After Jessica

The second book I wrote, back in 2009, was After Jessica, a British crime mystery, first published in October 2016.

Tagline: Wind up his late sister’s affairs, Simon gets more than he bargains for.

Blurb: Jessica is an ordinary girl who comes across extraordinary circumstances and pays for them with her life. As well as identifying her body, her brother Simon then has to wind up her affairs but gets more than he bargains for. Who is Alexis, and why are Veronica and Daniel searching for her? Why is there a roll of cash in Jessica’s house, and what’s the connection between Simon’s sister and Alexis?

Extract: He slammed both hands on the emergency brake and the train jolted, slowing nowhere near as quickly as he was pleading it to. He could hear shouting from the carriage behind him but was too busy concentrating on what, or who was in front of him to pay any attention. His first thought was another clueless animal, but as he got nearer, he realised it was a car and something inside it was moving.

As the two machines grew nearer, he could smell burning rubber and saw the smoke as the car’s tyres made contact with the edges of the track. As he stared at the inevitable, he knew nothing he or the car driver did would be enough to avoid the impact.

He stared at the driver facing him. He could see her hands gripping the steering wheel. She’d screwed her eyes shut, seemingly knowing her fate, but he guessed by her right shoulder dancing forwards and backwards that she was still trying the pedals.

Then to his surprise, she stilled and opened her eyes, staring straight at him. When they were just a few feet apart, she mouthed something which looked like “sorry” but he couldn’t be sure.

As metal hit metal, it was the highest pitch noise he had ever heard. Expecting the inevitable grinding sound, he remembered afterwards being shocked that it sounded like a beautiful violin. Of course, there was nothing beautiful about what had happened but instead of being afraid, he was calm. As calm as the woman he’d been face to face with; the woman with green eyes.

He wasn’t sure why he’d smiled and she’d done the same, just before mouthing that one final word.