Extract: Dark Waters by G R Halliday
Dark Waters by G R Halliday is the second gripping thriller in a brand new detective series set in the Scottish Highlands. This is a haunting new novel perfect for fans of Stephen King and Ann Cleeves.
Annabelle has come to the Scottish Highlands to escape. But as she speeds along a deserted mountain road, she is suddenly forced to swerve. The next thing she remembers is waking up in a dark, damp room. A voice from the corner of the room says ‘The Doctor will be here soon’.
Scott is camping alone in the Scottish woodlands when he hears a scream. He starts to run in fear of his life. Scott is never seen again. Meanwhile DI Monica Kennedy has been called to her first Serious Crimes case in six months – a dismembered body has been discovered, abandoned in a dam. Days later, when another victim surfaces, Monica knows she is on the hunt for a ruthless killer. But as she begins to close in on the murderer, her own dark past isn’t far behind…
Read on for an extract from Dark Waters by G R Halliday!
G R Halliday
When she still had all of her arms and legs, Annabelle liked to drive. And it was while she was on one of her drives that she made the first mistake.
Her iPhone. She’d left it on the passenger seat of her BMW, instead of taking the time to slide it properly into its little holder on the dashboard. It lay beside the copy of Heat magazine and the touring map of northern Scotland she’d bought at the services outside Stirling. She’d stopped for petrol and a fast-food breakfast, an indifferent ham sandwich and a coffee in a paper cup. Afterwards she’d folded the cardboard packaging and the cup and slid them carefully into the recycling bin, rather than leaving them on the table for the tired-looking waitress to clean away. Annabelle was twenty-two years old and tried her best to be a nice girl.
Before she got back in the car she thought about calling Miss Albright, who lived in the flat across the landing from her in London. She was ninety but in truth it wasn’t really Miss Albright she was concerned about. It was Mr Pepper, Miss Albright’s dog. A Pomeranian. Black with a pink tongue. Because Miss Albright couldn’t leave her flat often Mr Pepper spent much of his time inside. Most days Annabelle would go along the corridor to take him out for a walk. Usually he’d be waiting for her at the door, growling slightly with anticipation. Stupid as it sounded, she thought Mr Pepper might be less anxious if Miss Albright could reassure him somehow that Annabelle would be back soon. Everything with her divorced parents felt broken and complicated, the exact opposite to how she felt around Miss Albright and Mr Pepper, who both always seemed so pleased to see her.
She looked at the time on her iPhone. 7.05 a.m. Miss Albright would still be in bed. Annabelle resolved to call her that afternoon and decided instead to take a first selfie in Scotland. Fifteen selfies, actually. A selection to get the right feel. Head at the right angle, the correct pout on her red-painted lips, brown hair framing her face in the right way. Taking in the word BRAT printed in red on her white T‑shirt (long-sleeved, as always). The blue BMW M4 her dad had given her as a very late twenty-first birthday present behind her. In the distance the first mountains of the Highlands, dusted with spring snow.
After a quarter of an hour fiddling with the photo filters, she decided the image was as good as it would get. She typed, ‘Look ugly today but who cares! Heading beyond the wall!! Road trip to the frozen north xx.’ It sounded spontaneous enough when she read it back. She posted it to Instagram, the only social media app she used regularly, then flicked through some of the pictures. People smiling, looking beautiful and having fun. She had hardly met any of her Instagram friends in real life, but maybe they would see her picture, maybe they would notice her like she was noticing them?
Maybe he’ll notice too and feel jealous you’ve come to Scotland without him knowing? Annabelle dismissed the ridiculous thought. He was in the police and acted like he was forty. Probably didn’t even know what Instagram was. The last thing she wanted was to hear from him anyway. After what happened. This trip had nothing to do with him. There was no doubt it felt scary coming all this way on her own. But when did she need an excuse to drive? Driving fast was the only time she felt OK.
An hour later she could still taste the salt and grease from the ham, stuck to her lips. But at least the coffee kept her sharp as she drove north on the A9. It had been six hours overnight on the M6 from London to Stirling. Not bad going. In the end it took another two and a half to Inverness. This was good too.
It was early afternoon when the road dropped down off the moor and she could take in the city of Inverness for the first time, tucked in at the edge of the water – the Moray Firth, according to the satnav. Straight ahead a large bridge spanned the water; Annabelle wanted to drive on over it. Instead the satnav told her to turn left at the first roundabout she came to. Reluctantly she did as she was told and drove through the outskirts of the city. A grim industrial estate that didn’t fit with her image of what the Highlands should look like at all. Nothing tartan, nothing like Outlander.
Her disappointment abated ten minutes later when she exited the other side of the city and rejoined the water. The wide river was directly beside the road, and in the distance she saw a row of dark mountains and felt a flutter of excitement. The wild mountains of the west, Glen Affric, the most beautiful glen in Scotland. She’d read about the famous drive down Glen Affric online, but she was heading for a lesser-known road. And the satnav told her it was only twenty-five miles to her destination. Half an hour later the mountains were so close they seemed to loom over her. She passed through a run-down village and finally stopped when she saw the sign: GLEN TURRIT.
It was here, at the start of this lonely glen, that she made her second mistake.
Enjoyed this extract from Dark Waters by G R Halliday? Let us know in the comments below!
Find out how locations in the Scottish Highlands inspired G R Halliday’s new detective series of books.