The 'look inside' feature on Amazon is now live for my new Jefferson Tayte genealogical mystery, The Lost Empress, which will be released in all formats worldwide on 21 October - unless you live in Australia, in which case you can get it a day early on the 20th. I'm getting more and more excited about it every day.
Below is an excerpt, which is from the preface to the book. This is the first time I've used a preface in my work, and I've done so now because when I came across the material during my research I felt it set the backdrop for the book very well.
The full sample, which includes the prologue and part of chapter one (where we catch up with Jefferson Tayte again) is viewable via this link. Alternatively, you can access it via the 'look inside' feature on the Amazon store wherever you are.
This would be his first murder, and he hoped it would be his last. His mouth felt dry despite having just been sick. He could still feel the gastric acid burning his throat—still smell the sweet bile that now stained his clothes. He wanted nothing more than to withdraw back into the shadows where he’d been waiting for the right moment, psyching himself up. But he knew he had to do it. There was no turning back now. He put on a pair of thin gloves and pulled a grey ski mask over his head as he continued across the moonlit yard, checking to his left and to his right as he went. It was quiet—no one else around. The owner of the workshop-cum-warehouse he was heading for didn’t even have a guard dog, which would have complicated things because he liked dogs.
There was a light on inside, just a single lamp by his reckoning. That was where his victim would be, working late for the last time. He reached the door and pulled a sleek carving knife from inside his jacket, which he’d bought from the local supermarket that afternoon. He’d thought long and hard about how he would do it, concluding that a knife would be quick and quiet and easy to obtain, even if it did mean getting closer to his victim than he wanted to.
He went around to the side of the building, heading away from the light, and began to prise the tip of his knife beneath each window frame as he passed, waiting for one to pop open. It was an old building, as old as the antiques the man inside liked to restore for all he knew. The windows were covered in a film of dirt, their old metal frames chipped and rusty. The fourth window he came to lifted easily and he stopped beneath it. It was time. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves as he eased it open. Then he pulled himself up and slipped inside.
He could just make out the shapes of crates and boxes in the dim moonlight, and he cursed himself for not thinking to bring a torch. You’re such an amateur, he thought as he fought the dry cough that was rising in his throat from all the dust he’d kicked up. He stepped further in, feeling his way around the crates, looking for the door. Then he heard music, classical music that was faint and tinny, as though coming from a small radio. The sound guided him, and as his eyes adjusted he began to make out the glow beneath the door from the room beyond.
The heady smell of polish and linseed oil hit him as he teased the door open. The man he had gone there to kill had his back to him. He was bent over an old pedestal desk twenty feet away, rubbing the surface with a cloth in smooth, even strokes that seemed to keep time with the string section that was playing on the radio. He thought that was good. It would help to mask his approach as he crept up behind him, but after taking two steps, his nerves got the better of him and he ran to the desk, knife in hand. He grabbed the man by the collar of his overalls and pushed him back onto the desk, quickly showing him the knife so there was no mistaking his intention.
Please follow the link above to read the full sample.