Today I am thrilled to be taking part in the books on tour blitz on its publication day for The Girls in the Lake by Helen Phifer. Happy publication day Helen.
The Girls in the Lake by Helen Phifer
Release Date: 9th of December
Format: Kindle Edition
Print Length: 276 pages
Genre: Crime Thriller
At least they’d found her. Once the site was processed and the girl’s body removed, they’d be able to identify her so that her family could give her the burial she deserved. This innocent girl was far too young to be lying in a grave, crushed under the weight of someone else’s coffin…
When the body of a teenage girl is found hidden inside a stranger’s grave in a small-town cemetery in the Lake District, an urgent call is made to Forensic Pathologist Beth Adams. One look at the beautiful girl’s broken body is enough to bring Beth out of hiding for the first time since an attempt on her own life…
Beth doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that the victim was found the same day a threatening gift was left on the doorstep of her secluded home. Her instincts are telling her that it’s a trap, that she should run for safety. But she knows she’s the only one with the expertise to help her trusted friend, Detective Josh Walker, crack the most shocking case of his career.
The tiny traces of material Beth finds beneath the victim’s fingernails is the break in the case the team need to chase down this twisted killer. But this critical lead comes at a dangerous price, exposing Beth’s whereabouts and dragging her back into the line of fire once again.
With Beth’s own life on the line, the investigation is already cracking under the pressure. Then another local girl goes missing… Can Beth stay alive long enough to catch the killer before he claims his next victim?
An absolutely gripping new crime thriller that will grab fans of Patricia Gibney, LJ Ross and Angela Marsons from the very first page and leave them gasping for breath by the last.
Exclusive Extract: Chapter One
Ethan tried to open his eyes and immediately shut them again, groaning as the boat lurched violently to one side. His stomach contracted; he shouldn’t have drunk so many lagers last night, not to mention the vodka chasers. He didn’t even remember how he’d got down below deck and into the cabin. He patted his body; at least he was fully dressed. But where was that girl he had been talking to? The one with the white-blonde hair and pretty eyes. They’d been chatting and laughing most of the night. Trust him to have got so drunk that he never had the chance to even kiss her. It wasn’t often he met someone new, not in a small town like Windermere where everyone knew everyone. She’d mentioned she was from Devon and had only been here in the Lake District a couple of weeks working at a local hotel. If only he could, for the life of him, remember which one.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of something bumping against the side of the boat. He sat up, his head exploding with pain at the sudden movement. More slowly, he slid off the bed and went into the narrow bathroom to relieve himself. He didn’t even look in the mirror. He didn’t want to know what a state he must look.
Knocking on the other cabin door as he passed, he listened for a response, suddenly imagining the girl he liked in bed with James. Not that he could blame her: James was the one with the fancy boat, the penthouse apartment and more money than he actually knew what to do with. There was no reply. Opening the door, an empty, messy cabin bed stared back at him.
Up the steps and out on deck, there was no sign of anyone amongst the mess of empty champagne glasses, lager cans and vodka bottles. He shivered. The autumn sun hadn’t risen yet and there was a gale-force wind blowing across the lake, whipping the water into a frenzy and making the boats unsteady on their moorings. Looking around, the only sign of life was a flock of goldeneye ducks swimming past the marina, looking to take shelter from the approaching storm.
He was just thinking how glad he was that James hadn’t been too drunk and he had put the boat back on its mooring, when he heard that thud again. One of the small dinghies must have come loose. He didn’t want to have to climb down and drag it away, but there was no one else around and it wasn’t fair to let James’s boat get damaged just because he had a hangover and couldn’t face it. It wasn’t the sort of thing you did to your best friend, even if they could afford to get the damage fixed without blinking an eye. Stumbling as the boat rolled to one side again, he grabbed hold of the rails, his head leaning over, and he stared down into the inky waters of Lake Windermere. The glow from the lamps along the quay gave just enough light to see there was something in the water; in the shadow of the boat it looked as if a clump of reeds had got tangled in the anchor chain. Leaning further over, he blinked a couple of times and focused his vision, realising too late that they weren’t reeds at all.
It was a woman, floating face down in the water, her long, blonde hair fanned out around her shoulders and snagged onto the anchor chain. A scream so loud it echoed around the marina left his mouth. Heart pounding, he jumped down from the boat and onto the jetty. If he could get her out of the water, he might be able to resuscitate her. Pulling his phone from his pocket as he ran, he dialled 999 and asked for the police and ambulance, giving his location. Dropping to his knees, he reached for her, but she was too far away. Desperately he looked around for something to try and grab her with, or someone to help. Why had no one come to see why he was screaming? Where was Pete? – he practically lived down here! It might take the police forever to get to the marina.
Pulling off his jeans, which he knew would weigh him down, he plunged into the freezing water, hitting it hard. In a couple of strokes he was close enough to grab the girl around the waist. He turned and tried to swim, taking her towards the jetty, but she wouldn’t move. He tugged and tugged but her hair was knotted around the thick, rusted chain that held the anchor. He grimaced. He knew deep down that it was too late for the girl, her body cold and rigid in his arms, but he had to carry on. He couldn’t leave her there. Grabbing the length of her hair that was caught around the chain, he tried to untangle it with trembling hands. But the shock of the freezing water was cutting off the feeling in the tips of his fingers. He had no choice but to pull it as hard as he could, and finally, she was free and he was able to drag her towards the jetty where, at long last, he could hear the shouts and pounding feet of the police as they ran along the wooden causeway to help him. He’d never been so relieved to see a copper in his life.
Hands reached down and grabbed the girl, pulling her out of the water. Then they leant over and pulled him out too. He fell onto the rough boards on his hands and knees. His teeth were chattering, and he couldn’t speak. A blanket was wrapped around him as a strong pair of arms lifted him to his feet.
‘Well done, son, that was pretty damn brave of you. Let’s get you to the ambulance to get checked out and before you catch your death.’
Ethan didn’t argue, letting the officer lead him towards the ambulance that had just pulled up onto the walkway. He looked back at the girl, horror flooding through him as it dawned on him that he knew her: he’d spent last night laughing and sinking vodka shots with her. It was the beautiful girl with no name. The one he’d hoped would be lying next to him when he’d woken up less than twenty minutes ago.
Intense! Find out what happens next when you grab your copy of Helen Phifer’s The Girls in the Lake here:
The Girls in the Lake Blog Tour
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Let’s Get to Know Helen Phifer
Helen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children.
Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.
To keep up to date with Helen’s work you can sign up to the mailing list on her website and follow her on these social media accounts.
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