Undertow by Elizabeth Heathcote – Blog Tour & Extract

Hi guys, and lovely Sunday! Today I am absolutely thrilled to have an exclusive extract from Elizabeth Heathcote’s new novel “Undertow” – the book sounds absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait to start reading it, especially after seeing all the enthusiastic reviews. The book is out on 22nd September, published by Quercus, and already I can see it’s winking at me from the shelf, so I think it’ll be rather sooner than later to start reading it! But for now, enjoy the extract!


Carmen caught the train back to London the next morning.undertow-cover

Tom would spend the day with the children, then drive back

early evening. That hadn’t been the plan, but Carmen’s friend

Kath had texted late on Saturday to see whether she fancied

meeting up. Kath’s husband, Joe, was a police officer and he

worked irregular hours and often weekends. Kath found it

tough, especially with a baby, so Carmen decided that for once

she would say yes. It was only two hours on the train. She

would have lunch with Kath and then have supper waiting

for Tom.

Tom was fine about it, said she should do what she wanted,

but she still felt bad as she kissed him in the car outside the

station, as though she was abandoning them, which was silly

of course because everything was fine with the kids again. Even

Mel seemed to have forgotten that she was meant to be in a

sulk. Still, as Carmen queued for her ticket, she felt a weight

lifting from her.

She bought a coffee and a newspaper from the kiosk and

walked out on to the platform. The timetable they had at the

bungalow for the coastal branch line was out of date and it

turned out she had a forty-minute wait, but she would connect

with a faster London train at Diss so it would work out

much the same. She found a bench in the sun and was quite

content. She licked the chocolate from inside the lid of her

cappuccino. The top story was a murder, a woman and her

children stabbed to death at their home. A man believed to

be the children’s father was in custody. It was a grim tale and

one that was becoming more common. How could you explain

it? How could anyone do that?

As she read Carmen was conscious of someone sitting down

beside her. He kept shuffling, and she sneaked a glance – it

was a young man, a teenager, wearing a hoodie over black

trousers. Her London radar scanned him in a fraction of a

second – no threat. He caught her eye and she smiled as a

reflex, then regretted it because it encouraged him to strike

up a conversation.

‘You had your head stuck in that paper,’ he said, as though

she should have been talking to him instead.

She smiled vaguely and looked back at the page.

‘Must be an interesting story. What’s it about then?’ He

looked over her shoulder.

He clearly wasn’t going to be put off. ‘A man killed his wife

and children,’ she said.

The boy pulled a surprised face. ‘Why did he do that then?’

Carmen shrugged. Who knows?

‘Maybe she was sleeping around.’

Carmen’s irritation surfaced at that. ‘Are you serious? Do

you think if she had slept with someone else then that’s OK?

To kill her? And his children?’

‘I wasn’t saying that. I was just saying that perhaps that’s

what happened.’ He shifted in his seat. ‘I wasn’t saying it was


Carmen turned back to the paper, pointedly this time. The

boy probably wasn’t as stupid as he sounded, maybe he just

didn’t know the right things to say, but she had no more

patience for him.

He was undeterred. ‘It does happen though,’ he said. ‘It

happened here – a man killed his girlfriend a few years

back and people reckon that was because she was shagging


She didn’t reply. She kept reading.

‘He got away with it too. He made it look like an accident.

He was a lawyer from London – that’s why he got away with

it, we all reckon. He must have known important people.’

He had Carmen’s attention now, she was looking at him,

and he was obviously pleased by that.

‘It’s true. He still comes here – he’s got one of those bungalows

by the beach. He comes for weekends with his kids.

Everyone around here knows about it. He’s got a new wife

now. I reckon she needs to be careful.’

Carmen’s heart was thumping. ‘What was her name?’ she

said. ‘The woman who died?’

‘I don’t know, but she was good-looking. She had a weird

name, I think it began with a Z. Zara . . . something like that . . .’





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