My Tuesday Thrillers this week is the ‘tense and moving’ debut thriller All In Her Head by Nikki Smith.
All In Her Head is a timely psychological suspense thriller about the darkest corners of a mother’s mind. Alison feels like she’s losing her mind. She is convinced that her ex-husband, Jack, is following her. She is certain she recognises the strange woman who keeps approaching her at work. She knows she has a good reason to be afraid but can’t remember why. Then the mention of one name turns her world upside down…
It’s much harder to grip the railing than I had expected. The cold metal bites into my hand until I can’t tell if it’s attached to my body, the last brittle anchor holding me in place. A crowd gathers a short distance away from me on the bridge; some watching through their car windows, others standing with their vehicle doors wide open. A woman points in my direction, her shouts muffled by the noise of the wind. The strands of hair that whip across my face sting my eyes, and I reach up to tuck them behind my ear. A sudden gust nudges me off balance and my stomach lurches, momentarily suspended, before I scrabble to retrieve the iron bar beneath my fingers.
Ripples appear as tiny white flecks on the muddy surface of the river far below me. The two giant towers guarding each end of the bridge look on in anticipation and I draw strength from their solidity. I glance back at the ensemble whose numbers swell as their sense of urgency escalates. I wonder what Jack would say if he was here. What he would do.
I’d watched him this morning as he’d pulled on his trousers and T-shirt, and had realised I was staring at a complete stranger. The urge to get up and unpeel his skin to see if I could reveal something familiar underneath, some evidence that would prove we were once connected, had been almost irresistible. He’d walked out of the bedroom without speaking, whilst I’d feigned sleep, my breath trapped under the edge of the duvet, warm against my chin.
He’s been observing my every move, waiting for an opportunity to vent the anger that flows just beneath the surface of our daily lives. I know he’s hiding something from me. He denies it, but his eyes say he’s lying every time we look at each other. As soon as he left the room, I knew I would do it. Now I’m standing on the narrow girder, there is no fear.
Someone in the crowd breaks away from the group and walks slowly towards me, his hands held up in a gesture of surrender. The noise of wailing sirens grows louder. The stranger keeps coming, his confidence and pace increasing as he makes eye contact and smiles nervously. I turn my face back towards the river and look down. He sees the movement of my head and cries out. I hear his footsteps speed up as he tries to reach the barrier that separates us. He won’t make it.
I let go of the railing, feeling the pressure of the wind against my face that offers up a final moment of contemplation. Then the breeze tapers off, as if acknowledging the decision has already been made, and I step forward into the silence.
Nikki Smith studied English Literature at Birmingham University, before pursuing a career in finance. Following a ‘now or never’ moment, she applied for a Curtis Brown Creative course where she started writing this book. She lives near Guildford with her family and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. All In Her Head is her first novel.
Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book, Nikki.
Published by Bookouture on 23rd November. Now on preorder: Amazon: https://geni.us/B08GKRRPWHCover