problem, but he could deal with it.

She really could not have picked a better place to stop!

He blew her a silent kiss.


In the warm summer-night air, Katie Bishop tossed her untidy flame-red hair away from her face and yawned, feeling tired. Actually, beyond tired. Exhausted – but very, very nicely exhausted, thank you! She studied the petrol pump as if it was some extraterrestrial creature put on Planet Earth to intimidate her, which was how she felt about most petrol pumps. Her husband always had problems figuring out the instructions on the dishwasher and the washing machine, claiming they were written in some alien language called ‘Woman’. Well, so far as she was concerned, petrol pumps came with an equally alien language, the instructions on them were written in ‘Bloke’.

She struggled, as usual, to get the filler cap off her BMW, then stared at the words Premium and Super, trying to remember which one the car took, although it seemed to her she could never get it right. If she put in premium, Brian criticized her for putting in petrol that was too low-grade; if she filled up with super, he got annoyed with her for wasting money. But at this moment, nothing was going in at all. She held the nozzle in one hand, squeezing the trigger hard, and waved with the other, trying to attract the attention of the dozy night attendant behind the counter.

Brian irritated her increasingly. She was tired of the way he fussed about all kinds of stupid little things – like the position of his toothpaste on the bathroom shelf, and making sure all the chairs around the kitchen table were exactly the same distance apart. Talking inches, not feet. And he was becoming increasingly kinky, regularly bringing home carrier bags from sex shops filled with weird stuff that he insisted they try out. And that was really causing her problems.

She was so wrapped up in her thoughts, she didn’t even notice the pump jigging away until it stopped with an abrupt kerlunk. Breathing in the smell of petrol fumes, which she had always quite liked, she hung the nozzle of the pump back up, clicked the key fob to lock the car – Brian had warned her cars often got stolen on petrol station forecourts – and went to the booth to pay.

As she came out, she carefully folded her credit card receipt and tucked it into her purse. She unlocked the car, climbed in, then locked it from the inside, pulled on her seat belt and started the engine. The Il Divo CD started playing again. She thought for a moment about lowering the BMW’s roof, then decided against. It was past midnight; she would be vulnerable driving into Brighton at this hour with an open top. Better to stay enclosed and secure.

It was not until she had driven off the forecourt and was a good hundred yards down the dark slip road that she noticed something smelled different in the car. A scent that she knew well. Comme des Garcons. Then she saw something move in her mirror.

And she realized someone was inside her car.

Fear caught the inside of her throat like a fish hook; her hands froze on the wheel. She jammed her foot down hard on the brake pedal, screeching the car to a halt, scrabbling with her hand on the gear lever to find reverse, to back up to the safety of the forecourt. Then she felt the cold, sharp metal digging into her neck.

‘Just keep driving, Katie,’ he said. ‘You really haven’t been a very good girl, have you?’

Straining to see him in her rear-view mirror, she saw a sliver of light shear off the blade of the knife, like a spark.

And in that rear-view mirror he saw, reflected, the terror in her eyes.


Marlon did what he always did, which was to swim around and around his glass bowl, circumnavigating his world with the tireless determination of an explorer heading into yet another uncharted continent. His jaws opened and closed, mostly on water, just occasionally gulping down one of the microscopic pellets which, Roy Grace presumed from the amount they cost, were the goldfish equivalent of dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s.

Grace lay slouched in his recliner armchair in the living room of his home, which had been decorated by his long-vanished wife, Sandy, in black and white Zen minimalism, and which until recently had been filled with memorabilia of her. Now there were just a few funky 1950s pieces they had bought together – the one taking pride of place was a juke box they’d had restored – and just one photograph of her, in a silver frame, taken twelve years ago on holiday in Capri, her pretty, tanned face grinning her cheeky grin. She was standing against craggy rocks, with her long blonde hair flailing in the wind, bathed in sunlight, like the goddess she had been to him.

He gulped down some Glenfiddich on the rocks, his eyes rooted to the television screen, watching an old movie on DVD. It was one of the ten thousand his mate Glenn Branson just so totally could not believe that he had never seen.

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