Monday, 26 March 2018

Class Murder by Leigh Russell @LeighRussell #GS10 #BlogTour @noexitpress #ClassMurder




With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.
Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he's the boss.
When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?
For fans of Peter James, Angela Marsons and Robert Bryndza




Class Murder by Leigh Russell is published in paperback by No Exit Press on 29th March 2018 and is the tenth book in the Geraldine Steel series.
I'm delighted to host the tour today on Random Things and bring you an extract of the preface of the book.


He never forgot the first time the cat brought a bird into the
house. A small brown creature, its wings were still flapping
although its eyes were glazed above a beak that hung open.
Warning him not to go anywhere near the dying bird, his
mother chased the cat outside. He must have been about six or
seven, young enough to obey his mother’s command without
question. Returning to the kitchen, she explained that the cat
had intended to bring her a present.
‘We feed Billy,’ she went on, ‘but it’s still a generous gesture.
He could have kept the bird for himself. That’s his way of
showing us he loves us. Cats aren’t like people.’
Her last comment had puzzled him. Of course he knew that
cats weren’t like people. They had four legs, for a start, and they
couldn’t talk. Another time, the cat brought in a dead mouse.
His mother scooped it up in a wad of newspaper, leaving a
streak of blood on the lino. After cleaning the floor and
washing her hands, she turned to him with a sour expression
on her face.
‘Don’t be upset with Billy,’ she said. ‘He was bringing us a
present.’
Far from upset, he had been intrigued and vaguely excited at
the enormity of what Billy had done.
It was a hot summer, with blazing days that seemed to stretch
out endlessly, a childhood summer where he fell asleep before
the sun set, and woke to see it rising in the sky. Crouching
in dry grass behind the garden shed, he spent weeks devising
a box with a lid that snapped shut as soon as a frail stick
holding it open was dislodged. Discovering that his homemade
contraption had succeeded was one of the highlights of his early
childhood. His breath caught in his throat when he first saw the
box was shut. Concealed beneath a hedge behind the garden
shed, he was pretty sure no one else would have stumbled on
it. Only a small animal could have set off the mechanism that
snapped the box shut.
His hands trembled with excitement as he picked it up.
There was no sound from inside the box, no frantic scuttling
of tiny feet, no outraged squawking from a trapped creature.
Dreading that he would open it only to find it empty, he lifted
the lid a fraction and peered inside. There was no movement in
the box. He slid the lid across another fraction and cried out at
the sight of a tiny beady black eye glaring up at him.
Slamming the lid shut, he collapsed on the ground, laughing
hysterically. It was a while before he calmed down enough to
consider his next move. He wanted to be brave and kill the
mouse with his bare hands, but he was afraid of being bitten.
Apart from the pain, mice carried all sorts of disgusting
diseases. Sitting on the ground behind the shed, feeling the dry
grass prickly against his bare legs, he weighed up his various
options.
In the end he chose to kill it with a stick, pressing down
against the creature’s head until something cracked with a
minute jolt rather than a sound. Spellbound, he watched a thin
trickle of blood seep into the untreated wood. He couldn’t
explain what was happening, but he understood that something
significant was taking place through a process he himself had
initiated with his own hands inside a box he had made.
His mother’s reaction when he handed her a dead mouse had
been his first letdown in a life filled with disappointment.
‘It’s a present for you,’ he told her proudly. ‘I killed it myself.’
Her scream seemed to pierce his head. He was so shocked he
dropped the mouse, which landed on the floor with a faint thud.
Such a small sound for a dead body. His father came running
into the kitchen. When his mother had recovered sufficiently
to recount what had happened, his father scrubbed his hands
before taking him into the living room and sitting him down.
‘Where did you find the mouse?’ he asked, his grey eyes
sharp with concern.
‘I trapped it,’ he muttered, already less confident about
boasting of his exploit.
‘You mean you found it?’
He shook his head.
‘Tell me exactly what happened.’
Pride in his accomplishment overcame his reticence as he
recounted how he had set a trap in the garden and, after many
attempts, had finally succeeded in catching a mouse.
‘And the animal was dead when you found it?’
Something in his father’s manner warned him to be cautious.
‘Sort of,’ he hedged.
‘So you finished it off to put it out of its misery?’
He nodded. It was a weird way of describing his experience
but even at such a young age he could sense it might be best
to conceal his feelings. Later that day he heard his father
explaining to his mother that he had wanted to end the
creature’s suffering.
‘He said it was a present for me,’ she replied in an odd stiff
voice. ‘He told me he killed it himself.’ She burst into tears.
‘If he had a little brother or sister to keep him company, he
wouldn’t be trying to copy Billy.’
He had often overheard his parents talking about wanting to
give him a brother or sister. For some reason they were unable
to do that. That was one of the disappointments of their lives
but if they had bothered to ask him, he would have told them
he was pleased not to have a noisy baby grabbing his toys, and
hogging his parents’ attention. They were better off as they
were.
He never told either of his parents that the mouse had not only
been alive, but completely unharmed, when he had caught it.
He hadn’t expected the tiny creature to die so slowly.
The memory made him smile. That, at least, hadn’t been a disappointment. 


Please do check out the remaining stops on the Class Murder Blog Tour, there's reviews and special features, and it continues tomorrow with Chelle's Book Reviews.






Leigh Russell has sold over a million crime fiction novels, and writes full time. 
Published in English and in translation throughout Europe and in China, her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, and reached #1 on kindle. 
Leigh's work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her books have been optioned by major television production company Avalon Television. 
She chairs the CWA Debut Dagger Award, and is a Royal Literary Fellow.
Leigh writes the Lucy Hall mystery series published by Thomas and Mercer.

Find out more about Leigh on her website http://www.leighrussell.co.uk where news, reviews and interviews are posted, with a schedule of Leigh's appearances. 
You can contact Leigh via her website, where you can subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Twitter @LeighRussell 




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