#BLOGTOUR #EXCERPT – Utrecht Murders by Jonathan Wilkins – @writerjwilkjns @damppebblesbts @damppebbles #utrechtsnow #prdgreads

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the Utrecht Murders by Jonathan Wilkins & I’m coming at you with an extract of Utrecht Snow, thank you to Emma at Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for organising it and inviting me to take part.

Synopsis: Utrecht police inspector Caes Heda leads a team looking into the disappearance of young women. Meanwhile his daughter, Truus, bored with University takes up a job with disgraced former police office Thijs Orman at his Private Detective Agency and finds herself looking for yet another missing girl, this time it’s her bosses own daughter. are they all linked? At the Kroonstraat Police station the team Caes has put together look into the normal run of the mill cases and try to overcome the weather as much as the crime in the city as snow envelopes the streets of Utrecht. We meet twins Freddie and Maaike Meijer who patrol the streets together with colleagues Adrie and Danny. The team is made up by Madelon Verloet and man mountain Ernst Hougewood. Together they investigate car theft, street crime, assault and finally murder. We look at the everyday lives of the police involved, Caes still traumatised after his wifes early death and Truus falling for Maaike.

Excerpt: Amaliastraat, 23.00.
Truus and Maaike were settled in for the evening in Truus’s bedroom. Maaike had decided against being an observer at the car bust. What would be the fun in that, she’d thought? Leaving everything to the bully boys of OCU. Rather spend time with her new love Truus. Truus was sitting reading on the sofa, neatly wedged between the legs of Maaike. Maaike was fiddling with her hair; Truus liked this. It was the only time she wished her hair was longer as she enjoyed the closeness. Truus felt she would love to have her hair braided or plaited. There was such a sensual feel to having someone’s fingers running through your hair. Maaike suddenly hugged her tight, almost crushing all the wind out of her.
“Really love you,” she whispered.
“I know, Maaike. I know you do.”
“No I really, really love you,” she leant down and kissed her neck sending shivers from the spot
down her spine into her tummy.
“I love to hold you close, feeling your warmth. I love everything about this…”
“It is nice…”
“Nice?” she protested, “is that all it is to you, nice?”
“Nice covers a thousand feelings.” Truus said, “that’s the beauty of the word.”
“Doesn’t seem enough to describe how I feel.”
Truus could feel Maaike grimacing.
“One of my creative writer tutors I had, once said never to use the word nice in writing, but I think that’s wrong. It does have so many meanings…”
“Happy!” Maaike interjected.
“Beautiful…” Truus laughed.
“Millions, stop. I need to read this.”
“Why?” asked Maaike.
“Just wanted a different perspective…”
“On what?”
“Something I wrote; I need to see where it’s going.” Truus explained.
“Does it have to go anywhere?”
“It needs to make sense.”
“Shall I read it?” Maaike asked.
“When it’s finished, I want it to be just right.”
“When do you know it’s right?” Maaike wondered.
“You just do. You write then edit then rewrite. Lose words, add words, mix it all around. Eventually it all fits into place.” Truus replied.
“Are you never happy with the first thing you write?”
“Usually I am, but you keep being told to trim it down, to edit and edit. Sometimes you seem to
lose the meaning of what you first wrote. It’s madness sometimes.” Truus replied.
“But you do like it, don’t you?”
“I love it. I love to write; it makes everything right in the world. I can escape and be someone I never knew, go to places I have never visited. It can be magical.”
“I can see that.”
“I find myself in a world where I am always happy. I can make the world my own. It doesn’t have to be a bad place or a sad place, it can be perfect. A lot of the time when I write I just think nowhere could be a better place. Everything is as it should be…”
“But I know that can’t be true and that I have to reflect the real world.””
“Are you trying to escape then?”
“Sometimes I am. I can lose myself and no one can find me. It’s perfect, the best of both worlds, but now…”
“I have you.”
“Will you take me with you?” Maaike asked smiling.
“In my heart always.” Truus smiled in return.

Caes returned home after the arrest and settled down in front of the fire with a crime novel. Busman’s holiday indeed! Truus had told him that Tartan noir was the next big thing. He wondered what clothes had to do with anything until she explained. The plot was good though, there were even some believable elements to it, but he did think that if anyone on the Utrecht force had a similar drink problem they would soon be getting moved on, at least into some kind of therapy. Or maybe not considering what had happened to Thijs. They were pretty proactive here. Caes supposed his life bore witness to that with his now weekly visits to a therapist. People who drank as much as the hero here would not be tolerated. Why did writers have to give their heroes a flaw? Was it so necessary to make them different? Caes couldn’t work out how he was supposed to react to the drunk. Should he admire him for getting the job done, despite his illness alienating all he worked with or should he despise him for his weakness and just take him to one side and explain the damage he was doing to everyone around him. Caes knew it would be the latter, no one is more important than the job. They were there to serve after all. Maybe a bit too goody two shoes!
Caes supposed you could say that they are all human beings first, but in this job one almost had to take on supernatural abilities. Yes, you had to understand your fellow man, but you also had to try to understand why they did what they did. If you thought their behaviour was the norm, what did that say about you? If you broke the law to keep the law, how did that help? Was this the flaw that critics wanted to see in their fictional detective? He wouldn’t last two minutes in the real world. What was his flaw Caes wondered? He was depressed, did that affect his job? Sometimes he wanted to be on his own and wallow a bit, just wanting to be… well depressed. But at other times he could just push it to one side – almost.
Caes had constant reminders of Femke, especially as Truus was growing up to be so like her, and maybe that was a bad thing, always having her remind him of his wife. But there again he didn’t want to ever forget her. Caes had loved her so much. Even now he still loved her. He missed her terribly, five years on there was still this huge gap in his life. She had gone too soon, but at least he had Truus. Maybe that was the problem, Truus was always there. Did she need to move on as much for her sake as his? Caes had no idea if he was holding her back or affecting her. Perhaps he should ask. But what would he say? You need to leave home, lieverd, as you remind me of Femke too much? That was ludicrous. But maybe not.
Did he need to find someone else, but how could he? It was almost as if taking up with someone would negate his time with Femke, well that’s how he looked at it. Caes knew that Truus had said there would never be a replacement for her mammie, but as soon as someone else came into his house, his bed, how would that affect things. It was easier not to bother, to keep the memories, to hold onto the love he had, a love as far as he was concerned that could never be bettered.

Buy the book here


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