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This is the state of things I’m Frank Stasio investigative journalist Laura Chambers didn’t want to come back to her hometown of Hillsborough unfortunate circumstances led to her return and to her taking a job at the Hillsborough Gazette small potatoes compared to her exciting work at the Boston Globe. But when a missing girl turns up dead in Hillsborough Laura is right back in the thick of it , and that takes us into the dark plot of Last Girl Gone the debut novel by Durham-based author JG Hetherington Grant Heather and joins us in the studio now welcome Brett good to have you here . Thanks for having I’m sure Frank . It’s good to have you here and I understand the inspiration for this book actually took place while you were walking along the yoke and 80 Speedway in Hillsborough . Yeah . Have you ever been out there I have it’s beautiful historic it it’s a historic now houses everything in health .
According to the site. I mean I’m from a small town where it looks about the same , but I think it was built in the 1990s so it’s fake historians very so I guess it’s nice to get inspiration from somewhere . That’s actually story but I think the organ speed we speedway was one of the original 2 dirt NASCAR tracks 1947 I think the other one is long gone . Now you can go and take a walk and I was walking my dog men sat on those poured concrete steps into the side of the hill side and a very clear vision of the first chapter of this book , which is a young girl who’s trying to run away from home and meet someone who’s willing to take or it’s not probably the person she was hoping to me .
Yeah , and that they’re actually that sets up your first reading but it is , it is a kind of a flashback in a way in , in the way that it works in this novel , maybe you can set it up.
For sure the petty offenses a girl who’s trying to get away from a very difficult home life , so she’s try this is set back in a time when there are car races on the track , and so he’s trying to find someone who’s willing to take her that first leg of the journey so that she can get out of town.
A click in the car’s lights were gone. But her night vision was ruined she saw nothing but blackness her to Russell and the click of a lighter for a second . She could make out a sharp turn in the end of a hook to nose , but the rest of the man’s face remained hidden behind his hat as he craned his neck down toward the flame then the later went out and he was gone , again the red cherry of a cigarette floating in space rhythmically glowing and fading pulsing like the tides does your mama know you’re out here all alone at the mention of her mother Pattie looked down and started telling the dirt with one shoe does she . He asked again this time , there was an edge in his voice . No , sir , she said . You get in this car right now and maybe I won’t tell your mama where I found you she looked up I searching the dark space that houses the voice a little bit of hope strained her shoulders you promised Mr. you promise you won’t tell I won’t tell if you won’t Patty and then he laughed the laugh surprised her it was an octave higher than his voice and it had a musical quality almost girlish she liked the sound of it , hearing his laugh made the decision much easier . Besides what other choice . Did he have the car seat was smooth brown leather redolent of whiskey and smoke and some kind of perfume she sank deep into it and still could make out his face in the darkness . Do you have to take me home right away . She asked . He weighed this as though considering doing her a favor if you want , he said . Finally I could take you somewhere else . She nodded happily and he started the engine .
Grant Hetherington reading an excerpt from his debut novel Last Girl Gone started. He did , and that really starts the kind of a prologue that will lead to the unfolding of this plot last girl gone so let’s tell us about now Laura Chambers who helps to unravel the mystery .
Laura Chambers is as investigative journalist by virtue of her own bad decisions and poor impulses. She’s had her career at a major daily newspaper The Boston Globe implode kind of spectacularly and so now she has washed up in the hometown she’s always hate it and that’s Hillsborough . You know I you’re looking at me like you’ve been oh you’re all Stork . Yeah , I mean why would anybody , it’s a lovely little town and I took a lovely little Hillsborough and I twisted it I perverted it so make the sort of sinister suspenseful sending their infuses a good mystery and the town also is the way it is because we see it through Laura’s eyes . It’s your home town as the place she grew up and she did not have a very nice Charlton .
Yeah. And that’s , and I think that’s the big part of it for her . It’s all about the memories in about the place where she and just not wanting to go back and of course the sense of failure that she has the loss of working for big time newspaper and now she’s working for the fictional Hillsborough Gazette .
Yes , and I think that you know I grew up in a small town , too and there are some people who are very devoted and loyal to their small towns it so it can be difficult. I think to leave and to come back . Some people have a sense of betrayal about that . I don’t think that she’s the sort of person who ever felt what she really fit in anywhere but of all the places in the world , Hillsborough as the one she least wants to being well in her mother wasn’t any too pleased to see a comeback you . No , I mean I think it’s you could call it a borderline abusive relationship . I think other people might call it an abusive relationship , that’s one of the most difficult parts of her life . I think one of the things she grapples with is why why come back but family you know can be like that of the bonds of family can be difficult to set aside .
You’re right , it’s just so got all that and now she is with this the Hillsborough Gazette and she’s not really like any assignments very much at all. Right . Talk about her work there .
No , I think that what she wants is to leave. So when the body of a young girl is discovered deposited in a field outside of town . She sees that as the tragedy that it is . But he also sees it as something more she sees it as an opportunity , she sees it as her ticket out well , maybe you can reinforce again another excerpt and set it up , if you will . Sure , this is from Chapter 4 I think we’re not too far into the book . In fact , she’s just getting a chance to take a look at the crime scene this spot in a field outside of town where this young girl’s body was discovered .
The final deputy finish with the tape in the stakes loaded them into a van and bumped it down the track back onto the road. Laura pulled her head up and stared down into the field without the camera , only the second man in a suit was left the field began empty in the dying light and the man alone in the center of it . She examined him through the zoom lens . He was a stranger about 40 dark suit , white shirt turned brown around the collar by all the dust clinging to his sweat the top of his shaved head glistening and the thick black eyebrows gave them a stern expression , even at a distance he crossed his arms and closed his eyes and just stood there for 5 minutes , he did absolutely nothing that Laura could see then he walked to the last remaining car started up and disappear down toward the highway . She made her way across the field stepping over row after row of green even past the holes where the stakes had been the verdant lines of life continued Laura knelt and touched the dirt a girl had died here . Her body planted in the soil . See that would never flower and so there was something deeply offensive about ground so rich and lush with life to the west , the sun slid behind the ridge the universe ticked on like a station master watch it had a scheduled to keep and no small thing not disease nor death nor the suffering of children would ever give it powers Laura close horizon crossed her arms as she had seen the man do . Maybe it had given him answers . Maybe it would cast the whole terrible thing into some new perspective and make it all seem meaningful but all she felt was called .
Grant Heather reading from his debut novel Last Girl Gone , so here it is , I mean , now we’re setting off on a mystery in your writing in many ways , just it’s a straight up mystery more going to talk about the. The fact that it’s part of the series , sure that you haven’t written .
Yeah , and there will be a second book coming , it’s called what lies beneath it should be out around the middle of next year just this morning I was talking with my publisher about whether we could get a page up I too are online bookstores that maybe there or if it’s not there. It’ll be there soon , but certainly you can find information about it on my website 80 Heather synagogue.com or my handle on Twitter and Facebook . Sgt Heather 10 and it will be up in the middle of next year .
You know in this one , again it’s a mystery. And we’ve got , Laura . So we’re going to follow this thing , but we’re also following lowers character and personality . She made some bad decisions in Boston . Yeah . She’s .