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Shadowlocked – excerpt

A little over three weeks to go before SHADOWLOCKED is released. I thought I’d share an excerpt from (almost) the beginning of the book. Here, Adam Logan is visited in hospital by his sister Melanie. They talk about the accident in which his wife Lucy died, and for the first time Adam begins to realise that things are not as he remembered…

SHADOWLOCKED hits the shelves on 30 May. Signed copies are shipping THIS WEEK from Infected Books. Use the buttons below to snag a copy.

Shadowlocked by David Moody

I’m thinking they just haven’t found her yet. She could have been in the water longer than they thought and got out further down the river. And now I’m thinking about her out there on her own, walking across empty fields, wet and muddy and cold and scared, nothing on her feet . . . I feel fucking useless lying here like this. Helpless.

Eyes screwed shut, trying to work it all out.

I keep remembering bits of what happened. No, that’s not right. I keep feeling them.

Feeling so cold that it hurts.

Trying to take a breath and choking on dirty water.

Being pulled in different directions, the current tearing me one way then the next.

The drugs kick in and I’m thinking about stupid statistics, and that’s where it gets really fucking scary. About the chances of me getting out of the car at all. About the chances of the river dragging me in that particular direction just as that particular passer-by happened to be in that particular spot looking directly at me at that particular instant.

I shouldn’t have survived.

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Trouble is, it’s all I can think about. Lucy died, so how come I escaped with just a fractured cheekbone, a punctured lung, a nasty cut to my temple, and concussion? Not bad at all, considering.

The drugs might take the edge off, help keep all this stuff at bay, but it keeps coming back in waves . . .

And now I’m bolt upright, eyes wide open. Melanie’s still here. It’s just me and her. Seth’s gone. Is this the same day, or not? I don’t know.

‘I was beginning to think you were never going to wake up again,’ she says.

‘How long have I been here?’

My voice sounds weird, like it belongs to someone else. Muffled and croaky.

‘Three days. It’s Tuesday today. They’ve been keeping you sedated. They said you needed time to heal.’

I don’t know much, but I know that’s going to take longer than three days. I can’t imagine ever feeling like I used to.

She walks over to the window and stretches her back. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever sat on anything more uncomfortable than these bloody hospital chairs. I think they do it on purpose to stop people loitering.’ She’s looking up, watching the clouds. I know her too well. There’s something else she wants to say, she’s just working out how she should say it. She turns around, leans against the wall, and watches me. The silence in here gets louder and louder until she finally plucks up enough courage to ask the killer question. ‘How much do you remember about what happened, Ad?’

I shake my head.

‘Do you want to talk about it? It might help.’

She’s probably right. I try to rearrange the fragments into some kind of order. ‘Lucy was driving. I don’t even remember being on the bridge, just hitting the wall, smashing right through it. We didn’t fall straightaway. There was this long, horrible pause. We were balancing on the edge, you know, like in that film.’

‘What film?’

‘Michael Caine.’

The Italian Job?’

‘That’s the one.’


‘Yeah. Just hanging, waiting to drop.’

She comes back to the bed and sits down again, reaches out and squeezes my hand. ‘Why was Lucy driving?’

‘I’d had a lot to drink. We’d been at a party.’

‘You mentioned something about that. You said it was something to do with a new contract?’

‘Yeah. Big contract, big party. Don’t remember much about it.’ And I stop for a second, because the bits I do remember are coming back into focus. I remember how the night started and how it ended, a definite shift in mood, celebrations turning sour, things going downhill. I’m remembering pushing and shoving . . . raised voices . . .

‘You okay, Ad?’

‘There was some aggro at the club.’

‘What kind of aggro?’

‘Some random guy getting leery with Lucy and a couple of the girls from the office. I had to step in.’


This feels important, but I can’t remember why.

I stop talking and try again to splice it all back together. I hadn’t thought much about the trouble in the bar until now because I’ve been focusing on the accident. There’s a connection between the two, I know there is, I just can’t quite get to it.

‘Adam? Talk to me, love.’

‘It’s hard.’

‘I know.’

‘No, this is really hard. You know when you wake up and you remember the dream you were just having, but when you try and talk about it to someone else, you realise you don’t remember anything about it at all?’


‘And the more you concentrate, the more you forget? This feels like that. Little bits keep coming back to me, then I lose it all again. The guy at the club took exception to me, I remember that much.’

‘Who was he?’

‘No idea. Just some over-confident dickhead. Wait . . . I saw him again after. He followed us.’

‘Followed you where? Out of the party?’

I hesitate again. Is this right?

‘He followed us in his car, I think.’

More memories are coming back to me now in slow motion, and they don’t seem real. In my head I can see the guy from the bar. He’s in the car behind mine, swerving all over the road, revving his engine and trying to get past us. ‘He caught up with us on the road. We—’

I stop again. What happened next is still just out of reach.

‘Take your time, Ad.’

Why did we crash? Why did Lucy lose control?


I clearly remember another impact, the car being shunted forward. ‘He drove into the back of us.’

She just looks at me. ‘What?

The strength of her reaction makes me doubt myself, but the longer I think about it, the clearer the memory is. I remember – I can see the other car’s headlights getting brighter and brighter, filling our car, spotlighting Lucy. I remember the sudden impact, being thrown forward in my seat.

I know that’s what happened.

‘I swear, Mel, the fucker rammed us. He hit us so hard I smacked my head on the dashboard. Lucy lost control. That’s why we hit the side of the bridge. That’s why we went over.’

She keeps looking at me, but she lets go of my hand.

‘You’re absolutely sure about this?’

‘One hundred per cent. I’m hardly going to forget something like that, am I?’

‘Because there were no other cars there.’


I shake my head and it makes me feel nauseous. I can recall it all so vividly now. It’s unquestionable. The lights, the impact, the pain, the drop. ‘That’s not right. I swear, he drove straight into us.’

‘But the police told me that yours was the only car anywhere near the bridge when you crashed.’

‘Bullshit. That doesn’t make any sense.’

‘Why would the police lie?’

‘Why would I lie?’

‘I’m not saying you are. It’s a notoriously bad stretch of road, apparently, and the conditions were atrocious. The police said there were no other vehicles involved. They said . . .’

She does it again. I know my sister too well. When she’s going to say something that she knows I won’t like, she clams up.

‘What? Come on, Mel, what did they say?’

‘They said Lucy was driving too fast. They said she just lost control.’

‘They’re wrong. That’s bullshit. I’ll admit, there’s bits I’m still not sure about, but I know what happened. Yeah, she was driving fast, but that fucking maniac forced us off the road. Christ’s sake, do you think I’d make something like this up?’

‘I didn’t say that.’

‘Fucker was driving a BMW. Dark red, I think. Coupe. Very sporty. Recent plates.’

‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to you, Ad. I’m only going on what I’ve been told. I know the police will want to speak to you at some point, but they told me it’s just going to be a formality. No one’s said anything about anyone else being involved.’

‘But there must have been skid marks, some damage to the back of my car, that kind of thing? For fuck’s sake, another car intentionally rear-ended us at high speed. Next thing I know we’re hanging over the side of the bridge and then . . .’

‘Don’t upset yourself,’ she says, and that’s just about the most stupid thing anyone could say in the circumstances and she knows it. ‘Look, we don’t have to do this now. We can talk about it later.’

‘It’s helping me to talk.’

I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s got to be better than keeping it all bottled up, right?

‘I can’t imagine what you must be feeling, love, what you’re going through. The police said we were lucky not to have lost both of you.’

‘Lucky?! Seriously?’

‘You know what I mean.’

She holds her head in her hands and the room becomes quiet. My mind is filled with questions and contradictions.

And I’m thinking about us dropping down into the water again when I realise there’s a question I should have asked straightaway. ‘Where is she? Where’s Lucy?’

‘She’s safe.’

‘Don’t talk shit. She’s not safe, Mel, she’s dead. Where is she?’

‘They took good care of her, that’s all I meant. They had to salvage the car before they could do anything, but they were as careful and respectful as they could have been.’

Now all I can see when I close my eyes is what’s left of my car being dredged up from the depths, dirty water gushing out, with my wife sitting dead behind the wheel. And in my head her skin is bleached white, and her eyes are wide open, and she’s looking straight at me like she’s waiting for me to explain what happened, and I can’t answer her, and I can’t get her face out of my head.

‘Have the police said anything else? Is there anything else you’re not telling me?’

That sounded snarkier than I intended, but I can’t risk my sister being all over-protective again, mollycoddling me. This is too important.

‘I wouldn’t keep anything from you, Adam, you know that.’ Then she turns the tables. ‘Is there anything you’re not telling me?’

‘Like what?’

‘I don’t know. I’m struggling to understand any of this. Why do you think someone would want to force you off the road?’

‘Because the fucker was insane, maybe? You don’t believe me, do you?’

‘I didn’t say that. Are you in some kind of trouble?’

‘What? No. I told you exactly what happened. He was harassing Lucy and I saw red. I just wanted to make sure she was okay. I told him to back off and wind his neck in.’

‘And he took exception?’


‘And for that you’re saying he forced you and Lucy off a bridge? Sounds a bit extreme.’

She’s right, it does. But I’m confident enough of the detail now to know that’s exactly how it was.

‘I know how it sounds . . . he was some kind of psycho, really fired-up. I asked him politely to leave Lucy alone and he absolutely lost it.’

‘And you’re sure it was the same guy in the car?’

‘It was the middle of the night. There was no one else around.’

‘Was it someone connected to your work? A friend of a friend?’

‘Never seen him before.’

‘And you didn’t get his name or his license plate or—’

‘Fuck’s sake, Mel, what do you think?’

‘Don’t get upset, Ad.’

I try not to lose my temper with her but fail miserably. ‘Upset? Upset?! My wife drowned at the bottom of a river, alone and terrified. Upset doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.’

‘I’m sorry. Bad choice of words. I know how much you’re hurting but—’

‘You think? You don’t have a frigging clue how I’m feeling.’

And she paces the room again because she knows there’s nothing she can say.

In my head, the crash only happened a couple of minutes ago, but Melanie told me I’ve been here three days. That means whoever the BMW driver is, he has a three-day head start on me. He could have got rid of the car by now, disposed of all the evidence. I’m only just starting to figure out what happened, and he’s probably long gone.

‘I need to get out of here.’

‘And do what?’

‘Find that fucker!’

‘Adam, come on. How are you going to do that if you don’t have any details?’

Fuck it, she’s right. I look up at the ceiling, tracing the bumps and the cracks with my eyes, trying to dredge up anything else that might help, but I’ve got nothing.

‘I owe it to Lucy. I can’t just walk away.’

‘And say you do find him, what happens then? Did you not hear what I told you? The police said there was no evidence of any other vehicles being on the bridge at the time. What do you expect them to do?’

‘What do you expect me to do? Am I supposed to just accept it, for fuck’s sake? Just shrug my shoulders and move on? My wife is dead. I’m not going to give up on her.’

‘Don’t take it out on me,’ she says.

I’m getting desperate, clutching at straws. Feel like I’m drowning again. ‘What about the damage to my car? He drove into us at a hell of a speed.’

‘Adam, I’ve seen photos of your car. You drove through a wall and ended up at the bottom of a river. It’s a total wreck, impossible to see where one bit of damage ends and the next starts. Listen, despite what you might think, I do understand, and I am on your side, but right now, your focus has got to be on getting yourself sorted out. We’ll see how things go from there.’

And I wish I could argue, and I wish there was something I could say or do that would make a difference, but there isn’t.

Not yet.

SHADOWLOCKED hits the shelves on 30 May. Signed copies are shipping THIS WEEK from Infected Books. Use the buttons below to snag a copy.