I’m absolutely DELIGHTED to be hosting A.A. Dhand’s ONE WAY OUT blog tour today. My thanks to Anne Cater for organising and including me and Transworld Books for the extract. I have recently purchased One Way Out so #watchthisspace for my review. I need to catch up with City of Sinners first. However, you can read my review of Streets of Darkness and Girl Zero if you want to see how much I absolutely LOVE this series! First let’s find out a little about the author and this book!
About the Author
A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.
About the Book
A bomb detonates in Bradford’s City Park.
When the alert sounds, DCI Harry Virdee has just enough time to get his son and his mother to safety before the bomb blows. But this is merely a stunt.
The worst is yet to come.
A new and aggressive nationalist group, the Patriots, have hidden a second device under one of the city’s mosques. In exchange for the safe release of those at Friday prayers, the Patriots want custody of the leaders of radical Islamist group Almukhtaroon – the chosen ones.
The government does not negotiate with terrorists. Even when thousands of lives are at risk.
There is only one way out.
But Harry’s wife is in one of those mosques. Left with no choice, Harry must find the Almukhtaroon, to offer the Patriots his own deal.
Because sometimes the only way to save lives, is to take them.
THE OUTDOOR CINEMA SCREEN in City Park cut out. The children’s movie went black. Most of the thousand-strong crowd didn’t notice, too busy playing in the fountains, a welcome respite from the sun’s inhospitable rays.
Then a message started to flash on the screen, bold and threatening: IMMINENT SECURITY THREAT. LEAVE CITY PARK IMMEDIATELY.
No hint that this was optional.
Confusion rippled through the park. People stared at one
another, wondering if this was some sort of joke. The screeching of car tyres and the overhead roar from two helicopters answered their doubts.
Police officers jumped from their cars with megaphones, scream- ing for the crowd to disperse. They did not enter the park but kept to the perimeter.
At first, the shift was slow but the domino effect didn’t take long to come into play and the few became the many. Bodies jumped from the pool and ran, some barefoot, others holding their shoes. Parents grabbed their children as the stampede began. Bradford was under siege.
CITY PARK HAD NEVER been so full, the people of Bradford making the most of the July heatwave. Midday was approaching as the mercury soared past thirty, heading towards a forecasted record- high of thirty-four. At its centre, the park’s powerful fountains had created a magnificent pool of water, where adults relaxed at the edges and children waded in for water fights. Around the perimeter the restaurants were heaving. The Wetherspoon’s pub had a queue two dozen deep.
Detective Chief Inspector Harry Virdee sat beside his mother, Joyti, and rested two cups of tea on the shallow wall surrounding the fountains. No matter the heat, it was always ‘tea’ with her.
‘How much were they?’ she asked, watching her four-year-old grandson, Aaron, splashing in the fountains.
‘Does it matter?’ replied Harry, shaking his head.
He watched his mother prise the lid from the container and frown at the colour. ‘I knew it would be like this.’
‘It’s how people like it, Mum.’
Ten minutes earlier.
‘If I had a stall here and made my Indian tea, these English people would never drink this filth.’
‘I’m English. I drink it.’
Harry’s mother frowned. ‘Your blood is Indian, your brain English.’
‘I’m more English than you think. I stand in queues, prefer sandwiches to samosas and, most importantly, when you hit seventy, I’ll be tempted to put you in an old people’s home.’
His mother shook her head disapprovingly and sipped the tea, wincing at its taste. Harry slipped his arm around her and gave her a squeeze. God, he had missed this. With his brother, Ronnie, in India with his family, Harry was looking forward to a bit more time with his mother. He was determined today not to think of his father. Not if he could help it.
Harry’s phone rang, interrupting his heat-hazed peace. He saw it was work and ignored it. These moments with his mother were precious; five years apart had been five years too many. Today was the first day of a fortnight’s annual leave, and he would be creating memories he could call upon during those frequent nights when his job dragged him to the city’s darkest corners.
He kept his arm around his mother as she rested her head on his shoulder, both of them watching Aaron innocently splashing in the water.
Today, even more than usual, City Park was a vibrant display of Bradford’s citizens. Women in burkas played with their children while beside them girls in Western swimwear were sunbathing. Boys, both Asian and white, had stripped off their tops and were flexing their muscles. Everyone was laughing and enjoying the weather.
‘Do you like the watch?’ his mother asked him.
Harry sighed, glancing at the Rolex on his wrist. ‘It’s a bit extravagant, Mum. You didn’t need to.’
‘Rubbish. You never had a proper wedding, so I never gave you a gift.’
Usually the watch stayed inside its box but when he met his mother he made a point of wearing it so she could see that he appreciated the extravagance. He’d looked up the value on the internet.
Harry wasn’t a flash bastard and, while he did have a thing for watches, he’d never indulged it. A detective’s salary didn’t stretch that far.
Harry slipped off the wall and stepped into the water, soothing his sunburnt bare feet. He lifted Aaron and pointed towards the ice cream van.
‘You want one?’
‘I think we’d better get dry first.’
‘We come back here after, Daddy?’
Aaron kissed Harry’s cheek. ‘I love you, Daddy.’
Harry smiled and started towards his mother, who was ready
with a towel. ‘Love and affection when you want something, just like your mother.’
Harry’s phone rang again.
Again, he dismissed it and flipped the phone to silent.
‘Don’t take the piss, I’m off,’ he muttered to himself, annoyed. As Harry’s mother towelled Aaron, she took every opportunity to
steal a kiss from him. Harry closed his eyes, taking a mental photo- graph. He hoped Saima would get here before his mother had to go.
She was due to meet Harry after Friday prayers.
Distracted from his son by an unfamiliar noise, Harry looked up to see a distant swirling of helicopter blades. More than one. As he saw them, the enormous cinema screen at the far end of City Park went black, before displaying a flashing red message, timed perfectly with the deafening roar of what appeared to be two military helicopters now almost directly overhead. IMMINENT SECURITY THREAT. LEAVE CITY PARK IMMEDIATELY.
Only moments later, the same message boomed from the speakers.
Time froze in City Park. Everyone stared at the screen.
The message sounded again.
Harry watched as, in agonizing slow-motion, the panic started. ‘Shit,’ he said, feeling his phone vibrating in his pocket again.
He pulled it out and put it to his ear, taking Aaron from Joyti and moving her out of the main flow of people as City Park started to fracture.
‘What’s happening?’ said Harry. On the borders of City Park officers exited two armed-response vehicles, weapons raised, but came no further. More police vehicles were arriving every second and in the distance Harry could see uniformed officers pulling bright yellow tape taut to establish a cordon around the site.
The cinema screen now displayed another message, this one far more sinister: a skull and crossbones, a timer below them, count- ing down from twenty minutes. An obvious hack – there was no way that was protocol.
Harry listened to his boss, jaw tense, his eyes drifting down to his watch.
Before the call hit thirty seconds, he disconnected it, turned to his mother, tightened his grip around Aaron and said, ‘Run.’
OMFG!!!!!! How amazing was that!? I can’t wait to read my copy now! I am having a bit of a #DhandBinge because I still have to read my copy of City of Sinners but I guarantee that once I get started, I just won’t want to stop. THAT is what A.A. Dhand’s writing is like – unputdownable!