matching the yellow front door. Julia drove further down and re-parked. Seeing the Dolphin Avenue sign, she wondered about the name. Perhaps an Alderman called Dolphin? Irritated for straying off the point, she drank water, took deep breaths and exited the car. As nervous as if she were about to rob a bank, she gazed around. No-one, just ranks of semis. Walking across the road, her legs as wobbly as when she’d taken her driving test, a black cat sauntered past.
The high privet hedge was an advantage, tatty with gaping holes; she dipped to peer through one. A woman could be seen near the window. Seconds later the door opened, the woman shuffling to the garage. Dragging a box along the path, she heaved it into the porch. The door closed.
She was wearing a dark robe, slippers and a towel over her head. The dull December day gave no clues as to what David’s ‘squeeze’ looked like. Julia pursed her lips with frustration. ‘Damn, damn,’ she muttered under her breath. She hugged the thickly padded coat to her, trudging to the car, shuddering from remaining an undiscovered voyeur. At least she’d had a brief glimpse of David’s mistress.
She tried to freeze those seconds, as December frost had done to the hedge. That David was unfaithful was painful, all the while acting on a different stage. Clenching the steering wheel, anger welled as she wiped the misted windscreen. ‘The flack I’ve taken, accusations, when David’s been keeping a mistress. Even tried to rape me. Wasn’t he getting enough from the tart with the yellow door?!’
Julia cast a last glance at David’s secret home, now no such thing. It had, in effect freed her. Pleased her detective work had been successful, she shivered, re-joining the main road. On the way home, a plan was formulated.
Relieved to be back in her own house, Julia made a hot toddy, pondering on the surreal visit. I-Spy had previously been a game with Poppy. Julia had played the grown up version. Caressing the steaming drink, body thawed out, her mind was taking longer. Annoyed she hadn’t been able to see the mistress’s face – whoever it was, she was welcome to David. He never cleaned his car, Julia did. Now she’d stop, laundry too. ‘Ha, once he returned home with shirt buttoned up wrongly and tie askew; suspicious, but I let it go.’ She winced, recalling a further clue she’d ignored. ‘Coming home in sprayed on leather trousers, saying a colleague had gained weight and given them to him. With David’s huge girth, they didn’t fit him either.’
Putting the morning’s revelations aside, she spent a few minutes skimming through the local newspaper. A Disneyland advertisement depicting Minnie Mouse appeared, reminding her of the yellow Mini. The next page featured an article on sexual predators. ‘Would that apply to David? Depends on how many others he’s zoned in on.’ She read on, making mental notes.
‘Receives thrills from disrespecting boundaries. Shallow, charming, flattering, enjoying prey’s confusion. Cruel, self-centred, manipulative, exploiter. Sociopath – incapable of empathy or remorse, feels he’s untouchable.’
‘Absolutely him. Alison’s ex had these symptoms too.’ With a heavy sigh, discarding the newspaper, she knew she and Poppy were living amongst this.