Liar Liar is the third in the Grace Allendale Series, and it’s one where I go back to my roots a little. This book has more from the characters as well as Grace being the main focus. It’s a book about stalking, your past catching up with you, what you would do to cover up the truth, or the lies… it’s a book where you will question everything until it all comes together at the denouement.
For any of you who have read the Allie Shenton series, the setting is the same one as in Only The Brave, at Harrison House, a notorious block of flats in the city. I thought this would be apt as for this book, I’ve also brought Allie Shenton into it more. It’s been great to see Grace and Allie working together.
I’ve just completed the first draft of book 4, where the subplots from Hush Hush are all tied up. It’s been a nightmare to write, in terms of completing each thread but I’ve enjoyed it now it’s come together.
If you can’t wait, here’s a sneak preview of chapter one, Liar Liar…
Caleb Campbell freewheeled down Ford Green Road, taking the bend a little too sharply for the icy road conditions as he weaved his way past the evening traffic. It was nearly half past six and he was meeting Seth Forrester in less than five minutes. It wouldn’t do to be late. He’d seen first-hand what Seth was capable of when he was annoyed; wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of him.
He turned left and raced along Rose Avenue, making a mental note to buy new batteries for his lights as he took a sharp right into the entrance that led to Harrison House.
It had been trying to snow for most of the day, the damp sludge soaking his jeans but at least he wouldn’t be late. It wasn’t cool to be pedalling like the clappers on his BMX. Caleb had been saving up for a new pushbike and couldn’t wait until he had enough money for it. Almost there, it wouldn’t take long now before he had the rest. He’d had to hide the stash from his older brother and his mum, for different reasons. His brother would probably tell his mum; his mum would want to know how he had managed to acquire four hundred pounds.
He’d earned the money from Seth. It was only fetching and delivering parcels, small items, things he could carry on his bike. His friend Shaun had told him not to get involved with Seth; said he’d end up as a drug runner for him. But Caleb was cleverer than that. He would earn what he needed and then stop.
When he heard a woman cry out, he glanced up to see where the noise had come from. He skidded to a stop on the bike, unable to believe his eyes. Before he knew what was happening, there was a scream, a dull thud and a moment’s silence before all hell broke loose.
Caleb froze. He knew Seth was dangerous, but this? Had he really just . . .
Realising he had seen too much, he turned back the way he’d come and pedalled away quickly. If he stayed here, he would be picked up and questioned by the police. If he became a witness, he would be persecuted, maybe threatened not to testify. And there was no way he could deliver his package now.
‘I saw nothing,’ he repeated over and over. ‘I saw nothing. I saw nothing.’
There were cameras on the main road so he took a right out of the car park and skidded down an alleyway that led him onto another road. Across that and he was in the middle of the Bennett estate.
After a few minutes, he slowed to catch his breath. Chucking his bike to the floor, he paced up and down beside it, covering his mouth with his hand to stop the vomit that was threatening to erupt.
What the hell had happened back there?
Caleb had seen way too much. If he couldn’t hold his nerve and lie through his teeth, he was a dead man walking.
Mary Stanton had lived in Harrison House for five years. Retired seven years ago now, she’d moved in shortly after her husband had died. Their two sons had left the city in their early twenties to do better things. One lived in Devon, the other Brighton. She didn’t get to see them much nowadays; could remember the last time she had held her grandson, Sebastian, in her arms as if it were yesterday, but in fact it was over six months ago.
She didn’t mind so much. They were busy, had their lives without her, and who would want to come back here when they had friendlier neighbourhoods, good jobs and prospects further afield?
Mary didn’t get out much and didn’t see many people, so the walkway outside her flat was her lifeline. When her legs weren’t playing up, she could stand there for hours, leaning on the concrete railing. Even when the pain of rheumatoid arthritis got particularly bad, she could perch herself on a high stool. She loved to watch the activities of the people around her. Everyone knew her; waved at her when they went past. Sometimes she even looked after a child or two, if anyone was in dire need of a helping hand. She enjoyed that, as long as she wasn’t taken for granted.
Plus she liked it at Harrison House. It was only three storeys high, not like one of the huge tower blocks in the city centre. There was a camaraderie she enjoyed, despite a lot of the tenants coming and going before she got to know them. She wouldn’t say she was a busybody but she did know a lot of what went on. People liked to offload to her, share gossip too. Of course she never said anything to anyone, so she had garnered a certain trust among the regular tenants, often being seen as a confidante. Her eyes and ears were the best things she had left. At least she could be a small part of the community.
Should she go outside? After all, she would have been there under normal circumstances. People might notice she was missing. She pushed herself up to standing, then sat back down again with a thump.
She couldn’t go out. Not after what she had seen. There had been a commotion to her right, people in the car park. And then across the way, something else was happening. That awful scream. Then she had seen something that would haunt her forever.
So when the police called, because she was certain they would, she would say only one thing.
‘I saw nothing,’ she whispered under her breath, her stomach swishing around with nausea. ‘I saw nothing.’