Dead Man's Gift 01 - Yesterday

Dead Man's Gift 01 - Yesterday by Simon Kernick Read Free Book Online

Book: Dead Man's Gift 01 - Yesterday by Simon Kernick Read Free Book Online
Authors: Simon Kernick
Author’s Note
    As a writer I sometimes find that characters I create with no great ambition for them end up taking on a life of their own, and almost crying out to be used again. One of these was Tina Boyd, a mid-ranking female detective who started off in my early books as a bit-part player and who gradually developed into one of my most important series characters. Another was Scope – the enigmatic assassin from Siege . When he first appeared, I never had him down as a stayer. He was just another protagonist in a book containing multiple viewpoints- a one-off anti-hero who’d be consigned to history as soon as the story was over.
    But it didn’t work out like that. I found I liked writing him. He came out with good lines that seemed to flow naturally off the page; he had an interesting back-story. He felt real. And, as sometimes happens, I grew to like him. More to the point, so did many readers. I have to admit to being surprised by the number of positive comments I got regarding Scope. Readers seemed to really identify with him. I think it was his mix of bravery and sensitivity. Either way, I knew he was going to have to return, and I brought him back for Stay Alive , my latest book, which sees him living in the wilds of Scotland and getting caught up in a bloody and terrifying chain of events. During Stay Alive , Scope refers back to a kidnapping incident he was involved in a few months earlier, and it’s this kidnapping incident that’s covered in Dead Man’s Gift .
    I decided to write Dead Man’s Gift as a three part story because I’ve always been interested in serialisations. We see them all the time on TV, and we often used to see books serialised in magazines. It’s a great way for building anticipation and, to me, the crime thriller genre lends itself perfectly to the medium. I wanted to end each part with a major cliffhanger where the reader was going to have to wait a week to find out what happened, much as I used to have to do with the comics I read as a child growing up in the Seventies and early Eighties. Whether it works or not, and whether such a format appeals to readers in an age of instant gratification, remains to be seen, but either way, I’d love to hear your views. Make sure you drop by my facebook page ( facebook.com/SimonKernick ) and let me know what you think.
    Simon Kernick
May 2014

Dead Man’s Gift
1: Yesterday
Simon Kernick

Part 1: Yesterday
1
8.30 a.m.
    In the minute before she died, Gina Kelley was thinking that she could never get used to England. It was just too damn grey, especially in winter. Another three months and she’d be gone, taking a roundabout route across Europe and Asia en route home to New South Wales. She’d miss the people, if not the place, and she’d definitely miss her job as a nanny. Max was a real little livewire; blond, cherubic, but with a mischievous streak and an ability to make her laugh out loud.
    ‘Does it ever get cold in Australia, Gina?’ he said as they walked from the front door over to the Freelander at the beginning of the school run.
    ‘Never like this,’ she answered, suppressing a shiver as an icy gust of wind whipped across the manicured front lawn.
    ‘I’d like to live there one day,’ continued Max, nodding to himself as if he’d just come to a very important decision.
    ‘Well, if you work hard and get a good job, you’ll be able to.’
    ‘I do work hard.’
    ‘That’s what I like to hear,’ said Gina, as she opened the driver’s side door, surprised she’d left the car unlocked the previous night. ‘What game do you want to play?’
    He grinned. ‘I spy.’
    Playing a game on the school run was a ritual of theirs. They did it every day, and it made Gina wonder if Max’s parents, with their high-powered jobs and permanently full diaries, had any idea how much fun their son was.
    ‘There’s a weird smell in here,’ said Max as he pulled on his seat belt.
    Gina could smell it too. A powerful odour of something

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