Hello, Sunshines, I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for; Sophomania by Danielle Zinn. I am super excited to share this book with you all, plus I have an exclusive excerpt to tempt you with.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite to this tour.
About the Book
Sophomania by Danielle Zinn.
Genre: Police Procedural, Thriller
When Detective Inspector Nathaniel Thomas is presented with an anonymous letter and three unexplained deaths in less than twenty-four hours, he realizes that his idyllic home village Crottendorf masks a turbulent reality. Summoning his trusted colleague, DS Ann Collins, Thomas begins to unravel what quickly becomes an overwhelming mountain of conflicting evidence.
So many secrets. So many lies. So many attempts to cover things up.
All is not as it first appears and it proves a lot harder to pin down the killer who prides himself on being more than one step ahead of the DI.
A deeply rooted family tragedy, greed and vengeance are at the core of this crime novel. The twists and turns of Sophomania leave you wondering to the very end who the real murderer is—or if there may actually be more than one killer on the loose in the anything-but-sleepy village of Crottendorf.
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3vCT7IF
DI Thomas has received an envelope containing the mummified finger of a boy who had died at the age of eight some thirty years ago under mysterious circumstances and a letter reading ‘I know what really happened back then. Go to 4Z5.’ He has ordered the opening of the boy’s coffin.
The boy’s called Phinnaeus.
Eleanor Landing is the boy’s mother.
Alexis Landing was the boy’s father (now dead).
Damian Moxley was the family’s gardener and stable boy thirty years ago.
The cemetery worker has the keys to the family crypt.
The crypt itself was located at the very end of the property and overhung with the first towering trees of the forest beyond. The air felt immediately cooler.
The four-metre high, hall-like stone structure was decorated with two angels, one to each side, and a cross on top of the roof. It reminded Thomas more of a little chapel than a crypt. Its entry was locked with a heavy iron gate and another wooden door beyond. Next to the entrance, a wreath of flowers was slowly losing its fight against the relentless sun.
The gate creaked open, followed by the door, and the trio descended a flight of stairs into a compact, cellar-like vault. The cemetery worker fumbled with his torch, and soon the room was plunged into an eerie, pale light.
Four coffins lined the wall, two to each side, standing on three-feet-high stone pedestals. Soon another two coffins would be added to this eerie sight.
Thomas shuddered in spite of himself. He wasn’t scared of crypts or even death itself, but the quick transition from a bright, warm, carefree summer’s day to this sombre, sorrowful spot showed him quite plainly how precious life was.
He had never been inside a family crypt before, and considering it now couldn’t remember the last time he had seen coffins. The thought of sharing a room with four dead people sent another shiver down his spine. For some reason, he had imagined the crypt would look cosier. Thick layers of dust had settled onto the coffins, the names of their inhabitants barely readable.
There were no flowers, no candles and no pictures. Nothing.
“Here we have Alexis’s parents,” Eleanor said as if advertising a piece of furniture. She pointed to two similar coffins on one side of the wall.
“This is Alexis.” Her voice was steady and unyielding as she briefly tapped the top of the coffin.
“What did your husband die of?” Thomas asked.
“Did heart problems run in the family?”
“No, why should they?”
“Just wondering,” Thomas mumbled.
“And this is my beloved little angel.”
They turned in unison to a small white coffin with golden handles and a wooden cross on top.
“We would like to open the lid now, Mrs Landing. Is that okay with you?”
“I thought that’s why we are here.” The shaky voice betrayed her otherwise stiff composure.
A long-drawn-out creak resonated down the stairs from the wooden entrance door. Then silence filled the vault again. Thomas and the cemetery worker looked at each other. Nobody dared to move.
A heavy boot clunked onto the cold stone steps, followed by another one. Wheezing breathing set in as a pair of legs emerged from an as-yet headless body. The figure took its time and finally ducked underneath the arched lintel.
Thomas took the dim torchlight from the petrified cemetery worker and shone it directly into the newcomer’s face.
A weather-beaten visage framed by long, dark, filthy hair stared back.
“Mr Moxley?” Thomas nearly dropped the torchlight in astonishment.
“Damian! Gosh, you scared us!” Eleanor blurted.
“Sorry. The gate was open, so …” He motioned at the congregation inside the crypt.
“Thanks for coming,” Eleanor said, and the last bit of coolness had worn off in her voice.
“Was he invited?” Thomas asked, irritated.
Certainly, it was nice that Eleanor had some moral support during this hard time, but this wasn’t exactly a family reunion. What had Moxley said when Thomas had asked him about Eleanor? That they hadn’t been in touch for years?
“Damian called to offer his condolences. Besides, this is still my property and I can invite onto it whomever I like.”
“Can we finally open that lid now, or are we expecting more spectators?” the cemetery worker thundered, and his deep, gruff voice resonated in the vault.
Thomas whirled around and shot the man a firm look.
“Mrs Landing, Mr Moxley, would you please take a step back?”
The duo obeyed, and the worker undid the four screws.
Thomas made a step towards the coffin. Not for the life of him could he determine what they would find inside.
With a jolt, the man lifted the lid off, and some of the dust slid to the ground. Not that it mattered.
Caught in the momentum of yanking open the lid, he suddenly began to stumble backwards. In trying to regain his balance, the man let go of the lid, which landed at such an unfortunate angle on the edge of the coffin that it tipped the entire sarcophagus over to the side.
For a brief second, four people stared first at a silky glimmering rayon sheet, followed by a mattress filled with wood fibre sliding to the ground in slow motion before the bottom of the coffin finished its tumble down the pedestal with an almighty thunder.
“Phinnaeus!” Eleanor yelled with such force that Thomas turned around to look whether the boy had joined them. But he only saw her hurrying up the stairs, her long summer dress swirling up the dust.
Damian stood there, rooted to the spot.
Apparently, nobody had been prepared for what they found inside the coffin.
About the Author
Danielle Zinn is a German author, born and raised in a small village in the Ore Mountains/Germany where not only her debut crime novel Snow Light is set but also her second book, Sophomania.
She holds a BA (Hons) degree in Business and Management from New College Durham/UK and has settled down in Leipzig/Germany where she works as a Financial Controller at an IT Consultancy.
She was introduced to the world of English literature and writing from an early age on through her mother – an English teacher. Over the last years, she circumnavigated the globe and loves visiting her friends scattered all over the world.
Social Media Links
Twitter: @DanielleZinn4 https://twitter.com/daniellezinn4
Facebook: Danielle.zinn.7 https://www.facebook.com/danielle.zinn.7