Read Liar Liar (Helen Grace #4) - M. J. Arlidge

LIAR LIAR

M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years specializing in high-end drama production. In the last five years Arlidge has produced a number of prime-time crime serials for ITV including Torn, The Little House and, most recently, Undeniable, broadcast in spring 2015. Currently writing for the hit BBC series Silent Witness, Arlidge is also piloting original crime series for both UK and US networks. In 2015 his audio exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a number one bestseller. His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny, which introduces Detective Inspector Helen Grace, has sold to publishers around the world and was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel and The Doll’s House. Liar Liar is the fourth DI Helen Grace thriller.

Praise for M. J. Arlidge

‘What a great premise! … Eeny Meeny is a fresh and brilliant departure from the stock serial-killer tale’ Jeffery Deaver

‘One of the best new series detectives. Determined, tough and damaged, Helen Grace must unravel a terrifying riddle of a killer kidnapping victims in pairs. Mesmerizing’ Lisa Gardner

‘Dark, twisted, thought-provoking, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Take a ride on this roller coaster from hell – white knuckles guaranteed’ Tami Hoag

‘Arlidge is the new Jo Nesbø’ Judy Finnigan

‘DI Helen Grace is fiendishly awesome. It’s as scary as hell. And it has a full cast of realistically drawn, interesting characters that make the thing read like a bullet’ Will Lavender

‘M. J. Arlidge has created a genuinely fresh heroine in DI Helen Grace’ Daily Mail

‘Gruesomely realistic, intriguing and relentless’ Jon Wise, Sunday Sport

‘A chilling read’ My Weekly

‘A grisly, gripping thriller’ Sunday Mirror

‘A macabre, theatrical thriller that gripped me with every twist’ Woman and Home

‘Chilling stuff’ Fabulist

1

Luke scrambled through the open window and on to the narrow ledge outside. Grasping the plastic guttering above his head, he pulled himself upright. The guttering creaked ominously, threatening to give way at any moment, but Luke couldn’t risk letting go. He was dizzy, breathless and very, very scared.

A blast of icy wind roared over him, flapping his thin cotton pyjamas like a manic kite. He was already losing the feeling in his feet – the chill from the rough stone creeping up his body – and the sixteen-year-old knew he would have to act quickly, if he was to save his life.

Slowly he inched his way forward, peering over the lip of the ledge. The cars, the people below seemed so small – the hard, unforgiving road so far away. He’d always had a thing about heights and, looking down from this top-floor vantage point, his first instinct was to recoil. To turn back into the house. But he stood firm. He couldn’t believe what he was contemplating, but he didn’t have a choice, so releasing his grip, he hung his toes over the edge and prepared to jump. He counted down in his head. Three, two, one …

Suddenly he lost his nerve, dragging himself back from the brink. His spine connected sharply with the iron window frame and for a moment he rested there, clamping his eyes shut to block out the panic now assailing him. If he jumped, he would die. Surely there had to be another way? Something else he could do? Luke turned back towards the window and looked once more at the horror within.

His attic bedroom was ablaze. It had all happened so quickly that he still couldn’t process the sequence of events. He’d gone to bed as usual, but had been wakened shortly afterwards by a chorus of smoke alarms. He’d stumbled out of bed, groggy and confused, waving his arms back and forth in a vain attempt to disperse the thick smoke that filled the room. He’d managed to scramble to the door, but even before he got there, he saw that he was too late. The narrow staircase that led up to his bedroom was consumed by fire, huge flames dancing in through the open doorway.

The shivering teenager now watched as his whole life went up in smoke. His school books, his football kit, his artwork, his beloved Southampton FC posters – all eaten by the flames. With each passing second, the temperature rose still further, the hot smoke and gas gathering in an ominous cloud below the ceiling.

Luke slammed the window shut and for a second the temperature dropped again. But he knew his respite would be brief. When the temperature inside grew too great, the windows would blow out, taking