Today I am taking part in the blog tour and sharing an extract from The Murder of Miss Perfect by Mark Eklid, published by Spellbound Books.
This book really appealed to me, but unfortunately I was unable to read this due to other reading commitments. I do hope to be able to read this at a later date.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Pendlebury almost died at the end of his last big case.
Three years later, he is struggling to cope with forced retirement and the frustration of failing to convict the teacher accused of killing an 18-year-old student after seducing her.
Now, he must try one more time to search for the vital piece of missing evidence the Police failed to find during the initial investigation .
Whatever the cost, this time he will make sure justice is served for the cruel murder of the beautiful young woman the media dubbed Miss Perfect.
They needed to get out of there as soon as the verdict was delivered but became swept up in the surge of bodies, all heading for the main exit.
Pendlebury, from his position towards the back of the court, was dumbstruck. All he wanted was to slink into a dark corner and hide, unnoticed, left alone. He had to try to make sense of what had just happened.
But when he noticed them, two terrified faces being jostled in the middle of the pandemonium, he understood he had a duty to fulfil first.
He bumped and barged through to reach them and extended his long, thick arms as barriers while he glanced around in search of a haven.
‘Over there,’ he said and guided them towards a small pocket of calm by the side of the public gallery.
Pendlebury used his large frame to shield them as the flow of people bustled towards the bottleneck of the exit. He looked anxious, edgy, grey.
He felt bad, but what about them? It was a million times worse for the parents.
Shane was beyond shocked. He and Kerry clung to each other as if it was the only thing stopping them from being picked up by the swirl of confusion and hurled into the abyss. Tears rolled from her eyes and she did nothing to hide or dry them.
Eleven months earlier, they could only watch helplessly as their hearts were torn from their chests and ravenously devoured. Those barely-healed wounds were gaping again but this time there was nothing left to gorge on. All that remained was their still-empty shells.
Pendlebury could give them no comfort. There was no comfort. None at all. There was nothing he could say and nothing more he could do. All he could offer was his body as a physical barrier to save them from being injured.
The only way he could have served them the smallest solace, the tiniest possibility that they could pick up the pieces of their shattered lives again, was to deliver them a guilty verdict. He hadn’t been able to do that.
He had let them down.
They should be bitter about that. They had every right to be. They trusted him and he failed them.
But bitterness was for another day.
Not this day. Not now. All he saw in those frightened eyes now was the empty pain of another unanticipated wound, like a family pet cowering after a savage, undeserved beating. Those eyes will never trust again. Never give unreservedly again.
The surge had slowed. Pendlebury checked over his shoulder to see if they were able to move away from their sheltered space.
‘Let’s get you out of here,’ he said.
Shane nodded, eagerly, desperate to get away.
‘There’ll be a scrum outside, cameras and such. Did you want to say anything to the press?’
Kerry glanced at her husband. She was immaculately dressed, as she had been every day during the case, this time wearing an all-white suit with a pale grey blouse. She was a beautiful mid-forties woman, honey-blonde hair lapping over her shoulders. The media loved her, borderline obsessing over her through the course of this wretched ordeal.
It was easy to see where their daughter had got her looks from.
There was a flash of panic in her wide blue eyes. Shane recognised it too, like they had both just realised another small horror had still to be faced.
‘I was going to,’ he said, reaching to the inside pocket of his dark blue suit jacket. He pulled out a folded sheet of paper. ‘I wrote a speech. But it was for when they found him guilty. I didn’t…’
Pendlebury bowed his head. None of them saw any other verdict coming.
THE MURDER OF MISS PERFECT BLOG TOUR
Follow the tour along the way for these bloggers thought on The Murder of Miss Perfect.
LET’S GET TO KNOW MARK EKLID
Long before Mark first became a published author, writing was his living.
His background is as a newspaper journalist, starting out with the South Yorkshire Times in 1984 and then on to the Derby Telegraph, until leaving full-time work in March 2020.
Most of Mark’s time at the Telegraph was as their cricket writer, a role that brought national recognition in the 2012 and 2013 England and Wales Cricket Board awards. He contributed for 12 years to the famed Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and had many articles published in national magazines, annuals and newspapers.
Writing as a profession meant writing for pleasure had to be put on the back burner but when his work role changed, Mark returned to one of the many half-formed novels in his computer files and, this time, saw it through to publication.
The Murder of Miss Perfect is his first novel for SpellBound, but Mark has previously self-published Sunbeam (November 2019), Family Business (June 2020) and Catalyst (February 2021). The earlier three are to be re-published through SpellBound soon. All four are fast-moving, plot-twisting thrillers set in the city of his birth, Sheffield.
Mark lives in Derby with his partner, Sue. They have two adult sons and have been adopted by a cat.
BLOG TOUR ORGANISER
My thanks to Zoe from Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on The Murder of Miss Perfect blog tour and for the promotional materials.