Today I have an excerpt for you from a new psychological thriller/mystery published by Faber & Faber at the end of February – The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer. It’s received very positive reviews via social media.
She is the missing girl. But she doesn’t know she’s lost.
Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children’s festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift…
While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is – and who she might become.
Excerpt from chapter 2 of The Girl in the Red Coat
For my eighth birthday I want to go an see a maze.
“Carmel. What do you know about mazes?” Mum says.
If I think hard I can see a folded puzzle in my mind that looks like a brain.
“I’ve heard things,” I say. And Mum laughs and says OK.
We don’t have a car so we go on the bus, just the two of us. The windows are steamed up so I can’t see where we’re going. Mum’s got on her favourite earrings which are like bits of glass except colours sparkle on them when she moves.
I’m thinking about my birthday, which was last Thursday, and now it’s Saturday and I’m thinking about how my friend gets cards and presents from her nan but Mum doesn’t talk to her mum and dad even though they’re still alive. I don’t mind so much about the cards and presents but I’d like to know what they look like.
“Mum, have you got a photo of your mum and dad?”
Her head shoots around and the earrings flash pink and yellow lights. “I’m not sure. Maybe, why?”
“I just wonder what they look like sometimes and if they look like me.” It’s more than sometimes.
“You look like your dad, sweetheart”
“But I’d like to know.”
She smiles. “I’ll see what I can do.”
When we get off the bus the sky is white and I’m so excited to see a real maze I run ahead. We’re in this big park and mist is rolling around in ghost shapes. There’s a huge grey house with hundreds of windows that are all looking at us. I can tell Mum’s scared of the house so I growl at it. Sometimes she’s scared of everything, Mum – rivers, roads, cars, planes, what’s going to happen and what’s not going to happen.
But then she laughs and says, “I’m such a silly old thing.”
Now we’re at the top of this hill and I can see the maze below and it does look like a brain. I think it’s really funny I’ve thought about a brain inside my brain and try to explain but I don’t do it very well and I don’ think Mum really gets it. But she’s nodding and listening anyway and standing there with her long blue coat all wet from the grass at the bottom. She says, “That’s very interesting, Carmel.” Though I’m not sure she really understood, but Mum always tries to. She doesn’t just ignore you like you’re just a mouse or a bat.
So we go in.
Linked with the excerpt above, have you ever got lost in a maze?
Many thanks to Sophie at Faber & Faber for approving use of content 🙂