Absolutely thrilled to be taking part in W.C. Ryan’s A House of Ghosts blog tour today – this beauty is near the top of my TBR and I’m really looking forward to reading it after hearing such amazing things. I have a great extract to tempt you all too! Thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the tour. A bit about the author and this book first!
About the Author
William Ryan’s first novel in the Captain Korolev series, The Holy Thief, was shortlisted for a Crime Writer’s Association’s New Blood Dagger, a Barry Award, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award and The Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. The second in the series, The Bloody Meadow, was shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and the third, The Twelfth Department, was also shortlisted for the Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year as well as the CWA’s Historical Fiction Dagger and was a Guardian Crime Novel of the Year..
The Constant Soldier, William’s fourth novel was described as “subtle, suspenseful and superb” by The Daily Mail and shortlisted for the HWA’s Gold Crown and the CWA’s Steel Dagger.
William’s latest novel (as W.C. Ryan), A House of Ghosts, was published in October 2018.
William lectures on creative writing at City University and helps run the First Monday crime evenings. Visit www.william-ryan.com for more information.
About the Book
A gripping mystery with a classic feel: And Then There Were None meets The Silent Companions
Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.
At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.
For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .
An unrelentingly gripping mystery packed with twists and turns, A House of Ghosts is the perfect chilling read this winter.
The sea was black as ink and the small fishing boat, travelling under a loose sail, moved slowly across its glass-flat calm. Ahead of them the island was barely visible through the early morning mist, but he could just about make out the cliffs that ringed its southern tip. Normally they were a hard grey, but thanks to the soft rain that clung to the sea mist they were darker still — foreboding, even to someone who knew them well.
The tall man standing beside the wheelhouse knew the island, and the waters around it, well enough, even if it had been four years since he’d last set eyes on the place, and he knew the skipper was right to be cautious. Many was the vessel that had come to grief on the hidden reefs and rocks that lurked underneath the mirrored waters over which they travelled.
The skipper corrected his course to avoid Wrecker’s Spine, the string of jagged rocks that reached out from the cliffs towards the mainland but was invisible when the tide was this high. The tall man glanced across at the skipper, who nodded.
‘I could take you round to the long beach, easy enough. There’s no one on the island as would see you at this time. None as you need worry about, anyway.’
“The Maiden’s Whisper is safest all the same.’
‘It’s a long climb and the rain will have turned to ice on the rocks. I wouldn’t call it safe.’
The skipper cleared his throat and spat, and the tall man knew he’d not mention it again.
A seal’s head broke the surface not twenty yards off the boat’s bow, causing the faintest of ripples. The seal looked directly at the tall man, its intelligent gaze making it seem almost human. The fishing boat slipped past and the seal, motionless, watched the man go.
‘You’ll have to get your feet wet and push me off,’ the skipper said. ‘It won’t be too hard, not with the sea like this.’
The tall man began to take off his boots, placing them in his pack, along with his socks and trousers. There was no point in getting wetter than he had to. After all, there was no certainty that the appointment would be kept that day, or even the next. He might have to rest up in the cave for a while and he wouldn’t be able to light a fire. But he
was used to cold and he would make do. He had biscuits and cheese to eat, as well as some chocolate, and the skip- per’s wife had given him a thermos of tea before they‘d left the harbour.
‘Thanks for all you’ve done for me.’
The skipper nodded. ‘It’s the right thing to do.’
Ahead of them the black sea lapped against the strip of grey pebbles the fishermen called the Maiden’s Whisper. He helped the skipper lift the boat’s keel as it drifted in, kissing the pebbles with a long, slow rattle.
‘Quick now. I’d best be off before the mist clears.’
The tall man took the skipper’s hand and felt the man’s rough skin against his own smooth palm, not hardened much by the blood he’d shed.
‘May God go with you,’ the skipper said. He pushed the sail over and the fishing boat moved slowly away.
Despite the freezing water that came up to his waist, the tall man stood and watched until the fishing boat disappeared into the fog. God would not be accompanying him on this journey. They had no time for each other now, God and he. He turned and made his way up the shore. There he dried himself with his spare shirt and dressed. He was cold, but would soon warm up.
It was only then, when he looked up at the cliffs and followed, with his eye, the narrow track that led up to the cave, that he shivered.
Wow! Wow! Wow! How’s that for an extract!! If you’d like to know more about A House of Ghosts and read the cracking reviews from the tour – check them out here: