I’m thrilled to be joining the Hold My Hand blog tour today, which is a fantastic debut crime novel by M.J. Ford and as part of the blog tour I have an extract of the book to share with you.
Source: Review Copy
How long do you hunt for the missing?
A horrible vanishing act…
When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared…
Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether?
And then another child disappears…
The paperwork didn’t take long, but the questions got more personal as they went along.
First, the basics. Name (Josephine Masters); address (she gave the rented place in the south of the city; didn’t need Ben somehow getting mail about this); DOB (as if she needed reminding); occupation (copper). Then medical history. Clean bill of health, apart from the scare last year; alcohol unit intake (everyone lied, right?); do you smoke (no, but gagging for one right now); last period (the 18th); last instance of sexual intercourse (regrettable); last pregnancy (she paused a moment, wondering whether it was the conception date they wanted, or the date of the miscarriage, then opted for the latter).
The secretary tapped deftly at the keyboard with manicured fingers. She was perhaps early twenties, a pretty, natural blonde, combining elegance and amiability in a way Jo could never have managed at that age.
Jo wondered what the young woman thought of her. Did she judge? What did she think of the going-on-forty-year-old sitting opposite, her hair needing a colour, her crow’s feet obvious, her sensible shoes and middle-of-the-range navy suit? Did she wonder why Jo was here, why she didn’t have a partner, if . . .
You’re getting bitter, Josephine. Stop it.
Josie Masters will never forget the last day that she saw Dylan Jones alive. Thirty years later, and she is working as a police officer, and when she is called to a disturbing scene, where a child’s skeleton has been unearthed, it reopens old questions about the case she has never forgotten. Has Dylan finally been found? But as the investigation steps up a pace, another child disappears in eerily similar circumstances. Now the race is on to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself.
Hold My Hand is a fantastic crime debut by M.J. Ford. We follow Josie Masters as she tries to piece together what happened to a young boy thirty years ago, when he disappeared from a fair. In the opening chapter, M.J. Ford captured the ensuing panic that rises, when the boy’s mother realises that he is missing and it compelled me to continue reading. The fairground provided the perfect creepy atmosphere, for such a horrible crime to take place. Clowns have always terrified me, so when I read that scene, in which the little boy is being taken away by a clown, it really gave me chills. I just hope I’m not going to have nightmares. We then fast forward thirty years when Josie is now working as a police officer in Bath. She is a character who is haunted by this event that she has witnessed in her past. The fact that she had a personal connection to the case made her a really fascinating character to explore. We can see that she still carries the guilt all these years later, about the fact that she didn’t do anything that day to prevent Dylan from being kidnapped. Now, she hopes that she can finally bring some closure for his family.
The tension in this novel really picks up as the investigation into the two cases steps up and there are several surprising twists and red herrings. The ending of this book really came as a shock and I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. But I’m not going to say anything more about that here; you’ll have to read the book if you want to find out what happens.
This is a cracking novel from M.J. Ford. I’m always excited to read a book by a new crime author, and I’m sure I’ll be keeping an eye out for what he’ll come up with next. This book kept me reading well into the small hours, I was desperate to find out what happens. Hold My Hand is a gripping story that will keep you engaged from start to finish. Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for sending me a copy of the book to review and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Publication date: 8th March 2018
Print length: 336 pages
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