I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for Matthew Blakstad’s new book Lucky Ghost which is published by Hodder & Stoughton and available to buy now. The extraordinary new novel from the incredible author of SOCKPUPPET. Perfect for fans of BLACK MIRROR
About The Book:
Early one morning, blogger Alex Kubelick walks up to a total stranger and slaps him across the face. Hard.
They’ve both just earned Emoticoin, in a new, all-consuming game that trades real-life emotions for digital currency. Emoticoin is changing the face of the economy – but someone or something is controlling it for their own, dangerous ends.
As Alex picks apart the tangled threads that hold the virtual game together she finds herself on the run from very real enemies. It seems only one person has the answers she seeks. Someone who hides behind the name ‘Lucky Ghost’.
But Lucky Ghost will only talk to a young hacker called Thimblerig – the online troll who’s been harassing Alex for months.
Will Lucky Ghost lead Alex and Thimblerig to the answers they seek – or to their deaths?
EXCLUSIVE BOOK EXTRACT FOR THE #BLOGTOUR
a long, long way away
One moment Alex is dry heaving into the West End gutter; the next it’s 1952. Grey light ripples round her face with a fizz of static. She wipes bile from her mouth, makes to stand straight, like a 1950s lady should. Too fast: the panic-monster starts hammering again inside her forehead. Sickness wells up in a dizzy fuzz and she leans forwards, pressing hands against knees. She makes a couple more empty heaves but nothing comes.
She dares a look around.
She’s on a vintage railway platform. A stopping-point on some country branch line. From the steamed windows of the cafeteria, amber light seeps out into the evening gloom – though back in the real world it’s barely five a.m. The brick walls are freshly whitewashed and pastel posters promote the temptations of Buxton, the Cornish Riviera and, anachronistically, Grazia magazine. Over the surging orchestral bed a whistle shrills. Across the platform tweedy ghosts check watches, pick up leather cases and turn to face the steam train as it clanks to a halt.
Alex’s glowheart hovers by her elbow. FEAR and ANTICIPATION brim inside it in apple red and watermelon pink. She breathes with its beats until the FEAR subsides; then she stands up slowly. She doesn’t vomit or pass out, which is progress. Cheery magenta letters swoop in and jostle together.
they say. OK, but slap who? Alex searches face after well-rendered male face. None pay her any mind. They stub cigarettes, remove hats and open slam-doors for their pinch-waisted wives, speaking in that clipped pronunciation that only exists in black and white. So distant, so familiar.
Alex always knew she’d be at home in the 1950s. Never mind she’d have ended up a housewife, or a maiden aunt who was not the marrying kind. This is her era. Which is why, when she was on the brink of exploding with panic, the Strange has landed her here. It knows her so well now, after weeks of gnawing through her data.
The words edge closer. Alex scrubs at them with an unsteady hand but they’re reluctant to budge. She strokes the dragon tattooed along her scapula, silencing the fizzing embeds, but she can’t stop her heart from pounding like it’s trying to tunnel out of her ribcage. The prompt edges closer, cajoling.
A stocky man in a dark green overcoat and sweet homburg steps forward from the crowd. An amber pulse traces his outline and for a second he seems to expand and contract. This is the other player.
He’s thirty-ish, austerity-starved but muscular, and handsome. A low-rent Cary Grant, smoking a tobacco cigarette. There’s something
close and familiar about him. Something Alex wishes she could place. His glowheart bulges with PRIDE and SATISFACTION.
He must have been Strange for quite some time to have a heart so fat and present. Alex still wears her own heart out of view. The whistle shrills again and the train puffs up, preparing to depart. Steam envelops Alex and the man.