“A red gash of a mouth rimmed with impossibly tiny, razor-sharp teeth yawned wide, then swift as a snake, she bent and struck . . . “
“For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill. But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, it proves a chorus girl too far, and Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.
From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without, and learns a few home truths she’d prefer not to know. Ophelia it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, her newly discovered nearest and dearest, their peculiar tendencies and their failing hotel business, the very much happier she’s going to be.
Dire straits call for desperate measures and Sandra reluctantly rises to the occasion. A hanged housemaid, a fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Psychic Society and a quasi co-operative journalist all handled correctly should, she reckons, get the family business up and running, which will allow her to do the same – as fast as she can, and in the opposite direction. Things unfortunately move swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One moment Sandra’s struggling to save the family’s income, the next, she’s battling to save their lives.
Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left undisturbed.”
I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Witch Dust blog tour which I share with the lovely Juliet over at Bookliterati. Witch Dust is written by Marilyn Messik and was published on 28th August 2017 by Matador Books.
In order to celebrate the release of this brilliant new paranormal thriller, I have an extract to share with you today. So without further ado…
You’d probably recognize my Mother if you saw her, my Father too – Adam Adamovitch and the lovely Ophelia. You might have been to one of their stage shows, more likely you’ll have seen them on television – they did a Christmas Special for years; or perhaps you caught them, not that long ago on Graham Norton. Most people have simply got used to seeing them gazing adoringly at each other in innumerable red-carpet press shots – a premiere here, a society bash there or simply champagning it on the slopes of Gstaad. Adam and Ophie, or as the media love to label them, Mr and Mrs Magic. Purveyors of illusion; delusion; sparkling eyes; flashing teeth; little-left-to-the-imagination costumes and death defying stunts. Sword; flame; guillotine; water-tank; all thrillingly enhanced with their trademark sizzling chemistry although naturally, that’s not an aspect on which a daughter likes to dwell. Not a shred of doubt though, a fair old amount of high voltage smouldering took place, both onstage and off. His tall, olive-skinned good looks charmingly offset by her petite, curved blonde ones had, over the years, put the extra into some extraordinary performances, resulting in consistent bookings, a vertical career path and egos the size of the national debt.
Me? Well no, you wouldn’t recognize me, why should you? Mind you, I believe I did do a turn or two, way back when I was small. I vaguely remember, toddler-sized, being hauled out of a hat rabbit-fashion then befrilled and becurled, tottering across the stage arms outstretched, to be scooped up by one and tossed, uncomplaining to the other. The audience loved it, clapped their hands sore, rocking with excitement that Adam and the lovely Ophelia – looking no more than a child herself – had sealed their union with a predictably gorgeous baby. But of course, a baby’s one thing, a sulky six year old, quite another. And unsurprisingly, as time passed and stomachs had to be held in ever more tightly, buttocks clenched ever more constantly and make-up applied with an increasingly lavish hand, a spottily awkward teenager was the last thing they wanted in the public eye.
No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not grumbling, I certainly wasn’t neglected, it’s just some people aren’t natural parent material, and whilst there was never any shortage of loving hugs and expensive gifts there was, it has to be said, a corresponding and disconcerting degree of absent mindedness. As a child, I was accustomed to being regularly, if inadvertently, left behind at numerous hotels, stations or airports. The Stage Manager would assume I was with the PR people, the PR people would be convinced I’d gone on with Props and my parents generally omitted to give it much thought one way or another. Whilst never thrilled by this evidence of my importance on the scale of things, I was fairly philosophical and would wait patiently, never fearing abandonment. I knew, sooner or later, someone would come rushing back in a panic to get me, and such incidents were invariably followed by Ma and Pa descending briefly into darling-we’re-such-terrible-people-you-musthate-us-what-can-we-possibly-do-to-make-it-up-to-you mode. This was generally the most tiresome part, because I then had to spend time and effort reassuring them they were the best parents anyone could ask for – which we all knew wasn’t remotely true – but it drew a line under the whole thing, until the next time.
On the whole, I suppose my relationship with my parents wasn’t so very different from the norm, although birthday parties, for which they usually insisted on providing the entertainment, were pretty excruciating. There can’t be many of us who spend our formative years hissing at our Mother, ‘For God’s sake, put some proper clothes on!’ But like most children, I did want to shine in their eyes and whilst fully anticipating, was invariably disappointed when they were unable to make school plays, sports days and prize-givings. Mind you, their rare attendance could be considered a mixed blessing. They once arrived at a Nativity play I was in – complete with film crew and sound team to record the performance. That’s not a comfortable memory. When it came to the finale Pa, channelling Spielberg, insisted on four re-takes. The whole thing turned so stressful that the English teacher came over all unnecessary, Herod got into a fight with the donkey and the Virgin Mary threw up over two of the three Wise Men. As I said, a mixed blessing.
I’m really liking the sound of this one! In fact, I’m going to add it to the terrifying TBR for one of those moments when I want to read something a little different to my usual detective fiction fare. I think I’d really enjoy this one.
Marilyn was a regular feature and fiction writer for various national magazines when her children were small. She then set up her first business, selling toys, books and party goods from home, before opening first one shop then another. When she sold both shops she moved into the world of travel, focusing on Bed and Breakfasts and Country Inns in New England, USA. Her advisory, planning and booking service flourished and she concurrently launched a publishing company, producing an annual, full-colour accommodation guide. In 2007 she set up a copywriting consultancy, to help businesses shape their messages to optimum effect.
She’s the author of the Little Black Business Book series and the novels Relatively Strange and Even Stranger. She’s been married to her very patient husband for more years than he deserves and they have two children, five grandchildren and, somewhat to their surprise, several grand-dogs. Her writing style has been described as ‘A cross between Stephen King and Maureen Lipman.’ although, as she points out, she’s not sure either of them would be remotely thrilled to hear that!