Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove where it is my absolute pleasure to share with you an excerpt from Red As Blood! Check out my review here if you missed it the first time around, but the long and short of it is that Red As Blood is just chills and thrills and suspense galore and I had an absolutely brilliant time with 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:
Áróra becomes involved in the search for an Icelandic woman who disappeared from her home while making dinner, as she continues to hunt for her missing sister. The second breathtaking instalment in the chilling, addictive An Áróra Investigation series…
When entrepreneur Flosi arrives home for dinner one night, he discovers that his house has been ransacked, and his wife Gudrun missing. A letter on the kitchen table confirms that she has been kidnapped. If Flosi doesn’t agree to pay an enormous ransom, Gudrun will be killed.
Forbidden from contacting the police, he gets in touch with Áróra, who specialises in finding hidden assets, and she, alongside her detective friend Daniel, try to get to the bottom of the case without anyone catching on.
Meanwhile, Áróra and Daniel continue the puzzling, devastating search for Áróra’s sister Ísafold, who disappeared without trace. As fog descends, in a cold and rainy Icelandic autumn, the investigation becomes increasingly dangerous, and confusing.
Chilling, twisty and unbearably tense, Red as Blood is the second instalment in the riveting, addictive An Áróra Investigation series, and everything is at stake…
Ready to head to Iceland? Here we go!
The house was one of the smartest on Hraunbrún. It wasn’t immediately visible from the street, hidden away along a drive leading off from a cul-de-sac that three detached houses shared. The appearance of the house itself was magnificent, as if it had been designed with wonderful events in mind, the best dinner parties, dances, visits from illustrious guests. There was nothing whatever about the place that was every day. There were no garden tools by the garage, no broom left handy by the door, to sweep away the leaves that were piling up along the street and the pavements in shades of russet, and there was no shelter for bins anywhere to be seen.
The drive was paved, as was the pathway that curved to the front door. On each side of the path were outdoor lights, spaced a metre or so apart, and a thick birch hedge, clipped into neat domes that showed off their red-brown autumn foliage.
Áróra rang the bell, and it occurred to her that she should have gone home first to get changed, but the thought was forgotten as soon as the man opened the door. His face was so wracked with desperation that she doubted he would notice minor details, such as her faded jeans and windcheater.
‘You’re Flosi?’ she asked, extending a hand. His palm was sweaty and she could feel the faint trembling as he took her hand and squeezed it. ‘My name’s Áróra. I’ve been sent by Michael, your accountant in Edinburgh.’
She followed Flosi inside, through the entrance lobby and a spacious hallway where stairs led to the upper floor and a whole row of mirror-fronted cupboards stretched all the way to the ceiling. In the kitchen Flosi pointed at the floor where a broken glass and some vegetables lay, and then snatched up a printed sheet of paper from the kitchen worktop and handed it to her.
‘It was like this when I came home yesterday. And this letter was here on the table. So I called Michael to ask him to make the money available and … and … well.’
His words petered out and he looked helplessly at Áróra.
‘If that’s what it comes to, then I’ll be the one to travel to the UK and fetch your money,’ she said.
Flosi nodded, and for a moment Áróra thought he was going to crumple, but he coughed and rolled his shoulders as if holding himself back.
‘Michael also asked me to give you what support I can, considering you don’t want to go to the police. He felt that you shouldn’t be dealing with kidnappers alone,’ she said.
‘Good. Yes. Thank you, thanks,’ Flosi muttered. ‘To be honest, I don’t know where to turn. But I need to have the money ready when they get in touch. I can’t wait for days on end for a bank transfer and all the bother that goes with it. I’ll have to have the right amount ready. So they’ll release Guðrún.’
Saying his wife’s name out loud seemed to upset the delicate equilibrium he had fought so hard to maintain since Áróra had been here, and tears trickled from both eyes and down his cheeks. He sniffed hard, reached for a kitchen roll, pulled off a sheet and wiped his face.
‘It’s unbearable, not knowing how she is, whether they are treating her well, if she’s frightened.’
Áróra reached out and placed an encouraging hand on his arm.
‘Considering there’s a ransom demand, I think you can be confident that they value Guðrún highly.’ She glanced again at the letter. ‘They seem to think she’s worth two million euros. So that means they must be looking after her well.’
‘You’re right,’ Flosi said, as if snatching in desperation at the hope this thought offered. ‘Of course you’re right.’
Áróra scanned the note again, and then realised what it was about the ransom demand that had been troubling her.
Talk about a cliffhanger! Want to find out what’s been troubling Áróra? Not a problem: Red as Blood is out on 13 October in digital formats and paperback. Pre-order it directly from Orenda Books here.