Sometimes revenge is the deadliest game of all.
A derelict farmhouse in the Essex countryside.
A deranged family.
Innocent victims picked at random.
If you’re chosen, Turn The Other Way.
Simon Bairstow is a top London surgeon. He’s performed dozens of life-saving operations. But something goes horribly wrong. The machine Eve Johnson is attached to flatlines, and suddenly her parent’s world has collapsed.
They’re hellbent on revenge, someone to answer for the horrific error that’s been made.
Noah and Jess are driving home on a busy dual carriageway and stuck in traffic. They hear thumping coming from the back doors of the transit van in front of them. When Noah steps out onto the road, he hears muffled screams.
He opens the back doors and what he sees shocks him to the core.
The van pulls off, spilling Noah onto the road.
Ignoring his wife’s plea to leave it, he hits the accelerator in pursuit of the van.
Chloe’s parents are missing. She hasn’t seen them since they left the party in Hampstead on Friday night. She needs answers, deciding to take matters into her own hands.
A serial killer is stalking the streets of Islington in North London late at night leaving his victims in a horrific way.
The press have dubbed him the Angel Attacker.
A terrifying tale of revenge with a twist that will hit you like a sledgehammer.

 

 

Extract

Enjoy!

***

CHAPTER ONE

The Past

Eve Johnson lay on the bed, tubes attached to her arm, held on with sticky plaster. The machine continued its slow, steady beep, beep, beep.

She was in the recovery room after having undergone a relatively simple, routine operation.

Simon Bairstow and his medical team had been there many times before. For him it was second nature, like eating his breakfast, brushing his teeth, or making love to his wife.

Eve’s parents were allowed inside. The two sets of grandparents had arrived but chose to remain in the waiting room. The parents needed time with their daughter.

They crouched by her bed, one on each side, holding her hand.

On the way to the hospital, Eve’s mother had bought a get-well card and some flowers, a cheap bunch of roses from a local store – the result of being in a rush to see their girl.

Her father had a box of Quality Street with a picture of the purple one on the front; Eve’s favourite.

Mrs Johnson moved her hand over Eve’s forehead. ‘She looks peaceful, bless her. She’s going to be fine, thank God.’ Relief flooded her face after the trauma her daughter had been through.

‘Yeah. It was so worrying though; I don’t want to go through that again.’

Mrs Johnson leaned over her daughter, searching her husband’s face for reassurance. ‘She’s not so pale anymore.’

‘Yes, Doctor Bairstow said the improvement would take time. She had a kidney removed; it’s a big deal.’ As Mr Johnson kissed his daughter gently on the head, Eve began twitching in the bed, struggling to breathe. Then the machine flatlined.

Mrs Johnson looked at her husband. ‘What’s going on?’

 ‘I don’t know. Eve, Eve, darling.’ He moved the cold, wet hair from her face and placed his palm on her forehead, trying to calm her.

‘Quick, get someone,’ the mother shouted furiously.

Her husband jumped up, dazed and spinning in a circle, the blood temporarily draining from his head. He darted out of the room and into the corridor of the hospital, then raced to the main desk and approached a nurse talking to someone on a mobile phone held to her left ear. She spooned pasta into her mouth with her other hand.

‘I need help,’ Mr Johnson demanded.

He could hear his wife shouting, ‘No, no, please,’ from the room where his daughter was lying

Eve’s dad quickly explained what was going on in room fourteen. The nurse reached underneath the desk and pressed an alarm button.

A few seconds later, three nurses came running along the dreary hall, followed closely by Mr Johnson. They entered the room and politely asked the mother to leave.

Eve’s parents waited by the door, clutching hands, watching as the nurses examined the girl, touching her neck and starting CPR.

Eve’s mother cried out while her husband tried his best to console her.

A few minutes went by; the nurses began shaking their heads. They’d stopped pumping on the girl’s chest.

As Eve’s mother frantically opened the door, she saw the nurses shaking their heads. Eve’s time of death was recorded at 8.46 AM.

‘No. No, don’t do that. Don’t tell me she’s dead. Keep fucking pumping.’

She struggled to get free, needing to run to her daughter, to make it all OK. Mr Johnson held her back, arms clasped around her stomach. She fought, flinging her arms and kicking out.

One of the nurses turned, telling the parents how sorry they were: they had done everything, she’d battled to the end, it was no one’s fault. All the formalities to make the parents feel better, to cope, to deal with it. But their daughter was dead. She’d had a kidney removed, something happened with an adverse reaction, and now there it was in black and white. Here one minute, gone the next.

 Suddenly, their worlds came crashing down. They say before someone dies, their life flashes in front of them, racing through their mind. Some have visions of childhood memories, running through a meadow, hand in hand with their parents, a school outing, the image of a favourite teacher from times gone by, being consoled by their parents when their confidence was at an all-time low and they felt they couldn’t go on, when life had dealt too many knocks, when they were scared to progress or to live their life. As parents, you’re always there to pick up the pieces, to give your child the motivation they need to continue, the confidence to get up, to survive, to fight back.

Eve’s mother had flashbacks as her daughter lay on the bed: Eve’s first birthday, the family gathered round, helping her blow out the one candle in the middle of the cake. The time a boy living across the street had gained the courage to walk over and ask Eve to be his girlfriend. They were only eight or nine at the time. Eve’s parents had watched from the upstairs window, laughing at the boy’s audacity. Her first netball match, her prom, the time when her dad had blushed and tried to explain the birds and the bees, stumbling over his words and walking into the other room in embarrassment, how Eve and her mother had laughed.

Now it had been taken away from them. As quickly as Eve had arrived, she had gone, leaving them with only memories to cling onto and the hope of seeing her again one day in a better life.

Mrs Johnson stood in the hall by the desk; the same nurse sat on a chair, an empty carton and half a cup of coffee placed to the side of the table. The glare from her computer screen lit up her features, showing every line and crease of her fifty-two years. The nurse had a friendly, approachable face with plump cheeks. She wore a blue uniform that showed too much cleavage, and her left eye was lazy.

‘Where’s Doctor Bairstow?’ Asked Eve’s mother.

The nurse was flustered, flicking through sheets of paper, tossing pens to the side. She looked up at Eve’s parents. ‘He’s in theatre, I’m afraid.’

 Eve’s mother hammered her fist on the desk, making the pens dance. ‘This is fucking ridiculous. Get him out now. I want to see him.’ Her face was flustered, wide- eyed and out for Simon’s blood, someone to answer for what they were going through.

The nurse looked to the side, glancing down the long corridor. ‘I’m afraid it isn’t possible. He’s carrying out an operation.’

‘I don’t give a shit if his wife’s in labour. I need to speak with him now. Do you understand?’ Mrs Johnson lunged forward, causing the desk to tilt backwards. She swung her arms and caught the nurse straight in the face. Mrs Johnson grabbed the nurse’s thick black hair and pulled her forwards, banging her head on the desk.

The nurse managed to reach up and pull a cord to the sound of alarms ringing, a red light flashing on the wall above her.

Eve’s father pulled his wife back. A few seconds later, security came running to the desk and tackled her to the floor.

Eleven days later Doctor Simon Bairstow and his wife Grace attended the funeral. Grace had convinced her reluctant husband to attend; she said that paying his respects would help him deal with the situation and feel better. It was a local church, with a hundred or so mourners. He stood at the back, to the left-hand side. He wore a black suit and looked sharp; his wife wore a white blouse, a smart jacket and a knee- length skirt.

The coffin had a picture of Eve on her graduation day; eighteen candles set out for each year of her life, the flames dancing in the slight breeze. They left when the priest called everyone to stand for the final prayer.

As Simon and Grace got into their flash car, the procession exited through the front door.

Simon blessed himself. As he pulled away, Eve’s mother spotted him outside and raced over. ‘You. You bastard. You have the cheek to show up here after what you did.’

Simon wound down the window. ‘My wife and I offer you our deepest condolences. We’re extremely sorry for your loss.’ He moved to wind the window back up.

‘You know what you can do with that?’

Simon tugged at his tie and touched the accelerator.

She called after the car as it sped off into the distance. ‘Murderer. You fucking

murdering bastard. Rot in hell. Do you hear me? Rot in hell.’

Thank you, Stuart James and Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo.

About the author

I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breathe away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.

I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness.

That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.

I have multiple stories running, past and present. A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.

A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.

A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.

A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which should be released later this year.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.

I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come. That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

stuartjamesthrillers.com

@StuartJames73

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