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Blood in the Wings (Paperback) by J. L. O'Rourke

Blood in the Wings (Paperback) by J. L. O'Rourke
Product Code: blood-in-the-wings-paperback
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Paperback version

 
16 year old Riley Lowe is working as a stage hand, backstage at her theatre company's annual show. Her classmate from school, Tasha, is also in the show as a dancer and, as usual, she is flirting with all the guys. In particular, she is trying to take the one who Riley is attracted to. Severn is one of a group of professional theatre crew who are helping with the show but the closer she gets to him, the more Riley realises that there is something strange about the group who live and work in the dark. When Tasha is killed and Severn disappears, Riley learns their terrible secret. But can she solve the murder in time to save Severn?
 
Read an excerpt:

The rain came down red and Severn was gone.

The police asked me lots of questions, both at the theatre and, later, down at the police station but I couldn’t tell them much more than that. No, that’s not true. I could have told them heaps more, but I didn’t. Anyway, I wasn’t sure myself. No, don’t tell anyone anything. Just answer their questions, get out of here, find Severn and hope the answers are wrong.

“Tell me again, Miss Lowe, take it slowly.” The policeman, a detective inspector I think he said he was, kept tapping his pen against the table. It was driving me crazy. The policewoman sitting by the door smiled. That was driving me crazy too.

 “What do you know about this Severn?”

I have to think about the answer. I know things about Severn that nobody knows but I hardly know him at all. And I desperately want to keep on learning.

So, really slowly like the cop wants, I start from the beginning again.

“I met Severn two weeks ago when we packed in.” It feels like forever.

“Packed in?” the cop inquires.

“Yeah, that’s what I said. Pack-in. It’s theatre-speak, Get used to it!” This guy was so dumb.

“All right, Miss Lowe,” the cop snapped. “There’s no need to get abusive. Let’s just get on with it so we can all go home.”

“Yeah, well don’t butt in then!” Ok, it was well after midnight and I was tired and cranky, but he really was a jerk. “I told you, I met him at pack-in. That’s when we set up the show in the theatre.” I added the last bit slowly, just in case he was as stupid as he looked in his prissy black jacket and his ugly blue tie,

Then, as he still looked blank, I explained.

“Until pack-in the show is all over the place. The actors will have been rehearsing in one place, the orchestra somewhere else and the dancers somewhere else again. The props and the wardrobe have been made at the main rehearsal rooms over the last few months and the sets have been made in a hired warehouse. At least that’s how our company usually works.”

The cop was rapidly taking notes.

“On pack-in day the set and all the technical stuff such as the lights and the sound gear arrives at the theatre and the crew take over; rigging, wiring, hauling things into place. It’s organised chaos. I love it.”

“Why were you there?”

“Mum’s been in the society for years. Even before she went to Australia and met Dad. When they split up she came home and joined up again. I go with her.”

“You act?”

“No, I’m the family disappointment. Backstage, that’s my job. I’m doing theatre arts at school but only because it’s easy, not because I ever want to act!”

He was actually writing this down, he really was a jerk!

“But you were at this show?” he asked, looking up from his paper.

“Yeah, I just told you, I work backstage. My theatre arts teacher also happened to be the choreographer for this year’s show and she talked to the stage manager who agreed I could work as floor crew, moving bits of set on and off stage when the scenes change.

This year’s production is the biggest show we’ve done. The director decided to have all the scene changes happening with the curtains up but in a black-out and there’re about twenty-one scene changes so they needed a lot of crew. That’s how come Severn and his lot were there at all. We didn’t have enough people to move all the sets by ourselves, or do the complicated lighting the show needs, so the stage manager rang somebody who rang somebody else who suggested Seth Borman.

“Seth Borman,” the cop repeated as he wrote the name on his piece of paper.

“That’s what I said.”

The cop glared at me.

“It was a good idea,” I continued. “Even if it is costing the society an arm and a leg. He runs a professional travelling stage crew. Technical wizards.”

“And Severn was one of these?” the cop asked.

“Yeah,” I snapped back. “I was just getting to that.” I carried on.

“Seth Borman’s the leader. The head flyman.” I could see the cop’s eyebrow start to rise with a question so I jumped in first. “Flymen are the guys who work on a little platform about fifteen metres above the stage, hauling the big backdrop cloths and bits of set in and out. They are immensely strong. Seth Borman has an upper body to die for,” I added wistfully.

The cop glared at me again. I continued.

“There are six more of them. The women, Olivia and Meredith, work floor crew like I do. So does Aiden, Meredith’s twin brother. The older guy, Finn, is the floor electrician. The guy in charge of lighting is a strange little dude they call the Reverend. He’s about five foot nothing tall and wears a huge black floor-length coat that makes him look like a miniature version of Darth Vader. I’ve never seen him without a can of coke in one hand and a chocolate bar in the other.

Severn operates the sound board.

I didn’t notice him for the first four days.

Tasha saw him first. When it comes to men, she always does. She’s got some sort of inbuilt radar detector that homes in on good-looking men. Mind you, it must be a sending as well as receiving device because they home in on her just as fast.

Tasha was in the show as a dancer. She clicked around backstage in tap shoes and a scarlet bathing costume covered in ostrich feathers, all up in front and out behind. I hate Tasha, she’s such a bitch.”

“Tasha? Would that be Natasha Moreland?” The cop looked up at me. I nodded. “You said you hate Natasha?” he inquired, tapping his pen again. “Why is that?”

 

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