Today I’m hosting the book tour for Marnie Riches new book called ‘The Girl Who Got Revenge’ which is the fifth book in her George McKenzie series, and I’ve an extract to share. So make a cup of tea, sit down, relax and enjoy this short taster.
The ferry heaved violently on the waves. Feeling nausea sweep over her, George swallowed down a lump of ginflavoured regurgitation. She was about to climb the perilous steps back up when she heard whimpering from the car deck. What the hell was that? An abandoned dog? Surely not. But then she heard a child’s voice quite clearly above the tinnitus hum of the ferry’s bowels, crying and shouting in a small voice. Speaking a language she didn’t at first recognise, but then realised was an Arabic dialect.
‘Hello! Who’s there?’ she called out in Arabic. She wasn’t fluent, but she’d picked up enough to get by over the years – always handy in the wilds of multi-ethnic South East London, and especially so now that her life revolved around research into trafficking, where a good proportion of the victims, often from the Middle East and Central Asia, spoke little English, if any.
From between the gleaming bonnets of the BMWs and Audis and Citroëns, a small child crawled towards her. He couldn’t have been more than six or seven, George assessed, though she was fairly hopeless as far as children were concerned.
‘What’s your name?’ she asked, extending a hand to him whilst clinging to the bottom of the handrail. ‘Come on. Don’t be scared.’
The little boy was dressed in filthy jeans and a hoodie. Tears poured from huge, sorrowful brown eyes, streaking his dusty skin with clean furrows. His lip trembled.
George didn’t understand much of his response, but she did pick out the word ‘Ummi’. He was looking for his mother. Where the hell had he come from?
‘What are you doing on the car deck, kiddo?’ she asked, knowing the child couldn’t understand her. But, of course, she was fairly certain she knew what a dishevelled, lost kid on the lower decks of the Stena Line ferry from the Netherlands to Harwich might feasibly be doing.
Enveloping the small sobbing boy in her arms, she stroked his thick black hair and shushed him until he began to calm.
Two broken hearts in one day on one ferry. But George suspected there were rather more, hidden somewhere among the stationary vehicles on some lower deck. This boy’s mother, for one, no doubt anguished at the disappearance of her son.
She had a decision to make: alert the authorities now, or let the boy lead her to the vehicle in question and then raise the alarm? Her common sense screamed at her to find a steward.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
You can buy The Girl Who Got Revenge from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.