Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove where it is my absolute pleasure to share with you an excerpt from The Shot! Check out my review here if you missed it the first time around, but the long and short of it is that The Shot is thought-provoking and insightful and I loved it.
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:
An aspiring TV journalist faces a shattering moral dilemma and the prospect of losing her career and her life, when she joins an impetuous photographer in the Middle East. A shocking, searingly authentic thriller by award-winning ex-CNN news executive Sarah Sultoon.
Samira is an up-and-coming TV journalist, working the nightshift at a major news channel and yearning for greater things. So when she’s offered a trip to the Middle East, with Kris, the station’s brilliant but impetuous star photographer, she leaps at the chance.
In the field together, Sami and Kris feel invincible, shining a light into the darkest of corners … except the newsroom, and the rest of the world, doesn’t seem to care as much as they do. Until Kris takes the photograph.
With a single image of young Sudanese mother, injured in a raid on her camp, Sami and the genocide in Darfur are catapulted into the limelight. But everything is not as it seems, and the shots taken by Kris reveal something deeper and much darker … something that puts not only their careers but their lives in mortal danger.
Sarah Sultoon brings all her experience as a CNN news executive to bear on this shocking, searingly authentic thriller, which asks immense questions about the world we live in. You’ll never look at a news report in the same way again…
Ready to read a snippet from the book? Great! Here goes:
It had been a late one, the night before, as usual. Everyone was grouchy, too many people with no place to go, again. Pack a locked room full of folks kept from doing the single thing they know how to, and it will only ever end at the bottom of a bottle of turps. And still there was no such thing as an early night in the sandpit. If Kris wasn’t lining up the camera for whichever Tom, Dick or Harry that the news network had parachuted into position to repeat the same thing into the microphone hour after hour after hour, then he’d be editing video he hadn’t shot himself because it was getting more and more dangerous for anyone to move around.
He’d known the intel was about a kidnap threat too, of course he had. As if all he ever cared about was his camera, as if his eye alone couldn’t possibly compute the bigger picture, the one he wasn’t directly looking at. This was hardly his first rodeo. He’d covered the First Gulf War for as long as Katja, never mind that he wasn’t the one giving the orders, only carrying them out. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what the intelligence report actually said. It wouldn’t have made sense otherwise. It had to be about Westerners specifically, pinpointing times and locations for an ambush, and not just another load of tribal pop shots. At some point, this frenzy of power and bloodshed had to count for more than just another few bodies.
So Kris had known perfectly well they shouldn’t have gone out that day. The reward was nowhere near worth it. He could take a guess at how much pressure Katja was under, but no one was asking for his opinion. No one ever did. And to think he’s a man who calculates risk more than any of them
All anyone ever wanted to do was look at his pictures. It seemed no one else could see that every single one was a measure of risk, even in the most banal of locations. Not just because he is in the literal line of fire. Because if his timing isn’t perfect, if his fly doesn’t open and close over his shutter at the exact right nanosecond, his whole composition will fall apart, he’ll end up with a completely different picture, and the whole operation will have been a waste of fucking time. Photojournalism allows no time for practice. The perfect shot only presents itself the once. He is calculating, faster than anyone can imagine, before every single frame. So to chance a journey like that for a press pass? An ID badge worth less than the plastic it’s made of if the person in the mugshot is dead? In Baghdad, no less, the heart of the Middle East, where karma was worth a whole lot more than minor detail? This was a zero-sum game. They knew Westerners were the target. They knew the road was a target. And only paperwork lay at the end. It would never have been his call.
Andie tried reasoning with Katja too, of course she did. He was capable of fighting his own corner but it was her job to do it for him, and she was damn good at it. Besides, the sand was in his eyes, his ears, everywhere by then. He couldn’t speak. He’d opened his mouth, all he’d found was a scream, had to swallow it. No one seemed to care what Kris ever said, only what he saw. As for Andie, this war was going to define reputations for years and this was another opportunity to show how good of an operator she could be, even though people did things for her just because of the way she asked. That was her gift. If they weren’t going to be able to go out and film stories then surely the paperwork could wait another day or two. She even thought there was a way to wrangle a new badge without actually having to go anywhere, using her contacts in Jordan. They’ve seen his mugshot a thousand times, haven’t they, she’d said, trying to make light of it.
Ready for more? No worries: The Shot is out now in digital formats and will be out in paperback on 28 April. (Pre)order directly from Orenda Books.