This week sees the publication of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS from Elizabeth Haynes,the bestselling author of Into the Darkest Corner.To mark publication of the paperback on 28th January, I was asked if I would like to take part in a mini blog tour for Elizabeth. I jumped at the chance as I really enjoyed Behind Closed Doors and reviewed it back last year on my blog. I’ve included the original review in this post if you haven’t read this book yet, then I hope the following extract from Behind Closed Doors will convince you to read it.
Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. When Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, DCI Louisa Smith is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long.
Was she abducted or did she run away?
As Lou and her team delve deeper into Scarlett’s past, their investigation throws up more questions than it answers. But as they edge closer to discovering what really went on behind closed doors, the truth is more sinister and disturbing than they had ever imagined.
Extract from Behind Closed Doors
SCARLETT – Rhodes, Saturday 23 August 2003, 04:44
To begin with, nothing was certain except her own terror.
Darkness, and stifling heat, so hot that breathing felt like effort, sweat pouring off her so her skin itself became liquid and she thought she would simply melt into a hot puddle of nothing. She tried crying out, screaming, but she could barely hear her own voice above the roar of the engine, the sound of the wheels moving at speed on tarmac. All that did was give her a sore throat. Nobody could hear her.
She tried listening instead, eyes wide with nothing to see. She could hear voices sporadically from somewhere else in the vehicle – two different men – but she didn’t recognise them, nor could she understand what they were saying. She assumed they were speaking in Greek, but the harsh rasp of the words sounded different from the voices she’d heard over the past week at the resort. Lots of ‘th’ sounds, rolled ‘r’s, words ending in ‘a’ and ‘eh’.
Fear came in cycles. The first endless panicky minutes had been very bad: trawling through vague memories of the past few days, trying to identify the mistake she’d made, because this had to be her fault – this can’t be real, I’m dreaming – then the shock realisation that this wasn’t a nightmare, it was really happening. The worst moment of all.
It had been so quick.
She had arrived a bit early at the place where they’d agreed to meet, and she’d been preparing to wait – he’d said he finished work at two – and a van had pulled up beside her. She hadn’t been worried. There were still people around, drunk tourists staggering back up the road towards their hotels. The side door of the van had slid open, and a man got out. He was talking to her, friendly, a smile that showed his teeth. His accent was so strong she couldn’t really tell what he was saying.
‘No, no,’ she’d said. ‘English. I don’t understand.’
But he’d kept yammering on, standing too close to her. She had begun to feel unnerved by it, and something had made her glance to the right, to the gate which led to the Aktira Studios, and in that split second when she’d seen someone she recognised, made eye contact, she had felt something like relief – and then the man had pushed her, a hard shove that sent her sprawling into the back of the van. He’d climbed in after her, slammed the door shut and the van started moving. The man had held her down, put his hand over her mouth, pressing her head into the metal floor so hard that she’d thought her skull was going to burst.
Seconds. The whole thing had taken seconds.
Now, hours since those terrifying first moments, she had reached a plateau brought on by the monotony of driving, the panic overridden by the pain in her arms and legs and the discomfort of being tied hand and foot and having to lie still on the floor of the van. They’d stopped once, very early on, before she’d had time to get over the shock or formulate any plan of escape; by that time the man in the back with her had already tied her up. He got out, leaving her alone, and the van door shut – and they were moving again.
The noise of the engine was unbearably loud; the van would bump and jolt as it went over potholes. Her head ached as a result, sometimes so badly it made her cry. The fear made her cry. Crying made her headache worse, and then it all became pointless, so she would stop for a while and try to sleep in snatches, because sleeping, at least, gave her a brief respite.
And she would dream of him, remember, and wake with tears on her cheeks, thinking, This wasn’t supposed to happen. Then the shock and the fear would kick in, and the whole cycle would begin again.
Praise for Elizabeth Haynes
‘The sprinkling of jet-black comedy and the authentic voice . . . keeps you going back for more’
Elizabeth Haynes worked for many years as a police analyst. Her first novel, Into the Darkest Corner, won Amazon’s Book of the Year in 2011 and Amazon’s Rising Star Award for debut novels.
Elizabeth grew up in Sussex and studied English, German and Art History at Leicester University. She is currently taking a career break having worked for the past seven years as a police intelligence analyst. Elizabeth now lives in Norfolk with her husband and son. She is a regular participant in, and a Municipal Liaison for, National Novel Writing Month – an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.
Follow Elizabeth Haynes on twitter: @Elizjhaynes #BehindClosedDoors
Behind Closed Doors is Elizabeth Haynes’s fifth book and the second to feature Detective Inspector Louisa Smith of the Briarstone Major Crimes. Behind Closed Doors deals with the difficult subject of human trafficking, although a disturbing subject Haynes manages to deal with a difficult subject in a sensitive way. I was engrossed reading about Scarlett and what happened to her, but I found the present-day investigation into organised crime rather hard to follow.
This is a book that will thrill lovers of the police procedural sections which gave an air of authenticity to the story, but at times I felt they we’re unnecessary, especially the witness statements, which were almost impossible to see on my kindle. Although I enjoyed this book, it’s not Elizabeth Haynes at her best, and I have dropped a star because in parts I found it hard to follow. Despite this Behind Closed Doors was an enjoyable read, with a decent plot and well developed characters, and certainly worth a read
4☕️☕️☕️☕️ Out of 5 from me