Cover image for Walking on water
Title:
Walking on water
Author:
O'Connor, Gemma.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Berkley Publishing Group, 2003.

©2001
Physical Description:
339 pages : 1 map ; 18 cm
General Note:
"A Jove Book"--t.p.verso.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780515135978
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks
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Central Library X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Gemma O'Connor's "complex, intelligent" thrillers are "constantly enjoyable...with lashings of atmosphere and tension," raved the London Times. Now this acclaimed master of suspense probes the dark secrets of a wealthy American tourist-whose love life may have been the death of her...


Excerpts

Excerpts

One Where the broad Glár River opened out to embrace the sea, at the coastal village of Passage South, it was almost three-quarters of a mile wide. There, where the water curled playfully around a cluster of craggy rocks, the fishing was best and the lobster markers stuck out of the sea like so many miniature flagpoles, dancing through the waves with their tattered ensigns fluttering, horse-tailed, from the constant buffeting of the wind. The young weekend sailors used them as a sort of marine slalom course, dodging their sleek little Lasers between the sticks like frenzied bats. It was mid-September. After several days of rain and almost every variation of autumnal squall short of hurricane, Tuesday morning dawned bright and sunny, a perfect if chilly day which, by some miracle, was still holding at noon. On the cliff top overlooking the bay, Garda-Sergeant Francis Xavier Recaldo, resident one-man police force of Passage South, amateur musician and occasional travel writer, stood looking out over the sea, his neat and powerful binoculars trained on a blue--painted fishing vessel which was playing hide-and-seek between the islands on the far side of the bay. After a few minutes his radiophone began to crackle. He lifted the receiver to his ear and listened. "He's playing us for sport," he replied. "But he should come into your sights just about . . . now. See him? He's going around the head of Cormorant Island. You've spotted him? Right then, I'll see you later, as arranged." He retracted the aerial and rehitched the receiver on his belt. Recaldo--Frank to his friends and FX to those who assumed they were--was over six foot four, with the picturesque looks of his Spanish forebears. His abundant hair was blue-black, his eyes hooded, dark-lashed, deep blue. Aquiline nose and sensuous mouth. He was reserved in manner, with a curious air of stillness about him. Unusually formal, extremely courteous; his good manners rarely slipped, but he found small talk difficult and was not gifted at making easy friendships. In the main, women found him attractive; men less so since he had little interest in being one of the gang. Discretion was a desirable trait in a country officer of the law, and Recaldo was nothing if not discreet. Whatever information came his way he kept strictly to himself. He was good at his job, approachable if not overfriendly. It was getting on for noon. He had been on surveillance since dawn and was feeling somewhat drained. He hoisted himself up on a large smooth rock and held his face to the sun. Three years before, at the age of thirty-eight, he'd had a coronary immediately after a vigorous game of squash. Just dropped like a stone. Bang. Stress and sixty cigarettes a day were among the suggested causes. And genes, since his father had died of a heart attack at fifty-five. The bypass operation was successful, though his illness had effectively spelt the end of his high-flying career at Garda Headquarters in Dublin. It also ended his marriage, though this had been on the rocks for some time. The irony was that when, against his own expectations, he began to recover, he came to the realization that what he most wanted was to step off the career conveyor belt and completely change his lifestyle. So strong was this impulse that he immediately put in for early retirement. And neatly demonstrating just how out of touch he was, he did not consult his wife before doing so. Not unnaturally, this proved the last straw as far as Sheila was concerned. Theirs was one of the first homegrown divorces under the new legislation. They agreed to part before he realized that fifty per cent of the marital spoils wouldn't buy even a retirement cottage, much less the house he had dreamed of building on his family plot near Dingle. The scheme didn't seem to be a viable proposition until a mate tipped him off about the job in Passage South. It wasn't his beloved Kerry but, being in Cork, the next county, near enough. It took considerable powers of persuasion to talk his superiors into appointing him-the force did not like to demote its officers--but eventually he prevailed. He arrived at Passage South allegedly cured, but with his emotional life in tatters. His worldly goods comprised a newly acquired eight-year-old ex-army Jeep, two suitcases of clothes, a large trunk of paperbacks, a disgusting-looking ghetto blaster and an extensive CD collection. His two teenage sons resolutely refused to visit him "in the sticks," but by sheer persistence he was somehow managing to build a reasonable relationship with them. His visits to Dublin were at their convenience, and he'd learned to take their ages and tastes into account. Being a musician helped. To his own amusement, he'd developed an active interest in the current music scene-though, he had to admit, inevitably trailing light years behind his sons. Oddly enough, music also helped make him accepted in Passage South-though perhaps it was his dogged attempts at learning to sail which proved the bigger ice-breaker. The sight of that tall elegant figure shoehorned into his little dinghy caused the more lavishly accommodated much merriment. And it was in his boat that Recaldo longed to be that morning, as he scrambled down from his lookout. He walked restlessly to the cliff edge and surveyed the scene below. The sparkling sea looked tempting beyond measure, with its islands scattered like jewels in the sunlight. There were several small craft scudding across the bay as fishermen and sailors made the most of what might well be the last good day of the season; amongst them he spotted his friend John Spain in his sturdy wooden boat. Most mornings saw the old man put-putting the couple of miles down the estuary from his cottage to spend three or four pensive hours fishing, catching bait, or checking his five lobster pots. Sometimes, in good weather, he spent all day in the small open craft, switching off the outboard motor and rowing as soon as he came within range of his chosen ground. From his vantage point Recaldo could just about make out the golden sands of Trabuí Strand on the other side of the bay where, later that day, he'd arranged to meet Cressida Sweeney whom he'd been wooing for some months. Illicitly, of course, since she was married, with all the awkwardness, secrecy and inconvenience that implied. And frustration. Because he'd spent Saturday and Sunday with his sons in Dublin, he hadn't seen her since the previous Friday. He had much to tell her-for there was at last some hope of persuading her to leave her ghastly husband. Getting together. The thought of her filled him with deep longing, as it always did. He regarded her as a kind of miracle, for love had found him when he least expected it and startled him with joy. Trabuí beckoned. Or perhaps it was the thought of Cressie that fired his imagination and made him decide to take the afternoon off and sail across the bay to meet her. A romantic gesture to mark a turn in their fortunes. The day before, he'd signed a modest contract for his first collection of travel pieces and his ex-wife, who was about to remarry, had, without any prompting from him, suggested they sell the family house and split the proceeds. He stretched out his arms and cried: "Thank you, thank you, God, or whoever is looking out for me." Then he whistled for his dog. It was several minutes before the unruly half-Labrador, Barker, came hurtling towards him, barking his head off. Recaldo grabbed his collar and held him firmly for the five minutes it took to get home. As they passed the Atlantis Hotel the old gardener called out a greeting. Recaldo waved but didn't stop for fear of being caught. He was rather wary of Finbarr Spillane, a dedicated gossip, who could rattle on for hours if encouraged. Home was a small modern house tagged to the end of a terrace of empty holiday-lets which clung to the side of the hill on the very outskirts of the village, close to the cliff walk. He barely took time for a quick sandwich before strolling down to the village which was half-asleep in the sunshine, with a peaceful, end-of-season atmosphere. Passage South was much like any other seaside village the world over, except it had the advantage of a breathtakingly beautiful situation. True, the original compact little settlement had grown over the years and not always in sympathetic style, but on the whole it retained its age-old charm. The village fanned up a gentle hill from the small harbour at its heart; neatly bisected east to west by the main street which boasted six bed-and-breakfast establishments (seomrí en suite), a chandlery and general store, three pubs, a café and a gift shop. There were two good restaurants, one seasonal, the other open all year round. A cobblestone road ran down to the pier where the ferries and fishing boats tied up. The sailing school and marina were off to the right. It had started with one small dock, but over time first one and then another had been flung outwards into the bay. As the number of pleasure craft grew, colourful little mooring buoys danced north-west to the cluster of rocky islets at the mouth of the estuary. There was very little activity in the pre-dinner lull, just a couple of delivery vans outside the grocery shop and three or four people leaning against the harbour wall. The thousand-odd inhabitants of the village and hinterland could, and often did, increase threefold during the summer months but from the end of August slipped back to sleepy normality. It was then that the local sailors, Recaldo among them, came into their own, for September could be the most beautiful month of the year. "Grand day, Frank." Michael Hussey, landlord of the most popular bar in the village, greeted him as he walked by. Recaldo stopped to pass the time of day. "Will it hold?" "It might, then. Are you thinking of going out?" "Maybe," Recaldo conceded. "Once I see what's waiting for me above." He continued his way up to the two-roomed garda station which was situated on the Duncreagh Road, just off Main Street, close to the church. Normally he spent as little time as possible at either. As luck would have it there were two or three people waiting for him, but in the end it only took just over an hour to sort out their various trivial complaints. It was a quarter to two when, at last, he switched the station phone to automatic, slipped his mobile in his pocket, got into his ancient Jeep and headed for the estuary. --from Walking on Water by Gemma O'Connor, copyright © 2003, published by Jove, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher. Excerpted from Walking on Water by Gemma O'Connor All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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