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Someone Who Isn’t Me Excerpt

Kay sees the house she has rented, sight-unseen, in Sunk Island. 

The house was empty because the owner had died just a few weeks before. The family, according to the estate agent, planned to sell, but they wanted to do it up first. In the meantime, they’d decided to make it pay by letting it. 

If she’d been asked to describe ‘deceased property’ she couldn’t have done better than this house. It was a square, red brick construction with tall chimneys. Repairs to the pointing looked long overdue, which meant the house would be damp. The windows were dark and hung with grubby-looking nets. The front door was heavy timber with iron hinges and locks. In the dull light, the house looked neither welcoming nor reassuring. 

But it could look very different. She pictured it briefly with new paint, bright curtains in the windows, the nets removed. Why would you need net curtains here? Surely the isolation gave you all the privacy you wanted.

The wind was blowing from the east, bringing spatters of rain. She shivered.  It felt as if it was coming straight across from the Siberian steppes, cutting through her coat and chilling her bones. Banks of cloud were gathering above her in the vast skies of the east coast. It might still seem like autumn in Scarborough, but here it felt as though winter had already arrived, and spring, she suspected, would be no kinder.

‘You must be Mrs McKinnon.’ A very young-looking man emerged from the parked car, smiling and holding out his hand. ‘I’m Oliver Shaw from the estate agent. I’ve brought the keys and I’ll show you round.’ He beamed as though he couldn’t think of anything he’d rather do. He looked about sixteen and clearly took his role very seriously. 

Kay made herself focus. The drive had been a nightmare of traffic, with heavy goods lorries spattering mud up from the road across her windscreen so for vital seconds she couldn’t see, and she’d arrived in no mood to feel positive towards Sunk Island and in no mood to be cajoled by an over-enthusiastic salesman. She nodded curtly and went round to the passenger side of her car to open the door and let Milo out. He jumped down and shook himself, yawning and wagging his tail hopefully. ‘Walk later,’ she said and hooked him onto his lead – she wanted to check the security of the garden before she let him off. 

‘Lovely area, isn’t it?’ The young man, Oliver Shaw, said, looking a bit nervously at Milo who was eyeing him with equal suspicion. ‘And the house – real character.’

Becca’s voice in her head said, Yeah, right as Kay let her gaze travel across it, wondering which character he had in mind. Dracula? Frankenstein’s monster?  

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About the Author – Danuta Kot

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Danuta Kot (who also writes as Danuta Reah and as Carla Banks) grew up with stories. Her Irish mother and her Polish father kept their own cultures alive with traditional tales they shared with their children. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront modern, urban society: poverty, alienation, and social breakdown, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She now works as a senior education consultant, work that involves travel to establish education and training in other parts of the world. She is a regular academic speaker at conferences and literary festivals and has appeared on radio and television.

Author’s Contact Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

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