Read an Extract

Hidden Agenda


The heat was so heavy it weighed everything down. The city seemed to be sleeping. On the bank of the sluggish Mississippi river a car drew up so close to the water that the backwash from a passing steamer lapped around its front wheels. The driver, having checked the windows, locked the doors and headed away, leaving the engine quietly ticking over. Anyone watching might have seen from the slight shift that the handbrake wasn’t on but, at four in the afternoon, there were very few people about. In New Orleans they take a lengthy siesta.

The water was dense and grey with mud as the heavy Buick inched itself slowly forward. Because of the slope it gained momentum until it nosedived beneath the surface. Within the car, two small stricken faces were just perceptible against the glass. Four tiny hands with scrabbling fingers raked the closed windows as it sank.

Beneath the trees, still as a heron, the driver watched till the ripples had ceased then turned and walked briskly away.

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