The party should have been perfect: six couples from the same baby group, six newborns, a luxurious house. But not everything has gone to plan, and while some are here to celebrate, others have sorrows to drown. When someone falls from the balcony of the house, the secrets and conflicts within the group begin to spill out …
DS Alison Hegarty, herself struggling with infertility, is called in to investigate. She’s convinced the fall was not an accident, and finds the new parents have a lot to hide. Wealthy Ed and Monica show off their newborn while their teenage daughter is kept under virtual house arrest. Hazel and Cathy conceived their longed-for baby via an anonymous sperm donor—or so Hazel thinks. Anita and Jeremy planned to adopt from America, but there’s no sign of the child. Kelly, whose violent boyfriend disrupted previous group sessions, came to the party even though she lost her baby. And then there’s Jax, who’s been experiencing strange incidents for months—almost like someone’s out to get her. Is it just a difficult pregnancy? Or could it be payback for something she did in the past?
It’s a nightmare of a case, and as events get even darker it begins to look impossible. Only one thing is clear: they all have something to hide. And for one of them, it’s murder.
Also from Claire McGowan...
The Other Wife
Suzi did a bad thing. She’s paying for it now, pregnant, scared, and living in an isolated cottage with her jealous husband, Nick.
When Nora moves into the only house nearby, Suzi is delighted to have a friend. So much so that she’s almost tempted to tell Nora her terrible secret. But there’s more to Nora than meets the eye. It’s impossible—does she already know what Suzi did?
Meanwhile, Elle spends her days in her perfect home, fixated on keeping up appearances. But when her husband betrays her, it unravels a secret going all the way back to her childhood. She’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to him, even if that means murder. After all, she’s done it before…
Caught up in their own secrets and lies, these strangers will soon realise they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. When a shocking event brings them together, their lives will never be the same again.
What You Did
It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.
When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?
When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.
The Paula Maguire books
Set along the Irish border, this series follows forensic psychologist Paula Maguire and a cross-border team dealing with missing persons in a small Irish town. Paula's got a special insight into missing persons as her mother's been gone since 1993, and a messy personal life to match the complexity of her work. Paula and the team encounter lots of strange and dark cases - read about them below. The series begins with The Lost.
The first book! Paula Maguire is seconded to her hometown of Ballyterrin, full of secrets and a past she just wants to escape. But two teenage girls are missing - is a serial killer at work? Or is the truth even darker?
The Dead Ground
This is the second book - the one with 'the most harrowing prologue in crime fiction' (sorry!) Paula is battling with a huge personal decision as babies start going missing in a snow-bound Ballyterrin, a month before Christmas.
The Silent Dead
This is the third book and sees Paula search for five suspected bombers who've been kidnapped. Would anyone miss them? What does justice even mean? Heavily pregnant, Paula faces her toughest challenges yet. A Metro and Times Crime Novel of the Year 2015.
An exclusive Paula novella, set in 1998, as 17-year-old Paula deals with loss, love, and a summer of parades and bombs. Features Bob Hamilton and explains what happened to PJ's leg.
A Savage Hunger
Book four sees Paula struggle to build a life for herself and her family, only to have it all threatened. She must search for a college student who's gone missing from an ancient pagan site, along with a priceless holy relic.
In book five Paula is stranded on a remote island, where every inhabitant has become a suspect in the case of a missing couple. Meanwhile, new clues arise in the disappearance of her mother.
The Killing House
When two bodies are dug up at an isolated farmhouse, Paula has to help identify a girl no one seems to be missing. But when she learns there could be a connection to her mother's case, it's suddenly very close to home.
Bad things never happen to Charlotte. But her fiancé Dan has been hiding a secret, and the pressure is pushing him over the edge.When he's arrested for killing a nightclub owner, Charlotte's future is shattered.
Then she opens her door to Keisha, an angry and frustrated stranger with a story to tell. What Keisha knows will threaten everyone she loves, and put Charlotte's own life in danger...
Rosie Grant's Finger
Published in the anthology Belfast Noir, 'Rosie Grant's Finger' is a Belfast-set tale of blackmail, corruption, and a seventeen-year-old PI with a Raleigh ten-speed.
Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 'Archaeology' is a dark tale of how 'if you just wait long enough, a murder scene becomes archaeology'. It was read by Conleith Hill from Game of Thrones and it sounds spine-tingling in his amazing voice.
My first play, Backseat Drivers, was performed at the London Theatre in April 2015. It's a story of middle England, woodland shenanigans, and what really goes on at meetings of the RSPB....
I've written pieces for Glamour, Grazia, Marie Claire, Stylist, Writing Magazine, and the Irish Examiner, among others. I've also written for many blogs and online sites including Bustle and the Vagenda.
If you would like to talk to me about any of these things, please do drop me a line!