Today I am taking part in the blog tour on its publication day and sharing an extract for Liz Mistry’s Unbound Ties, which is the 7th instalment in the Gus McGuire Series, published by Murder Books Publications.
Before I get to the extract, here are the details of the book.
Unbound Ties by Liz Mistry
Gus McGuire Series Book 7
Release Date: 21st of October
Print Length: 295 pages
Genre: Crime Thriller
Publisher: Murder Books Publications
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When the past unravels, all that’s left is death.
Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
When DI Gus McGuire is called out to the murder of a pregnant woman, the crime scene tells him that this killer is not only taunting them … he’s also just getting started.
With ritualistic precision, the killer has placed a series of clues beneath the victim’s feet. Gus soon realises that these clues link back to his mother’s past as a child in foster care in Scotland.
When I am king, dilly dilly,
Troubled by his mum’s secrets, Gus is in a dark place. Side-lined from the main investigation, Gus works another murder, not realising that the two are linked and that the killer is closer than he realises … Dangerously close.
You shall be queen.
Then the killer begins to target people near to Gus. Angry and determined Gus races to unravel the past and catch this sadist before the loss is too much for him to bear.
The seventh gripping thriller in the DI Gus McGuire series, for fans of Angela Marsons, Val McDermid and LJ Ross.
I’m confused. This isn’t right. I know it’s not right. I don’t like it, so I focus on her feet. Don’t need to look up. Not if it upsets me. Chipped red nail varnish on her toenails and a trickle of some liquid moving down her foot, gathering in a drip, ready to join the pool on the floor beneath her. I draw closer, puzzled, wondering what she’s up to now. With my index finger pointing, I capture the drip on my fingertip and sniff it. It smells weird, so I flick out my tongue and taste it – still weird.
Backing off, I sit on the top stair where I can see her. I breathe in the smell – Lavender.
‘Lavender’s Blue Dilly Dilly, Lavender’s Green.’
I hum because I don’t like the noises she makes or the way her fingers scrape at the rope round her neck and her feet kick out like she’s trying to dance.
‘When I am King, Dilly Dilly, you shall be Queen.’
Why would she put a rope round her neck, anyway? I put that thought out of my mind and open my schoolbag. I have a biscuit leftover from my packed lunch – Chocolate Digestive – my favourite. I hid it from the others in my desk till home time. That way at least the bullies won’t take it – if it’s not in my lunch bag, they won’t know about it, will they?
Nibbling it, making it last, because I won’t get another – she’ll have scoffed them all by now – I take out my sketchbook. Drawing her is easier now she’s stopped moving about. I start at the puddle beneath her feet. Something else is joining the liquid now. It stinks as if she’s pooed herself. Yuck. Granny won’t like that. Nope, she won’t like that one little bit. Still, I keep on drawing – that’s what life drawing is all about, or so my teacher says. Little snippets of life. She says the more I practise the better I’ll get, and Miss is right. I’m getting better every day – Miss tells me so. I’m onto her feet now, with that horrible polish on the toes. It’s ugly, but she thinks it’s nice. They’re only swinging a little from side to side now. I look hard at them. They’re all veiny on the front and mucky on the soles.
Up her legs now. Wonder why she’s got no clothes on. Maybe she had a shower. I can see her privates, but I look away. Not supposed to look at those bits or touch them. Not to touch my own privates – last time I got caught doing that, she took a slipper to my bum, and it was sore for days. But Miss says that detail is key, so I half shut my eyes and hope it’ll be all right and shade in the hair that’s there before moving quickly to her hands. The fingernails are all chipped and bloody – the same nail varnish as is on her feet is all chipped too. I draw the blood and move on up her body, past her titties – again I don’t look. Not going to get into trouble for that. Focussing on her face now, I take another nibble of my biscuit. She’s looking at me, a tear rolling down her cheek, and I wonder why she did this if it makes her so upset.
The front door opens, and Granny comes in. She’s shouting, ‘Bye, Bye’ to the neighbour – old bitch that Mrs Simmons. Always moaning about something. I drop the rest of my biscuit and watch as it falls to the floor under her feet, crumbs all around it. Don’t want to get in trouble for not eating it at lunchtime. She’ll say, ‘It’ll spoil your dinner.’ It won’t though. It’s mince and tatties for dinner, and I love mince and tatties. Nothing will spoil that.
She’s yelling for me now, but it’s all muffly because the door at the bottom of the stairs is shut. ‘What are you doing up there? Where’s your mum?’
‘We’re up here, Granny, upstairs.’
She opens the door and starts to climb up. Then, she stumbles, she says, ‘Oh my God.’
I poke my head round the corner. Granny never says God like that. It’s taking his name in vain. ‘What’s wrong, Granny?’
But she’s staring at Mum, hanging behind me, the rope stretched from a hook in the ceiling. Granny’s face has gone all weird and white. Her fingers cover her mouth and I want to get my sketchbook out. I want to do what Miss says and draw what I see, but I know that would be wrong. I don’t know how I know it would be wrong, I just do.
Granny’s eyes move to me and she swallows hard, then waves her hands at me. ‘Come down the stairs. Come down at once and don’t touch a thing. Nothing, you hear me?’
I duck back to grab my sketchbook and crayons, but she’s yelling now. ‘Right now. Come down right this minute.’
I grab my things. No matter what she says, I’m not leaving them up there, not with that stink. I dodge past my mum, but my shoulder catches her foot and she swings round. Tears are pouring down Granny’s face now and she collapses onto the bottom step. When I reach her, she pulls me into her lap and hugs me too tight. Instead of the awful stink, I smell lavender. She always smells like lavender, does Granny – Granny and Mummy smell exactly the same.
I look over her shoulder back up the stairs and as I look, I swear I see a flicker, like a candle, in Mummy’s eyes. It’s only there for a moment, and then it goes. Like it’s been snuffed out and she just hangs there swinging a little from the rope, her neck all scratched and horrid, her tongue bulgy and yucky. I wonder how she ever managed to keep it in her mouth. If my tongue was that size, I wouldn’t be able to speak, or breathe, or eat.
Unbound Ties Blog Tour
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Let’s Get to Know Liz Mistry
Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.
Stay up to date with Liz’s work by signing up to receive emails on her website and following her on these social media accounts.
Blog Tour Organiser
A special thank-you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join in with the Unbound Ties blog tour and for providing me with the promotional materials.
If you are an author looking to have a blog tour, I can not recommend Rachel enough for you blog tour needs. You can get in touch with Rachel by the following links.