Danny Morris left behind a gun, a tonne of questions and a big hole in the lives of those he loved. What he didn’t leave was a suicide note.
That was three years ago and on the anniversary of his death, his friends mark his passing by gathering at his parents’ beach house in New Zealand's gorgeous Marlborough Sounds. Danny’s decision may have seemed like the easy way out for him, but there is no doubt about the wreckage he left behind.
Danny's girlfriend, Kate, holds onto his memory by continuing to live in the house they shared. Desperate to move on with her life, the need to understand why he shut her out holds her back. Her blossoming feelings for Danny’s best friend, Finn, only complicate matters.
Finding Danny’s body has impacted on Max in ways no one could ever have imagined. Withdrawing from his high-flying lifestyle, he has carved out a much simpler life, moving from town to town as he tries to run from the nightmares he refuses to talk about. A new development, self-medicating with alcohol has him sailing dangerously close to the edge.
Finn is finally ready to admit how he feels about Kate, but the ghost of her relationship with Danny continues to haunt them both. Desperately trying to save Max from himself dredges up long-buried anger and frustration at the situation they now find themselves in.
Friendship. The word itself conjures up images of trust and love. But what happens when that trust is broken and that love is thrown back in your face?
Five friends. Three days. One shocking discovery that will shake them to the very core.
This year, everything will change.
The single gunshot sounded like a firecracker. Short, sharp, loud. What followed was a buzzing echo, a kind of post-event hum that seemed to fill the air for several seconds, before it too dwindled away to nothing.
The sound was completely out of place in the suburban Auckland street. Two young boys playing in the back yard of the house across the road stopped in their tracks, their smiles frozen.
one said to the other, his grin widening. “Lucky. It’s not Guy Fawkes for ages
“Do you think that was Caleb’s house? We should go and see – he might have more!”
The twinkle in his eye told of the hunt for mischief, but the other boy – more sensible - shook his head.
“Mum said we weren’t allowed to go over there today.”
Deflated, his friend backed down. They resumed their play, chasing each other through the sprinkler that fanned cool water out in a wide arc across the lawn.
Inside, the boy’s mother stopped loading up the dishwasher and peered out the kitchen window. Seeing nothing out of place, she quickly dismissed it.
The birdsong resumed and the sun continued to shine. Summer afternoons had a habit of minimalising things. Nothing could be wrong on a day like this, surely?
Two doors down from the white Victorian villa with the overgrown garden and rickety white picket fence, more children played on the grass verge. They chased each other on their bikes, up and down the footpath, dodging the mature trees planted along the berm. A young couple walked down the opposite side of the street, hand in hand, enjoying the sunshine. A car crawled slowly past before stopping at the intersection on the corner. It waited for a break in the traffic, indicator blinking lazily.
At number forty
time had stopped. The large, rented villa with the veranda that wrapped itself
around the front and one side of the house, looked just the same as always.
Except inside, Danny Morris lay on the floor in the living room. His eyes were
wide open but devoid of life, and a pool of dark, sticky blood seeped through
the worn carpet beneath his head. A gun lay on the floor beside him, his open
hand reaching for it, even in death, as if it would solve all his problems.
The decision to end his own life hadn’t been made lightly. The preceding months had seen him spiral down into a depression that he was ill-equipped to handle. A dark fog had descended over him, swallowing him up. Every breath felt as if he was inhaling sand. He was suffocating. He had withdrawn from his friends and family, both afraid they could see it, and convinced they were unable to help him fight it. No one could help him. The darkness that crawled over his soul and dug its hooks into his heart would not release him. He could feel it gaining power. He craved an end to the hopelessness.
The gun had only been in his possession for a couple of days, hidden from sight but ever-present in his mind. He had mulled over his options carefully. Pills were too slow – it was too risky, someone might find him. Slicing his wrists was out for the same reason, as was hanging himself or gassing himself in his car. He didn’t want to have to explain this to anyone – he didn’t think he was capable of it. Explaining required a basic understanding, and he didn’t have that. What he did have was an overwhelming desire for the pain to end.
He had chosen a gun as his weapon of choice for the simple reason that once he pulled that trigger, it was done. There was no changing his mind, no last-minute rescue, no way of stopping the train once it had left the station. No way back.
Quick, painless, final. The perfect solution.
And yet, for all his meticulous planning, he could not have foreseen the one thing that had been completely out of his control. As his finger was poised on the trigger, sweaty and trembling, a face appeared at the window. In that split second between the trigger being fully depressed and the bullet entering his body, their eyes met.
And then it was over.
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Release date: 2 June 2014
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I'd love to hear your thoughts on the cover, too!
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