The Hidden Hours
200 pages

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200 pages

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Arabella Lane is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter's morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the office temp, Eleanor.

Having travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in Australia, tragedy seems to follow Eleanor wherever she goes. To her horror, she has no memory of the crucial hours leading up to Arabella's death - memory that will either incriminate or absolve her.

Caught in a crossfire of accusations, Eleanor fears she can't even trust herself, let alone the people around her. And soon, she'll find herself in a race against time to find out just what happened that night - and discover just how deadly some secrets can be.

‘A tense slow burner with a truly satisfying ending’ The Sun

Shortlisted for Best Adult Crime Novel, The Davitt Awards

‘An enthralling mystery full of secrets determined to resurface … will keep readers guessing to the end’ Jane Harper, New York Times bestseller

‘An excellent Girl On The Train-type noir thriller about memory blackout and the havoc it can wreak.’ Meath Chronicle

‘Nail-biting suspense…Keeps you in its grip from the first pages until its dramatic conclusion’ Better Reading

‘Effortless suspense’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘A suspenseful and well-paced tale… The Hidden Hours shifts effortlessly between the past and the present in a tautly structured novel that explores themes of guilt, despair and loneliness… it will appeal to readers of… domestic psychological [authors] such as Liane Moriarty.’ Books and Publishing

‘A suspense-filled, fast-paced and gripping novel, one of the best I’ve read so far this year.’ Sisters in Crime

‘An engrossing tale of the secrets that tear apart families and the fear you face when you can’t even trust yourself.’ Beauty and Lace

‘Classic suspense but with a wonderful modern edge’ Hannah Richell

'Brimming with suspicion, accusation, questions and barely-under-the-surface violence.' Write Note Reviews

‘Sara Foster is quite simply a literary genius… this is absolutely one of my favourite books of 2020’ @Lost_in_her_bookland

‘This was such an addictive and thrilling book that I absolutely devoured it… a fantastic psychological thriller that has you wanting more. If you’re a fan of this genre then this is once you HAVE to pick up!’ @oncemorewithreading

‘Foster is simply masterful in her storytelling… truly suspenseful and full of twists, it leaves the reader guessing right until the end!’ @betwixt.the.pages



Publié par
Date de parution 02 novembre 2020
Nombre de lectures 4
EAN13 9781789559743
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0174€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Legend Press Ltd, 51 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6HJ |
Contents Sara Foster 2017
The right of the above author to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data available.
First printed in Australia in 2019 by Simon Schuster (Australia) Pty Limited, Suite 19A, Level 1, Building C, 450 Miller Street, Cammeray, NSW 2062 |
Print ISBN 978-1-78955-9-750
Ebook ISBN 978-1-78955-9-743
Set in Times. Printing Managed by Jellyfish Solutions Ltd
Cover design by Rose Cooper |
All characters, other than those clearly in the public domain, and place names, other than those well-established such as towns and cities, are fictitious and any resemblance is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Any person who commits any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
SARA FOSTER is the bestselling author of six psychological suspense novels. Born and raised in the UK, Sara worked for a time in the HarperCollins fiction department in London, before going freelance as an editor.
The Hidden Hours was shortlisted for a Davitt Award in 2018 and was No. 56 in Better Reading s Top 100 books for 2017. It is currently being developed for television by CJZ.
Sara lives with her husband and young daughters in Perth, Western Australia. She is a Doctoral candidate at Curtin University, studying Young Adult dystopian fiction.
Visit Sara
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For Kaz
Thank you
for lifelong friendship
for your steadfast belief in me
And for always knowing how to make me laugh
April 2010
Tim Willis collects the manila folder and sees his last client of the day is Eleanor Brennan. Fifteen years old, with two overdoses and some self-harm under her belt already. His notes convey the weeks he s spent sitting patiently with her, getting nowhere. Her determination to shut the conversation down had proved a match for anything he could offer. She d told him, more than once, that she was only here because her mother had begged her to come.
Until last week. They had been going through the same motions when he had pressed her for a happy memory. To his surprise, she d suddenly started to talk. She d told him a sweet story about her family, how her father had a party trick he d learned as a kid. A Japanese friend had taught him how to make paper cranes, and he often used to fold them while Eleanor slept, leaving them on her pillow. She had vague memories of them in her cot; clearer recollections of them appearing next to her in her first big bed.
However, her father had stopped doing this when he lost his job, she d explained quietly. Although by then her older brother Aiden had learned to copy him. For a while, scruffier cranes would sometimes land next to her while she slept, the white paper blotched with thumb prints. Then Aiden had stopped too, when they moved.
Did you ever feel that these birds were their way of telling you they loved you? Tim had asked gently.
Eleanor had gone rigid at the question. Her face paled; her hazel eyes widened. She had stared at him wordlessly for a moment, before letting out a guttural groan as she folded into herself and sobbed with her forehead on her knees. Hallelujah , Tim had thought as he watched her fragile body quivering, finally we re getting somewhere .
His step is light today, as he clutches the folder and heads towards the waiting room. He rounds the doorway and sees Eleanor and her mother sitting next to one another. Hello, he says in his friendliest tone.
Gillian Brennan responds, but her smile is forced. Eleanor ignores him. As soon as Tim sees her stiff posture and averted gaze he knows they have somehow gone backwards.
Ready, Eleanor? he asks brightly.
She still won t meet his eye as she gets up to follow him. Damn , he thinks, as he closes his office door and they take their seats. He tries not to show his disappointment, readjusting his focus towards this traumatised girl in front of him, who still desperately needs his help.
All right then, he says, his mind busily searching for new ways to reach her. It s good to see you, Eleanor. How are you today?
December 2016
The body bobs lightly against the grey stone wall, ensnared by something unseen, resisting the current. A police diver slowly untangles it, and gently pushes it towards the waiting boat. People watch from the footbridge, transfixed. Some cover their mouths with gloved hands, pointing, gasping, retching. Others clutch their phones in a chokehold. One woman takes furtive pictures. They are all relieved it hangs face down in the cold, murky river. No one wants to see the person to whom that long blonde hair once belonged .
The body floats towards waiting hands. A tiny crab scuttles down the slim line of one of those ghostly white legs and disappears into the gloom .
Three hours later
Eleanor joins the back of the crowd and waits. She is shivering, desperate to sit down; her head pounds and her legs ache. The air is rife with murmurs and confusion. No one wants to be here. Only a handful of people are already aware of the chain reaction of events that began at dawn.
The message had pinged up on screen five minutes ago, summoning the entire workforce to the courtyard immediately . Eleanor had grabbed her bag then followed the group from her office, eavesdropping, with no one to talk to. She had prayed this wouldn t take long, because she couldn t shake the nausea that had been there since she woke up.
The last of the morning s frost still glitters on the ledges of doors and windows. Bulging grey clouds obscure the sky, and the cobblestones are slippery from overnight rain. Eleanor hugs herself, wrapping her cardigan tightly around her, in part to keep her warm but also to hide her unironed cheap white blouse, as she shifts apprehensively from foot to foot. She is still getting used to the eviscerating coldness of London in December.
The courtyard is surrounded by red-brick office blocks, hidden from the street, connected to the main road by one narrow, high-walled passageway with security gates at either end. The open space is lined with huge trees set in man-size pots, silver tinsel winding down each trunk, and on the northern side a wide flight of stairs marks the entrance to Parker Lane, one of the book industry s darlings, already crowned Children s Publisher of the Year for the third year running.
There must be well over a hundred people now, and more keep arriving as the minutes tick by. They are a jittery bunch, huddling together, waiting for someone to tell them what is going on. It s a far cry from the pictures of this courtyard that line the foyer walls just inside the entrance to Parker Lane - famous authors holding wine glasses, a blur of smiling faces just out of focus, and the backdrop of tall trees festooned with multicoloured lights.
Eleanor s gaze drifts over the crowd, but she doesn t recognise anyone. She s only been working here for three weeks, there has not been much time to form friendships, but from what she can gather, this company-wide summons is unheard of. Snippets of speculation swirl through the air. An emergency drill? A company collapse? A takeover, maybe? Immediate redundancies just weeks before Christmas? Surely not.
Each conversation begins to float away, one after another, until the only sound is of someone clearing their throat. Eleanor follows the collective gaze and looks upwards. The black-and-white sign for PARKER LANE stands proudly above the triplet revolving doors, and just above that, on a small balcony, is Caroline Cressman from HR, wringing her hands as though she has forgotten her lines. Eleanor has a horrible urge to shout, Deny thy father and refuse thy name! as she had once needed prompting herself in high school. She stays quiet, but her heart is restless - every few seconds she feels it stall and tenses, willing the next beat. Everybody is hushed, waiting.
I will only keep you a moment - this is the one place we could gather you all together at once. There s a discernible tremor to Caroline s voice. She takes a deep, shaky breath. I am so very sorry to tell you all...
Eleanor s thoughts tip, beginning to gain speed. Something big is coming.
... that Arabella Lane has passed away.
Shock steals the air from Eleanor s lungs. The scene before her disintegrates; she is powerless to stop it. This cannot be true , she thinks. It cannot be true .
She waits for the collective gasp, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing. Perhaps it doesn t seem real to anyone else. Perhaps they are thinking, as she is, that only a few hours ago their Director of Marketing and Publicity had been very much alive at the Christmas party - drinking and dancing, working the crowd, her face animated, her body in constant, seamless motion.
A few images strobe through Eleanor s mind. Arabella is dead, and Eleanor knows what a dead body looks like. Parched in places and purple in others. A waxen effigy of a real person. Nothing like Arabella.
A distant memory rises swiftly, like a vulture startled from carrion. It draws closer, and closer, until Eleanor can feel its black wings beating against her neck and she d

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