Know Me Now
SUICIDE. A MURDER. A CONSPIRACY. DIGGING UP THE PAST CAN BE DEADLY…
A thirteen-year-old boy commits suicide. A sixty-five-year old man dies of a heart attack.
Dan Forrester, ex MI5 officer, is connected to them both.
And when he discovers that his godson and father have been murdered, he teams up with his old friend, DC Lucy Davies, to find answers.
But as the pair investigate, they unravel a dark and violent mystery stretching decades into the past and uncover a terrible secret.
A secret someone will do anything to keep buried . . .
Have a sneak read of Know Me Now…
‘I’m a little bit in love with Dan Forrester… A fabulously disturbing read! Carver really is a must read writer … Totally recommended.’
‘I simply adore her style: it’s compelling, super tight, cleverly constructed. I loved everything about it. The plot, themes, the pace, the characters! everything.’
‘Genuinely unputdownable. Hard to do anything else when you have one of CJ’s books on the go!’
‘The pace is rapid, the story builds with suspicion and suspense’
‘Brilliantly immersive and the characters shine . . . if you loved the last two you’ll ADORE this one and if you haven’t read them yet then go GO! Excellent reads every one’
I’ve always been interested in the dynamics of long-life friendship especially how loyal people can be and what they might do when the chips are down.
Personally, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma when a friend of mine turned up on my doorstep wanting to hide from the police. It turned out they were an addict – which I’d had no idea about – and had broken into an office to steal money.
My friend was a mess. I brought them in, made them a cuppa, and talked. Boy, did we talk. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to call the police because my friend turned themselves in. But if they hadn’t… what would I have done? How would I have felt if I’d called the police, or if I’d continued to harbour a criminal?
These questions inspired the friendships in this book, between a group of four people who’ve known one another since they were toddlers and are now adults, with kids of their own.
When Dan disembarked he spotted Christopher straightaway. Tall, slim, with sandy hair and freckles, he usually wore an open expression that people warmed to immediately. Christopher made friends easily and, unlike Dan, would happily chat to strangers, finding them interesting and engaging, but today he wasn’t chatting to anyone. He was standing on his own, his face grey and frightened, and the crowd stood apart as though they knew there was something wrong with him and didn’t want to be contaminated.
‘Christopher.’ The men embraced. Dan could feel the tension vibrating in his friend’s body like a high-voltage wire.
‘Dan.’ His voice shuddered. ‘You didn’t have to come. Bill only died –’
‘Dad would have wanted me here.’ Dan was firm.
‘But you must have so much –’
‘What are you driving?’
As Christopher said, ‘Polo,’ Dan put out his hand.
Christopher gave a twisted smile and delved in his jacket pocket to pull out a set of car keys which he handed over. Outside it felt unseasonably cold and, in the distance, heavy grey clouds had sunk low enough to obscure the mountain tops. Dan unlocked the car and climbed inside, repositioning the driver’s seat, mirrors and steering wheel. Christopher didn’t say a word because he knew that Dan’s previous job had been as a high-performance instructor, training racing-car drivers along with high-pursuit police and ambulance drivers. Dan had once taken Christopher on a high-speed drive across country while at the same time giving him a running commentary, and from that day forward Christopher let Dan drive. To save me the embarrassment of looking like an idiot, he’d said.
Dan eased out of the car park, nipping in front of a Mercedes whose driver appeared to be more absorbed in inspecting her mascara in her rear-view mirror than the traffic.
‘What happened to the Baby Rangie?’ The last time Dan had seen Christopher, he’d been enamoured with his brand spanking new Range Rover Evoque.
‘Sam’s requisitioned it.’
Dan was startled but he didn’t react. He let the silence hang.
‘She kicked me out six weeks ago,’ Christopher told him. ‘She relegated me to the Polo. Said it was all I deserved.’
Dan opened and closed his mouth. He wanted to say, ‘What’s going on? You’ve just had a baby . . . you were both so happy when I last saw you . . .’
Christopher made a deep groaning sound. The sound of grief.
‘I fucked up, Dan. Christ, I’ve fucked up.’
Dan flicked on the windscreen wipers. Rain was pushing in from the west and clouds were beginning to thicken. He automatically split his awareness between Christopher and his driving. The A96 was a fast road but notoriously dangerous due to driver frustration. He kept his senses alert.
‘But just because I fucked up, it doesn’t mean Connor killed himself.’ Christopher’s voice strengthened. ‘He’s not like that. He’s not that stupid. Yes, he was angry. He was furious with me and furious with his mum. He didn’t want me to move out. He wanted Sam to forgive me, but she wanted to punish me first. Connor knew things weren’t permanent. We talked about it. He was OK. He knew the score. He was OK.’
Dan flicked his gaze across. Christopher was trembling. His whole body in distress.
‘I know he finds . . . found little Dougie a pain in the backside. Dougie’s a baby. Connor’s a thirteen-year-old boy. When Sam told him he’d be babysitting while she went out with the girls again for the third time in a week – what was she thinking? – he saw red. Stormed off apparently. A lot of it was because Sam refused to call me and have me babysit instead. Which I would have done like a shot. Anything to get back inside the house . . .’
Christopher put his head in his hands and started rocking back and forth. ‘Why didn’t she call me? Then Connor wouldn’t have gone who knows where and ended up . . .’
Clumps of faded wildflowers flashed past. Wind farms, low rolling countryside, brown sweeps of recently harvested wheat. As they crossed the Findhorn, Dan automatically glanced at the water level.
A bit low, his father said in Dan’s mind. Could do with a spate to bring the salmon up.
If they were fishing today, they’d probably use a bog-standard Ally Shrimp with a hot orange bucktail. Dan still found it strange how he couldn’t remember Luke or anything about his old job at MI5 but he could tell you every detail of the fishing rod Christopher’s father had let him use each summer. Some memories had been lost forever but he could recall the fly patterns – Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph – as if he was holding them in his hands.
He could also remember the look of horror on Christopher’s face when he lost control of the Land Rover that day. They’d been twelve, and it had been Sophie – as usual – who’d goaded them into doing something they shouldn’t. Sophie was a year younger than they were but she made up for that by being twice as audacious.
‘Nobody’s here!’ Her face shone with excitement. ‘Nobody’ll know we’ve driven it!’
Their parents were all on the hill, shooting, and the one father who’d stayed behind because he didn’t like guns – Rafe, Sophie’s Dad – had been called to the neighbouring estate to help with a fisher who’d broken his wrist. ‘You be good,’ he’d told them sternly. ‘Or none of you will come up here again.’ He towered over them, a powerful presence. He was a fell runner, super-fit, but he still smoked like a chimney. Whenever Dan smelled cigarette smoke he always thought of Rafe.
‘But I will know.’ Gustav snatched the car keys out of Sophie’s hand. He was three years older than them at fifteen and invariably acted as a brake on their more adventurous exploits. At first Dan had thought Gustav stuffy, but soon came to realise it was simply that he came from Germany. He was OK though, and kept out of their way most of the time.
‘Oh, come on, Gus,’ she wheedled. ‘Don’t be a spoilsport. You can drive first if you like. I bet you’re really good. Like a Grand Prix driver.’
Dan waited for Gustav to fold. He had a soft spot for Sophie and was rarely able to resist her entreaties.
‘No. It is too dangerous.’
‘It’s only an old banger!’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s not like it’s a Ferrari or anything!’
Gustav scowled. Pocketing the keys, he marched outside.
Sophie raised two fingers at Christopher and Dan – two minutes – and pattered after Gustav. Secretly, Dan was relieved Gustav had taken charge. The thought of driving the car was exciting but also terrifying. The only time he’d held a moving car’s steering wheel had been when he was a little boy, sitting on his father’s lap. Looking at the Land Rover he doubted his legs would even reach the pedals.
Sophie reappeared. To his dismay, she was holding up the keys triumphantly.
‘Gustav gave them to you?’ Dan was astonished.
‘No, silly. I grabbed the spare set from the kitchen.’
Christopher looked at Dan. Dan looked back. Dismay quickly turned to excitement.
‘Me first,’ Sophie announced. ‘Dad’s already shown me how.’
She had to sit right on the edge of the bench seat and stretch her lower body forwards to reach the pedals, and with a single choking roar the Land Rover erupted into life.
Beside Dan, Christopher gave a high-pitched giggle. Dan felt a sickening combination of fear and exhilaration as Sophie released the hand brake and the clutch at the same time.
The vehicle bounded forward at a terrifying rate, straight for Rafe’s Vauxhall.
‘STOP!’ yelled Christopher as Dan braced himself against the dashboard shouting, ‘BRAKE!’
Sophie nearly vanished from sight as she rammed both feet on the brake. The Land Rover bucked to an abrupt halt. Silence fell.
Sophie caught Dan’s eyes and grinned.
‘That was fun.’
‘Fun,’ he repeated. His voice came out as a croak.
‘I want to go to Blackwater.’
The derelict farm buildings were situated along the Ben Kincaid track – they used to play there, but they’d had been out of bounds for the last two years because they were, apparently, dangerous.
Sophie leaned past Dan to look at Christopher. ‘You’re the tallest. You drive.’