Title: Someone Close to Home
Author: Alex Craigie
Genre: Romantic Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Ashford Carbonel Publishing
"The book is brilliant. It reads like a memoir and grips like great fiction should - beautiful characterization" Viga Boland - Author - No Tears For My Father Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon. But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her. Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home. And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people. Just how far will Annie go? 'Someone Close To Home' is a story of love, malice and deadly menace.
We form a small procession. Theo’s in front, then me and my pusher, then Camilla. I’m taken through the big glass doors at the front and the brightness of the outside takes me by surprise.
Theo thrusts forward to where his expensive car is waiting. He pushes the fob
and the door cheeps before he swings it wide to accommodate its awkward passenger
on what will probably be her last trip. The young nurse, helps them settle me in the
back seat and she stays to wave as I’m driven off.
It’s not a long journey, but it’s fascinating to see the outside world again and
to experience movement like this. Something occurs to Camilla.
“What’s happening about the fees for The Yews? I mean, do they need paying
“Don’t worry, Cam. It’s all taken care of.”
“How? You’ve not paid for this yourself?”
“Don’t be daft, Cam! I applied for powers of attorney.”
“Mum can’t make any decisions herself, so I asked Rupert to sort it out for
me. He owes me one.”
“But she does understand things, Theo. That speech therapist said she does.
She’d never agree to this.”
“You’re deluding yourself, Cam. Anyway, I’ve sold a few things to get
“What things?” We’re both annoyed at his high-handedness and need to know
if the ‘few things’ matter to us.
“Oh, this and that.”
She stares fixedly at him until he elucidates.
“Nothing important. I took some of mother’s old bits and bobs from her
travels around the world to be valued. It turns out the old Belgian tapestry is worth a
small fortune. It’ll pay for The Yews for quite a while.”
“That’s okay then.”
No it bloody isn’t. How dare he be so cavalier with my past. I grunt my
protest, but no one pays any attention. Then the full impact of his words hits me in the
chest. He has powers of attorney.
I wouldn’t trust Theo with my pocket change and now he has control over
everything I have in this world. I daresay it also gives him absolute power over the
remains of my life too. How has it come to this? What did I do to turn him into this
self-absorbed, materialistic, heartless excuse for a man?
I’m still seething when the car turns onto a gravel drive and crunches its way
to the front door of a building that has suffered many identity crises over the years.
The original building is a large and pleasant Victorian rectory with ivy scrabbling up
and into the guttering at the front. The additions range from quite tasteful to baldly
simplistic tacked-on boxes. This is a money-making, cost-cutting enterprise and I
have Theo to thank for having so thoughtfully chosen it for me.
Theo bounces up the steps two or three at a time, pushes a bell at the entrance
and disappears into the gloom.
“All right, Mummy? Soon be over.” Camilla reaches over and pats my hand.
She means the effort of getting me into this awful place, but she might as well be
referring to my life.
Theo reappears with two women wearing blue uniforms. They both flash
smiles so broad their teeth are fully on display. Then they winkle me out of the
backseat and onto the unfolded wheelchair. One of them, Mandy, speaks in a
peculiarly high, patronising voice that scratches across my nerves.
“There we go, Megan. Are we comfy?” The question is rhetorical, which is as
well considering the very limited range of animal noises at my disposal.
The other one bends her face close to mine and says, “It’s good to see you
again, Megan. Welcome to The Yews. When I heard you were coming I told Mrs
Kenton that we were old friends and she’s made me your chief carer. I’m sure you’re
going to be very happy here.”
I stare at her. She looks familiar, but I can’t place her.
“You don’t recognise me yet, do you? It’s Annie.” I still look blankly back
and she turns to Theo and says, “Don’t worry. It’s not unusual for things to be a bit
muddled after a stroke.”
She pushes me over to the side where there’s a ramp up to the entrance and I
feel that first-day-at-a-new-school fear and have to swallow several times to deal with
the knot in my throat. I’m pulled backwards through the doors and then swung round
to get my first look inside.
I’m in a hall where darkness fights with artificial candlelights near the top of
the walls. Beneath the scorched shades the walls are dotted with cheap prints of
landscapes and occasional notices such as ‘Wednesday is Bingo Day!’ and ‘Visitors
please remember to sign in and out again. Thank You.’ There’s a neglected air that
penetrates the place along with a subdued but foul odour of body fluids, disinfectant
and cheap room sprays. I’m still taking in my surroundings when a door opens
opposite us and an expensively dressed woman wearing too much make-up advances
on me with hand outstretched. She takes my useless right hand in hers.
“Welcome, Megan. Welcome to The Yews. I’m Mrs Kenton, the owner, and if
you have any worries or concerns I want you to know that my door is always open to
you. It doesn’t matter how big or small, I’m here and you can talk to me anytime
about anything. All right?”
She looks up at my disloyal children.
“We’re like a big family here and I can assure you that you’ve made the best
choice for her.”
She smiles graciously, lets go of my hand and steps back into her room,
closing the door firmly behind her.
Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.