I can’t believe how long it is since I read Penance by Theresa Talbot, my review of which you’ll find here. Having so enjoyed that book, I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Theresa’s latest book Keep Her Silent. I have a fantastic extract for you today.
Keep Her Silent
Ooonagh O’Neil is back with another dark and chilling investigation…
‘Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you’
That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…
When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?
Authentic and gritty, Keep Her Silent is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Susie Steiner, and Karin Slaughter, Patricia Gibney.
And just so that you can see for yourself, here’s an extract!
An Extract from Keep Her Silent
Oonagh stared at the screen, which was threatening to give her snow blindness.
Three months into her six-months deadline and her book still hadn’t materialised. She’d written every day of her professional life for the past twenty years, yet she was struggling when it came to this.
The building work would be finished shortly and then there would be really nothing else to occupy her. She wandered from room to room and wondered if this place would ever feel like home again.
Writing a crime novel had seemed like the natural thing to do. Of course, she’d got an agent and a publishing deal within days. She wasn’t vain enough to believe it was her writing prowess that clinched the deal. Oonagh knew she was a marketable commodity. Her name would guarantee free publicity with press interviews and put bums on seats at book festivals. Even if her book was shite, it would sell enough copies in the first run to make it worthwhile for the publishers. But her book wasn’t shite. It just wasn’t there at all.
She opened up her emails. Upsetting as they were, they provided an almost welcome relief from her deadline. Just a few had trickled in at first, then they’d gained momentum until there were a dozen or so each week. People from all over the world contacted her detailing the abuse they’d suffered, some as kids, but not all. Some at the hands of the church, but again not all.
I was given up for adoption when I was just three days old. Your programme brought home the horrors of thousands of families torn apart by the Magdalene institutes…
My mother was born in a Magdalene laundry. She never spoke of her past, or her experience, but I now feel I have a better understanding of the pain she felt…
I was fourteen when my scout leader first abused me… I’m a grandfather now and have never told a living soul what happened. But I’m slowly realising that it wasn’t all my fault…
She slammed the lid closed. ‘Damn.’ Of all the stories she’d covered in her career, the abuse that went on behind the doors of Glasgow’s Magdalene Laundry had opened up the floodgates and provoked a bigger response than she could ever have imagined. Normally Oonagh would have been chuffed to bits, but there was just too much shit in the world, too much unhappiness to deal with.
She sat on the top step, hugging her knees to her chest.
Outside was threatening rain, so fairly decent weather for Glasgow. Cat head-butted her leg. She’d considered getting rid of him after her attack. But found that, despite the fact he’d tried to eat her face to finish her off, she’d grown quite fond of him. She had little memory of the attack itself, just a vague fuzzy recollection of lying at the bottom of the stairs and Cat lapping the blood that had gathered in a pool by her head. That memory gap should have been a good thing, blotted everything out, but instead she filled the gaps herself, each image more gruesome and horrific than the last.
She grabbed her jacket from behind the door and checked her car keys were in her bag. ‘Mind the house whilst I’m out and don’t open the door to any strangers.’ Cat glanced at her for a moment, sniffed the bottom of the stairs then darted out of the front door.
The traffic was fairly light and she made her way along Byres Road to the studio. She pulled into a parking space just as Ross was pulling out. He gave her an exaggerated wave and a smile that she didn’t trust; Oonagh noticed the baby seat was missing from the back and guessed he’d be off on a hot date.
She had a few minutes to spare and nipped into Make-up. ‘Oh, Oonagh, I wasn’t expecting you here.’ Abby looked at the clock and Oonagh touched her arm.
‘No. It’s OK, I’m not booked in.’ She slipped the square silk scarf from her neck. ‘Can you just do me a quick repair job?’
Abby was the make-up of make-up artists. A genius who could obliterate hangovers, forty-eight-hour drug binges and the red-eyed evidence of a broken romance with a wave of her magic brushes. She examined Oonagh’s neck with apparent impartiality. ‘You know, hon, you can hardly see it; it’s really faded.’
‘Mm… maybe, but can you just dab a bit of powder and paint on it anyway?’ Abby complied and in less than ninety seconds all trace of Oonagh’s scar was gone. She examined herself in the mirror. ‘Thanks, Abby.’ She reached over and kissed her before heading off to Alan’s office.
(I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to bump Keep Her Silent to the top of my hundreds high TBR!)
About Theresa Talbot
Theresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel.
Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.
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