Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove where it is my absolute pleasure to share with you an excerpt from The Daves Next Door! Check out my review here if you missed it the first time around, but the long and short of it is that The Daves Next Door is an absolutely brilliant read and I will tell you to read it until I’m blue in the face.
Many thanks to Anne Cater for having me on the tour, and to Orenda Books for the excerpt.
Let’s have a quick look at the blurb first:
The lives of five strangers collide on a London train carriage, as they become involved in an incident that will change them all forever. A shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original new thriller from Will Carver…
A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care.
An injured young sportsman wakes up to find that he can see only in black and white.
A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.
Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.
Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.
Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?
Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.
Alright! Ready? Great! Here goes:
THE NURSE (AND THE SPORTSMAN)
Nothing she sees is a shock any more.
Vashti checks in on the young man whose sporting career looks to have been cut short. His ankle is broken in two places along with four other fractures further up the shin; two in his tibia and two in his fibula. He wasn’t even hit or kicked, he just tried to turn around, change direction on a muddy pitch. Every other part of him obliged, but his foot remained in the position it had started in.
When the young man arrived at the hospital, he had passed out through the pain, the toes on his left foot pointing north, to Heaven, those on his right foot pointing to Hell in the south, below the floor. Now, family and friends are visiting, and he will have no recollection due to the industrial strength co-codamol and morphine cocktail in his system.
He’s nineteen and he’ll awaken to think that his life is ending.
That he has no prospects.
In the twelve years of nursing at this hospital, Vashti can almost dismiss this reaction as commonplace.
In the same way that she disregards the shock of the old woman coming in with a bruise on her ribs, caused by a fall, who suddenly develops pneumonia. Her family write it off as another in a long-line of sufferings, but she’ll be dead in two days.
Something arbitrary and trivial descending into solemnity.
She wonders whether it gets easier for the doctors to deliver this kind of news.
The way murder is supposed to become easier after your first kill.
Then she sees something different.
She sees nothing at all.
The bed is empty; the covers untouched. The pure-white cotton sheet is folded over the paling blue blanket, which is wrapped so tightly around the mattress you could bounce a penny on it.
It feels wrong. To Vashti, at least.
Like the things that she is seeing should not be.
Vashti pulls the half-closed curtain to the side, the rings scraping against the curved bar like the excrement raking against the pile-ridden colon of the old lady on her last whimsical visit to Accident & Emergency. She told them she was shitting razorblades. That she was crapping jagged granite.
Her family left her to deal with that alone too.
Because she is a burden on their otherwise unchallenging, fulfilled lives.
She doesn’t have any money to leave, they think, so why bother?
Vashti should have felt saddened to see such apathy towards another human being, but that is not how she feels at all; she witnesses it far too often and their lack of caring is contagious. She can’t even remember who was in the bed before it was vacated.
Did they die?
But this time, this bed, this pristine cot, leaves her with a sense of unease. Of the unnatural. Of fate being tampered with.
It should contain a man in his eighties, recently pumped full of soapy water to evacuate any remaining pills from his pathetic failed suicide attempt. It should house the old man with his crepe-paper skin and his am I deads? and his face cut from falling and his deep-set depression.
The unfillable hole in his heart.
And the unmakeable hole in his memory.
He is somewhere he should not be. Somewhere unnatural. Somewhere else.
Kneeling in front of two angels. As they prepare to drag him through Hell.
Did that whet your appetite? Fantastic! The Daves Next Door is out on 21 July in paperback and digital formats. Pre-order now directly from Orenda Books here.