Welcome to my stop on The Fire Pit Blog Tour hosted by Titan Books. I have an extract to share with you all today from the third instalment in Chris Ould’s hugely popular crime series that takes place in the Faroes Islands, remote and rocky islands out on the coast of Northern Europe. Such a perilous and claustrophobic location makes for some cracking crime thriller stories. The extract I have for you today is the second chapter of the novel. It definitely establishes a suspenseful tone that I am sure will entice readers into giving The Fire Pit a go. Enjoy the extract and please make sure to check out all the other blogs who are hosting features/reviews this week on the poster below.
The Fire Pit Synopsis
In the wake of a dying man’s apparent suicide, the skeleton of a young woman is discovered on a windswept hillside. Detective Hjalti Hentze suspects that it is the body of a Norwegian woman reported missing forty years earlier, while a commune occupied the land, and whose death may be linked to the abduction and rape of a local Faroese girl.
Meanwhile British DI Jan Reyna is pursuing his investigation into his mother’s suicide. But as he learns more about her final days, links between the two cases start to appear: a conspiracy of murder and abuse spanning four decades. And as Hentze puts the same pieces together, he realizes that Reyna is willing to go further than ever before to learn the truth…
About Chris Ould
Chris Ould is a BAFTA award-winning screenwriter who has worked on many TV shows including The Bill, Soldier Soldier, Casualty and Hornblower. He is the author of The Blood Strand, the first book in the Faroes series – which received a starred review from Booklist, which called it “A winner for fans of Henning Mankell” – as well as Road Lines and A Kind of Sleep. He lives in Dorset. (The Killing Bay and The Fire Pit are also available to read right now too).
The Fire Pit Extract
I AWOKE, TENSED UNTIL I KNEW WHERE I WAS AND THEN LAY still for a while, until my pulse slowed. When I looked at the time on my phone it was 4:50 but I knew I was too awake to sleep again now. Downstairs my packed bag was on the floor of the sitting room. I went to make coffee and some toast from the last of the bread. Outside it was still very dark and there was the faint noise of rain on the windows. Beyond that – perhaps – I thought I could pick out the sound of the waves on Leynar’s black beach. It was high tide, I knew without thinking.I’d grown very used to this place and thought I might miss it, although maybe what I’d miss most was the fact that living in Fríða’s guesthouse gave me the feeling of being detached from real life; from the need for decisions or action. It couldn’t last, but maybe that was as it should be. We might be cousins, but I couldn’t live off Fríða’s hospitality forever. She’d done enough over the last few weeks; it was time to go back.
After eating I had a shower and dressed. By the time I’d done that I noticed that there were lights on in Fríða’s place. She was a naturally early riser – usually coming back from a run just as I raised the blinds – but today I’d beaten her to it, albeit not out of choice.
At the table I sipped another coffee and opened my iPad to a magazine article Tove Hald had translated from Danish. I’d read a couple of paragraphs when there was a knock on the door and when I called out Fríða came in. She was in running gear, her blonde hair tied up and back to accommodate a head torch on a sweatband.
“I saw the light was on,” she said, with a touch of concern. “You know we don’t need to leave for more than an hour?”
“Yeah, I know, but I was awake so…” I shrugged and then, to deflect the subject, I gestured to the iPad. “I was just catching up on my reading. Tove sent me an article from a Danish magazine called Provokation. It’s about Rasmus Matzen and the commune movement. He talks a bit about the Colony commune at Múli and why it didn’t succeed. Apparently it was hard to grow food there and the weather wasn’t what they expected.”
“It never is,” Fríða said drily. “But you have to come here to know that. Are you still thinking you’ll go to Denmark to see him, to ask if he remembers your mother?”
I put the iPad aside. “I think so. Maybe at the end of the week. And Hjalti Hentze has asked a colleague in Copenhagen if she’ll let me look at the police report on Lýdia’s suicide.”
“So you’ve talked to Hjalti about Lýdia?”
“Good,” she said with a nod.
“Because he reads people well,” Fríða said matter-of-factly. Then, “And it won’t be a problem for you to go?”
“Not for me, no.”
From her expression I could tell that she thought I’d dodged the question – which I had – but my interview with the Directorate of Professional Standards was set for tomorrow and once it was done the cards could fall as they liked. I wasn’t sure how much I cared about the outcome any more – not enough to talk about it, anyway – so I picked up my mug and stood up.
“Coffee?” I asked.
Fríða shook her head and straightened up. “Nej, takk. I still want to run – just a short one,” she added. “Twenty minutes, then a shower and we can go.”
“It’s still dark,” I pointed out. “Listen, why don’t you run later? I’ll call a taxi instead. I don’t want to mess up your day.”
“The dark doesn’t matter,” she said, as pragmatic as ever. “I have my torch and the road’s very smooth. No, I’ll go now and we can leave for Vágar in an hour, okay?”
I knew better than to argue, so I didn’t and later we drove to the airport as the sky started to pink up and the rain slackened off to a drizzle.
In the car park Fríða hugged me and kissed my cheek before getting back in her car, pulling away as I towed my bag across the wet tarmac to the terminal building. From then on whatever mixed feelings I had about leaving this place were gradually subsumed by the practicalities of travel, and then by the slow widening of distance – both real and imagine
Thank you for stopping by to check out this extract. Chris Ould has crafted a stellar crime series that takes place in a unique setting. I hope this is not end of the series but I also am interested in what other sorts of novels Chris Ould is thinking of writing. I might have request an interview with Chris to find out to keep your eyes peeled for that. I hope you all enjoyed the extract and to find out plenty more about The Fire Pit and the other instalments of the series then please make sure you check out the other stops on this blog tour.