Happy Friday everyone and Happy Bank Holiday to all of you in the UK!! Today I’ve got a fab extract from Tony Bassett’s The Lazarus Charter to share with you as part of the blog tour.
Huge thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour.
Bob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death? This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne. They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home in this fast-paced spy thriller from the author of ‘Smile of the Stowaway’.
(Teacher Bob Shaw is exhausted after being chased through London by a pair of Russian thugs. He believes he has shaken them off, but later there is a knock at the door of his Kent cottage).
‘Guardedly, I peered through the partly-glazed front door at a dark figure outside. No gun was visible. I drew it open.
Standing there, under the dim porch light, stood a broad-shouldered man with short, spiky, black hair who was more than six feet tall and slightly overweight. He was wearing a loose-fitting black sweatshirt and navy trousers. He gave a friendly smile. He looked as benign and inoffensive as a curate on his way to a tea party. But he was almost certainly the driver of the black Audi.
‘Mr Shaw?’ he asked. I noticed my hand was trembling. I hesitated for a moment, looking out across the garden and drive to see if he was accompanied.
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Sorry about this, sir, but you’re coming with us,’ he said, his face now solemn.
‘Why? What’s this about?’ I demanded. He ignored my question.
‘We can do this the easy way or the hard way,’ he said without giving any hint of a foreign accent.
‘Well, we can do it the bloody hard way!’ I shouted, slamming the door in his face. Unfortunately, he had taken the precaution of placing his left foot in the way. The door struck his foot and then swung open again.
‘Come on, boys!’ the man yelled. Two men emerged from the shadows in black masks and black gloves. They must have been hiding at the top of the drive without me seeing them.
One of them clutched a dark-brown hood in his hands. I punched him as he crossed the threshold into the hall and he fell back against the door frame, dazed. But then a second man– who was sturdier than me – wrestled me to the floor.
‘Cuff him!’ demanded the man with the spiky hair. The man holding the hood took some handcuffs from his belt and with difficulty, because I was struggling, he managed to fasten my wrists together in front of me. Then he placed the hood on my head and tied it securely round my neck to prevent it slipping off.
My loss of vision was complete as the two thugs led me away down the drive. I desperately tried to maintain my sense of direction, but, after we reached the lane, I lost track of exactly where I was.
At the time, I thought my new home security cameras might have captured their actions. But sadly, I found out later, the men had taken the precaution of cutting the wires to the cameras before knocking on the door.
‘Get him in the car!’ the first man ordered. It felt as if I was being pushed and jostled around to the far side of the vehicle before being bundled into a back seat. The child lock next to me was activated so I couldn’t jump out at any point.’
Who Is Tony Bassett?
Tony Bassett first developed a love of writing at the age of nine when he and a friend produced a magazine called the Globe at their junior school in Sevenoaks, Kent. At Hull University, he was named student journalist of the year in 1971 in a competition run by Time-Life magazine and went onto become a Fleet Street journalist, mainly working for the Sunday People.
His first book, the crime novel Smile Of The Stowaway, was published in December 2018. It concerned a Kent couple who harboured a stowaway and then battled to clear his name when he was charged with murder.
His second, The Lazarus Charter, was released in March 2020. It is a spy thriller concerning foreign agents operating in the UK. The book has kindly been endorsed by Marina Litvinenko, widow of the murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, and by Stan and Caroline Sturgess, parents of the innocent mother-of-three poisoned with novichok in Salisbury in 2018.
Tony, who has written four other novels which are as yet unpublished, has five grown-up children. He is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists. He lives in South-East London with his partner Lin.