I’m really excited to welcome you to the last stop of A K Reynolds’ VERY NEARLY DEAD #BlogBlitz!
VERY NEARLY DEAD Book Blurb:
My name is Jasmine Black, and I’m an ordinary woman apart from three things; I’m hiding a terrible secret from my youth, my past is catching up with me and when it does, I’ll be dead.
Jasmine Black, a 34-year-old alcoholic, criminal lawyer, has a secret.
At the age of 16 she was in a gang of youths that committed a horrendous crime. As
members of the gang start being killed one by one, Jasmine fears for her life.
Desperate to uncover who is responsible for the murders, Jasmine starts to investigate.
But can she uncover the truth before it’s too late?
Here and Now
A lamp post brought my car to a halt. If not for the seatbelt I would’ve been hurled through the windscreen. My reflexes contributed to my survival. Some instinct made me jam on the brakes as I careered out of control. Once the car was stationary I sat in the darkness, my heart pumping wildly. That was when the boy’s face came back to me, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, as did the sound his body had made when my car ploughed into him.
Oh my God, Jaz, what have you done? I thought.
I turned off the ignition and put on the handbrake, then felt at a loss as to what to do next.
‘Hold it together,’ I muttered, looking around to assess the situation. My car was at a slant because the two nearside wheels were on the pavement and the other two were on the road. I took a deep breath, told myself I had to check how the boy was, unfastened my seatbelt, and climbed out. My head was spinning and everything had an unreal nightmarish quality. I prayed to God I’d wake up in bed and all would be back to normal, but deep down I knew that however nightmarish this all felt, it was actually happening. Things swung dizzily in and out of focus and I wondered if I’d been concussed, or if I’d done something I shouldn’t – something I didn’t want to think about.
I walked around the other side of the vehicle to get a better view of my victim. He’d been thrown off the bonnet and landed on the pavement. I should have been in a blind panic but I wasn’t. Shaken up and distressed, yes; blind panic, no. That’s how I knew I was drunk. It was a revelation which filled me with dread. I’d sober up quickly, once the enormity of what I’d done sank in.
With a shock I realised I knew the boy lying on the ground. He was a former client of mine called Sean Price, and was only sixteen years old. I’d got him off charges of possession of a controlled drug, and intention to supply a controlled drug. He’d grown a beard since I’d last seen him, and his thin whiskery features made him look like a dead rat, but surely he wasn’t dead. His eyes were open, unseeing, but there had to be life behind them. I bent down to examine him. I’m no medical expert, I’m a solicitor. Still, I thought I’d be able to reassure myself the boy was at least breathing.
What next, then?
My stomach made an involuntary movement, a sort of flip, as I assessed the future.
My specialist area is criminal law. I’m a defence solicitor. It wasn’t too hard for me to work out what the consequences of my actions would be, even in the inebriated and overwrought state I’d somehow gotten myself into. I didn’t have to look anything up because I’d dealt with this sort of thing for my clients many times. It was second nature to me, so much so that I was able to recite the penalties while crouching over the body. (I now accepted he was no longer a boy, it was a body).
There would be: a prison sentence of up to fourteen years, a fine which could be unlimited, a two-year minimum driving ban, and eleven penalty points on my driving licence. Plus, I could expect to be struck off the roll of solicitors and face disciplinary action from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. In the grand scheme of things, however, all the penalties, other than the prison sentence, would amount to no more than a slap on the wrist.
I said it out loud, ‘Fourteen years.’
It seemed an unfeasibly long time. Then I considered the possibility of time off for good behaviour, parole, and so on, and reckoned I might get away with only serving seven years. But even seven was a long time behind bars. Too long for me, even though I was still, just, in my early thirties, with most of my life ahead of me, as long as I didn’t somehow throw it away.
I didn’t want to go to prison. That said, I was just coming home from one. I’d been out on a call to a police station cell dispensing advice to a new client. It was my night for doing the call-outs, a part of the job I loathed. The worst thing about my role, as I very quickly found out, is that they were all guilty. I hadn’t, to the best of my knowledge, ever defended an innocent man or woman. But it was my job to get them acquitted irrespective of guilt.
I’d been very successful at getting acquittals. I was good at playing the game with the Crown Prosecution Service lawyers. That was the part of the job I liked, the intellectual aspect where you use your knowledge and skills to get one over on the opposition. But when I thought about the people I was using my skills to help, it could be depressing, which is probably why my drinking had increased over the years.
Or maybe it was for another reason – the secret I harboured. The one I’d buried deep within my soul and which every single day since the day of its interment had hammered on the sides of its coffin demanding to be exhumed.
Andy and Kath Reynolds are a husband and wife writing team who use the pen
name A K Reynolds. As Kath doesn’t care for publicity, only Andy is pictured.
Kath provides the ideas for their stories and writes the introspective thoughts of
their fictional characters. Andy does most of the plotting and writes the action
As to their backgrounds, Kath has worked in a women’s refuge and latterly as a
consultant; Andy is a former lawyer.
Very Nearly Dead, a domestic noir thriller with a woman at its centre, is their
debut novel. They plan to write many more.
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