In a story like this, nothing is as it seems… #337 #Extract @nholten40 @MJonathanLee @HideawayFall

#Bookpeeps! I’m delighted to give a #shoutout to M. Jonathan Lee and 337 which is published by Hideaway Fall on Nov 30th! I was lucky enough to receive an #arc and great promo pack from Holly Milnes!

When describing the book, publicist Holly Milnes says,

The release of 337 is particularly exciting for many, many reasons, but (to save this email from being pages long) here are our top three. Firstly, it reads from both directions! It’s completely up to you to decide which way you’ll begin the novel. Number Two is that, to the best of our knowledge, 337 is the only book where everything you believe about each character is changed on the very last word. And finally, it is modern day contemporary fiction at its best. A story of a boy who woke one morning to find his mother had vanished leaving just her wedding ring and a note on the kitchen table. Now, twenty years later, he sits alongside his grandmother in her final week trying to get to the truth before the knowledge she holds about what really happened literally passes away. Lost forever.

About the Book

337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note.

While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby.

Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth.

Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.

From 337 by M. Jonathan Lee 

The next few weeks were even more of a haze than the previous year. I don’t remember much of what happened. My time was spent in my own room and Tom’s. We didn’t go any further than the garden. It wasn’t worth it. People still shook their head and tsk-
ed as they passed the end of the drive. Journalists still appeared for comment. They wanted to know how it felt to have a family split between guilt and innocence. How it was that we could still live with Gramma when she had the opposing view to us. After all, they said, I was an integral part of getting my father convicted. Tom and I stopped leaving the house. We smoked until we passed out in the conservatory. We drank the crates of beer that Dad had piled up in the garage. At first, we hid it from Gramma and then…well, one day it no longer seemed to matter.

And it was clear to her that there was nothing she could say or do to deter her two teenage grandsons from doing whatever they wanted. I clearly remember that the fresh lemon-coloured rooms in the house quickly began to revert to their unhappy greyness. The atmosphere once again blackened. A suffocation, like smoke billowing from a factory. It even became difficult to breathe. Gramma became a ghost in her own home. The meals she prepared were pushed away. Her words were ignored. She began to fade, to disappear right in front of our eyes. It would have been the most poignant of magic shows if anyone had bothered to notice. Her control over the household fell from ubiquitous to nothing in less than a few weeks. The house itself seemed to agonise over its inhabitants and before long it made no attempt to be a home. Just a shell for living in.

And then, perhaps when it became a reality that Dad wasn’t suddenly going to walk through the door, that he wasn’t going to tell us all that it was a big mistake, our lives hit a new low.

I remember that day well, because you don’t forget days like that. Regardless of your state of mind. Days like that stay forever inscribed on a part of your brain that does not forget. The memory is stored as a reminder of how bad times can get. And what caused the bad times. In this case, I have always believed, it was Gramma.

I have to say that I don’t know what the exact day was. That doesn’t mean that my recollection is tainted; it just didn’t seem like the actual day of the week mattered, especially when every day followed a similar pattern. I do know that it must have been a few weeks after my father’s conviction, because the knocks on the door had become scarcer and the smartly dressed presenters and their small camera crews had all but left the end of our drive. We were old news and, unless something changed, our story was over. You pretty soon realise that once the journalists have had their fill, they quickly leave to set up temporary home at the end of someone else’s drive. After all, there is always another town, another husband, another murder, another weapon around the corner.

If I am to tell my story correctly and you are to understand it, then I must tell you every single detail I can remember about that day…

Great extract! If you’re intrigued, 337 will be available from Nov 30th. Please note the double-ended upside-down opening for this book is available in books ordered in hard copy from UK booksellers only.