Tuesday 10 January 2012
Whispers Under Ground - 21st June 2012
Gollancz have confirmed to me that the UK release date of Whispers Under Ground will be the 21st June 2012. I know some of you are impatient so I thought I'd give you a little taster....
Back in the summer I’d made the mistake of telling my mum what I did for a living. Not the police bit, which of course she already knew about having been at my graduation from Hendon, but the stuff about me working for the branch of the Met that dealt with the supernatural. My mum translated this in her head to ‘witchfinder’ which was good because my mum, like most West Africans, considered witchfinding a more respectable profession than policeman. Struck by an unanticipated burst of maternal pride she proceeded to outline my new career path to her friends and relatives, a body I estimate to comprise at least twenty percent of the expatriate Sierra Leonean community currently resident in the UK. This included Alfred Kamara who lived on the same estate as my mum and through him his thirteen year old daughter Abigail. Who decided, on the last Sunday before Christmas, that she wanted me to go look at this ghost she’d found. She got my attention by pestering my mum to the point where she gave in and rang me on my mobile.
I wasn’t best pleased because Sunday is one of the few days I don’t have morning practice on the firing range and I was planning a nice lie-in followed by football in the pub.
‘So where’s this ghost?’ I asked when Abigail opened her front door.
‘How come there’s two of you?’ asked Abigail. She was a short skinny mixed race girl with light skin that had gone winter sallow.
‘This is my colleague Lesley May,’ I said.
Abigail stared suspiciously at Lesley. ‘Why are you wearing a mask?’ she asked.
‘Because my face fell off,’ said Lesley.
Abigail considered this for a moment and then nodded. ‘Okay,’ she said.
‘So where is it?’ I asked.
‘It’s a he,’ said Abigail. ‘He’s up at the school.’
‘Come on then,’ I said.
‘What, now?’ she said. ‘But it’s freezing.’
‘We know,’ I said. It was one of those dull grey winter days with the sort of sinister cold wind that keeps on finding ways through the gaps in your clothes. ‘You coming or not?’
She gave me the patented stare of the belligerent thirteen year old but I wasn’t her mother or a teacher. I didn’t want her to do something, I wanted to go home and watch the football.
‘Suit yourself,’ I said and turned away.
‘Wait up,’ she said. ‘I’m coming.’
I turned back in time for the door to be slammed in my face.
Posted by Ben Aaronovitch