Sam Blake’s novels include Little Bones, Remember My Name, The Dark Room and In Deep Water. Her latest novel, High Pressure, was published by Corvus on 22 September 2021.
Today I have an extract to share.
The bus lurched again and Brioni steadied herself, checking the time on her phone. Her shift started at two. Today she was serving drinks at a reception in – ironically – the Irish embassy. Siobhan, her boss, had asked her specifically; the catering company she ran did all sorts of events, but she was keen to do more at the embassy and the more Irish staff she had on board, the better.
Brioni was good with that. All the time she’d been travelling, and even now in London, when she heard an Irish accent it was like a bond. You said hello and asked where they were from and it wouldn’t take you long to find someone you knew in common. That was the way Ireland worked, the way Irish people worked; you kept chatting till you found the connection, because it was always there. That was how she’d got the job – almost straight off the plane – through the Irish expat mafia. She’d reached out to the friends she’d met travelling: a guy called Malachi she’d met in India. With the exchange rate from Thai bhat to sterling absolute shite, no suitcase and still no word from Mar, he had been a godsend.
Brioni sighed, emotion rolling over her. Did Mar really not want to see her? They were totally different, that was for sure, but they’d been close growing up, had moments when they’d laughed till they cried. There had always been a bit of distance between them – maybe the eight-year age gap was the biggest problem – and Brioni had always felt that, compared to Mar, she’d never had the right words, that she’d never be as engaging and as beautiful. Mar had straight teeth and thick blonde hair. She could talk to anyone. She was like a gazelle, beautiful and sleek and perfect. Despite trying to hide it, Brioni had been the fawn whose legs were too long and wouldn’t work, who staggered when she needed to run, and who said all the wrong things. To make it all worse, awkwardness and lack of confidence made her physically sick with anxiety.
Nobody – their parents, her teachers, her so-called friends – could see how insecure she was. But just because she didn’t have the right words didn’t mean she wasn’t bright. Brioni knew she had been angry for a while back then, resentful of Mar because she fitted in so well; everything was so easy for her. She, Brioni, was a clusterfuck. She was spotty and plump and weird. And she didn’t like people a whole lot.
About the Book
As temperatures soar across Europe during the hottest summer for forty years, a series of hoax terrorist attacks is generating panic in London. Then a bus blows up on Oxford Street and the hoaxes have suddenly become real.
Student Brioni O’Brien has been desperately trying to contact her older sister since she unexpectedly returned early from travelling, so when Marissa’s bag is found near the site of the explosion, she fears the worst.
Teaming up with terrorism expert Anna Lockharte to search for Marissa, Brioni discovers that her sister had got herself into a very dangerous situation – and that now she and Anna could be caught in the fallout.
About the Author
Sam Blake’s debut novel, Little Bones, was No 1 in Ireland for four weeks, and was nominated for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. It launched the bestselling Cat Connolly trilogy. Her first standalone psychological thriller, Keep Your Eyes On Me, went straight to No 1 and its follow-up, The Dark Room was an Eason Ireland No 1 for three weeks. Sam is originally from St. Albans in Hertfordshire but has lived at the foot of the Wicklow mountains for more years than she lived in the UK.
Follow her on social @samblakebooks. Visit her website for news and events and get a bonus free short story in audio & text when you subscribe to her newsletter.