About your Book:
1958, and Susie B is the ultimate Brighton party girl. When she is talent spotted, and invited to join The Film School as a trainee actress, a life of glitz, glamour, and London castings, seems assured.
But The Film School hides a horrific secret, and Susie soon discovers, however hard she tries, she can’t outrun the dark shadows of her own past, which link her inextricably to… THE FILM CLUB. Sometimes, living out your dreams can be murder…
“Sex, murder, and rock and roll in 50’s Brighton… What more could you ask for?”
“…Best read with a glass of champagne in one hand, and a large serving of chicken ‘n’ chips in a basket, in the other!”
“From fish and chips by the sea, to brandy and cigars in the murderers’ mansion… A feisty teen heroine, and a rip-roaring tale, with a twist of horror!”
Targeted Age Group: 14+
Genre: YA/Teen Thriller
The Book Excerpt:
Even in the darkness I can almost feel him blushing. He’s the sweetest boy, and would make a wonderful boyfriend. A perfect way to forget the past. Shame I don’t fancy him in the slightest. I ignore opening, but hold his hand all the way to The Starlight Rooms. Really, of course I want to go home; but I’m too scared to be alone in our cold bedsit, jumping at imagined intruders.
A shadow leaps at us from a crowd of laughing teenagers near the door, and I gasp.
“Susie! That was quick. Did you run?” Sarah’s holding Peter’s hand and glowing. He’s a tall lad, six foot three maybe, and broad-shouldered with it. Bland, charming features, and a pointy little chin add to his attraction.
“Hello Susie B. Doesn’t she look amazing tonight?” He gestures to my best friend, and I feel the adrenalin fading, leaving me limp and exhausted. Peter’s nice, but he does layer on the charm. I never know how sincere he is, but Sarah’s been bright-eyed, and swooning over him for ages now, so I make an effort to be nice.
“Of course! She always looks amazing.” And tonight she does, all decked out in her stiff purple skirt, and white top, hair in cascading waves, and lips picked out in scarlet. A cigarette dangles from one elegant hand, and one scarlet shoe taps impatiently as we queue to get in.
I give a quick glance at the other party goers, but can’t see the stranger who stared at me back at The Regent. Tommy sees me looking, and squeezes my arm gently. I give him a genuine smile, and we crowd into the hot smoky bar. In the darkness, a hand brushes my bum, and I jump as a blonde head appears in the gloom, but I pull Tommy close and we share a drink, legs touching.
“How’s your job going?” I ask him, buried in our dark corner. Tommy’s a junior reporter on the news desk at the Herald. He’s only got eight months before his National Service, but he’s determined to bag a big story before he goes.
“Not that good,” he tells me dolefully. “Some freelancer gave us a story on The Film School, and I took the call. Great story as well; about this mysterious founder, the war hero.”
“And? Who is the mysterious founder?” I lean over to take another sip of our shared drink.
“This freelancer didn’t know, because the house, Western Place, is owned by a war hero. Thomas Curtis-Hailsham, but he was reported MPD in 1943. No papers to say the house was passed to family in his will.”
I think about this, still half peering into the crowd, “MPD?”
“Missing, presumed dead. Can’t run a film school from beyond the grave can you?”
“I suppose not. But that’s a great story; ‘The Mystery of The Film School Founder’. What went wrong?”
“I gave the notes to Malcom, you know, that idiot on the night desk, to look after while I went to check the details of this Curtis-Hailsham bloke. When I got back he was in the editor’s office taking all the credit.”
“Didn’t you say anything?”
Even in the darkness, I swear I can see him flush, “No. I felt stupid for giving them to him in the first place.”
Well there is that… “Come and dance. Better luck tomorrow!” I tell him firmly. “Told you anyway, I bet I can find you a story. You have no idea what I hear while I’m ruining clients’ hair!”
He laughs, and pulls me close, in the heat and the bustle.
By eleven –thirty the nightlife is slowing down, and as usual we wander home in a big bunch, couples peeling off to cars, or the beach, until it’s just me and Sarah, strolling in warm, dusty night. The sea crashes lazily on the pebbly beach, and I can see distant pin pricks of light that could be ships; or France.
“Did you dance with anyone else tonight? What’s going on with you and Peter?” I tease.
Sarah laughs, half embarrassed, “Nothing! Well, not yet anyway…”
I squeeze her arm and we turn away from the sea, and cross the road to our flat.