It’s lovely to be able to share an extract from ‘Thirty One Bones’ today as part of the Random Things Blog Tour for Morgan Cry’s new novel. With thanks, as always, to Anne for the invite. Please keep scrolling…
When Daniella Coulstoun’s estranged mother Effie dies in Spain under suspicious circumstances, she feels it’s her duty to fly out for the funeral.
On arrival, Daniella is confronted by a dangerous group of expat misfits who claim that Effie stole huge sums of cash from them in a multi-million property scam. They want the money back and Daniella is on the hook for it.
When a suspicious Spanish detective begins to probe Effie’s death and a London gangster hears about the missing money, Daniella faces threats on every front. With no idea where the cash is and facing a seemingly impossible deadline, she quickly finds herself out of her depth and fighting for survival in a strange and terrifying world.
Extract – Thirty-One Bones
At right angles to the bar sits a pool table that can be wheeled away to provide room to play darts on an ageing dartboard. In older days it also allowed a band or a DJ to set up. Not any more. The rest of the pub’s furniture is a job lot of chairs and tables that Effie picked up when the Carnes Frías restaurant in the old town had gone tits up. It was the first replacement furni- ture the bar had seen in twenty years. The regulars had been stunned into silence. Not so much by the surprise of the change. More by the lurid pink colour that both the tables and chairs were painted in. The colour scheme choice of the owner of Carnes Frías going some way to shortening the restaurant’s lifespan. Effie reckoned the colour added some brightness to her place. The regulars thought it looked like shit, but still came in for drink.
Beneath her feet the wooden floor, a decade out from its last polish, is seven parts wood and three parts alcohol. The air conditioning is the same ratio on the working to not working axis.
To her right she looks on a row of booths, the last one occu- pied by the young investor. She returns to the booth, dropping the beer glass on the table before heaving her bulk into the chair opposite Paul. She eyes him up. If he chooses to reject her offer to invest he will pay for the two beers and the packet of cheese and onion crisps she’s already given him. But she doesn’t expect him to have to pay.
‘How was the apartment?’ Effie asks. ‘Stunning,’ Paul replies. ‘The new ones will be even better.’ Paul sweeps at the long hair cascading over his face. Effie thinks
the shoulder-length mane, scruffy goatee and flea-bitten Afghan coat a crock of crap. It marks Paul out as a prick. But a prick with twenty grand in his account. Twenty grand earmarked for Effie’s bank.
‘When do you break ground?’ Paul says. Effie smiles. The dick is trying to use building-developer terminology. Good luck with that. I’m right in the mood for this.
‘We need full planning first,’ she says, winding up the well- practised pitch. ‘But that’s not proving to be straightforward.’
‘Nothing to worry about,’ she replies. ‘It’s just, since the Gürtel scandal, in Spain the local authorities are a lot warier over approving developments.’
‘I read something about that,’ Paul says. ‘A massive issue here. Bribery, wasn’t it?’
‘And the rest,’ says Effie. ‘And it’ll rumble on for years. It’s changed the whole political landscape in Spain. It’s why we have to show the Ayuntamiento that half of our investors are not connected to us.’
‘They want to ensure we don’t have any controlling interest. Especially when we are talking a couple of million per property. It’s a pity because we’d love to put all the cash in ourselves. It’s such a sweet deal – but rules are rules.’
Paul rubs his nose, ‘I have to say I couldn’t find anything about any fifty per cent rule.’
That’s because it doesn’t exist, dickwad. Let’s get this done soon. I’m up for another pill.
‘It’s new,’ Effie says. ‘George Laidlaw can explain it. He’s the legal beagle on this. But it’s good news from your end. You only have to front up twenty k as a deposit. The rest would normally be payable when we complete – but, by then, we’ll have sold out, be a lot richer and you won’t have had to fork out the balance. Twenty k for a million plus – how can that not be the deal of the century? This is better than a lottery win for you.’
Like hell it is.
Paul scrubs at his forehead. ‘Why so little cash up front? Seems too good to be true.’
Effie smiles, a crooked beast at best. ‘The new rule requires us to deposit a hundredth of the estimated final sale price with the Ayuntamiento on application. We’re not allowed to take any more than twenty thousand per investor until planning is approved, at which time, before any more money is needed, we will sell it on to a bigger developer.’
Take it easy, Effie, take it easy. Now for the tricky part.
Gordon has seven crime and thriller books published to date, along with a number of short stories. His latest novel, Highest Lives, published by Strident Publishing, is the fourth in the Craig McIntyre series.
Under a new name, Morgan Cry, Polygon will be publishing Gordon’s new crime thriller, set in Spain. Called ‘Thirty-One Bones’ it will be available in July 2020.
Gordon also helped found Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival (see http://www.bloodyscotland.com), is a DJ on local radio (www.pulseonair.co.uk) and runs a strategic planning consultancy. He lives in Scotland and is married with two children.
In a former life Gordon delivered pizzas in Toronto, sold non-alcoholic beer in the Middle East, launched a creativity training business, floated a high tech company on the London Stock Exchange, compered the main stage at a two-day music festival and was once booed by 49,000 people while on the pitch at a major football Cup Final.