'Hilary belts out a corker of a story, all wrapped up in her vivid, effortless prose' Observer
Don't miss this extract from Sarah Hilary's, COME AND FIND ME, the latest in the Marnie Rome series.

Posted on October 4, 2018 in Extract
Tags: Come and Find Me, Extract, marnie rome, sarah hilary

Noah Jake checked his phone for messages, trying to keep warm. When he looked up, they were coming down the prison steps. She was holding hard to his arm, her best hat pinned in place, coat buttoned to the neck. He wore a mac over a blue suit he’d last worn to a wedding, his face deeply lined by this new worry. They moved slowly, as if their bones hurt or they were afraid of falling. At the foot of the steps they stopped with their heads together, regrouping after whatever they’d witnessed in the prison. Pentonville wasn’t rioting like Cloverton, but it wasn’t somewhere you’d want your son to spend a night, let alone nine months on remand.

Noah straightened, slipping his phone into his pocket. He crossed to where they were standing, the woman clinging to the man’s arm. ‘How is he? Mum?’
She turned away, showing the back of her head, red hat held in place by a white enamel pin. She smelt of talcum powder and furniture polish, the smell of his childhood. After a minute, she pulled away, walking towards the bus stop. Her bag swung at her shoulder until she held it down, her fist clenched, knuckles scrubbed and shiny.

‘She needs time.’ Noah’s father followed her with his eyes. ‘Give her time.’

‘How was he? Sol.’

Dad rubbed a hand over his jaw. ‘Not good.’

‘I’ve asked to see him,’ Noah said. ‘More than once. I’ll keep asking.’

‘You should leave it for a little while.’ Dad shook his head. ‘Let things settle down. It’s not been six weeks since— Let it all calm down.’

Since you arrested him. It hadn’t been six weeks since Noah had arrested his brother, Sol.

‘How’s Mum?’ He shivered, looking towards the bus shelter.

She’d stopped with her head held high, creases in the back of her coat from the day’s sitting and waiting. Pain nagged at Noah’s ribs where he wore stubborn bruises from the baseball bat which had put him into hospital just days before Sol’s arrest. He kept waiting for the bruises to fade but every morning their black ache was right here below his heart, nagging when he breathed.

‘You need to give her time.’ Dad moved until he was facing Noah. ‘And you need to take some yourself. You’re thin, boy. Are you eating properly?’

Before all this, he’d have insisted on Noah coming home to eat a decent meal, a huge plate of Mum’s sweet fried plantains, her cure for all ills. But not now, with her so furious. Noah wasn’t to set foot inside their house. His own brother in a cell, living like that.

‘I had to do it.’ He’d lost count of the number of times he’d said this. ‘Sol was in serious trouble. For his sake as much as anything, I had to end it.’

‘Your brother’s been trouble since before he was born,’ Dad sighed. He touched a hand to Noah’s elbow. ‘Take care, boy.’ He walked to where his wife was waiting.

Noah’s phone rang in his pocket.

‘DS Jake.’ He pinched the bridge of his nose.

‘Michael Vokey.’ DS Ron Carling wasn’t calling from the station, his voice had an underwater echo.

‘We’ve found him?’

‘Better than that,’ Ron said.

What was better than finding the country’s most wanted man? Michael Vokey was a sadist who’d tortured a young mother and left bloody mayhem in his wake when he’d escaped a week ago from HMP Cloverton. ‘He’s dead?’

‘You’ll want to get here for this.’ Ron gave Noah the directions, adding, ‘I hope you didn’t eat a big breakfast.’

‘I skipped breakfast. Why?’ Not that Noah needed to ask. It was there in Ron’s voice: a crime scene, and not a neat one.

He watched his parents climb onto the bus, Dad’s arm around Mum. She kept her head high. She’d rest it on his shoulder once they were seated and it was safe to let go of the stiffness she was wearing like an extra coat against the cold. Dad would take care of her.

‘How bad is it?’ Noah asked.

‘On a scale of one to Dennis Nilsen?’ Ron sniffed. ‘I’m giving this a high five.’


COME AND FIND ME is out now

Don’t miss our COME AND FIND ME competition with The Gluttenous Gardener

Listen to Sarah reading another extract from the book here

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