Friday 17 February 2023

Kerry Hadley-Pryce, "God's Country"

Kerry Hadley-Pryce was born in the Black Country. She worked nights in a Wolverhampton petrol station before becoming a secondary school teacher. A leading exponent of ‘Black Country noir,’ her previous Salt novels were substantial critical successes and helped popularise Gothic writing from the Black Country. She wrote her first novel, The Black Country, whilst studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School, for which she gained a distinction and for which she was awarded the Michael Schmidt Prize for outstanding achievement. Her second novel Gamble was shortlisted for the Encore Second Novel Award. She has had several short stories published both in print and online. She has just completed a PhD in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. God’s Country is her third novel. She lives in Stourbridge and tweets @kerry2001

About God's Country, by Kerry Hadley-Pryce

In God’s Country, Guy Flood returns to the Black Country with his girlfriend, Alison, to attend his identical twin brother’s funeral. The reasons he left, and the secrets he left behind, slowly become clear. A chilling dark fiction, dominated by unknown and all-seeing narrator.

You can read more about God's Country on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read an excerpt from the novel. 

From God's Country

Guy looked at her, and she’ll say she knew that look well. She’ll tell how she rubbed her fingertips lightly and briefly on the outside of his thigh. 

‘Oh, Christ, Guy…’ she said. ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.’ 

Guy sighed. He would have sighed instead of saying anything.

‘That was thoughtless, me saying something like that,’ she said. ‘I’m really sorry.’

Ahead of them, she’ll say the traffic had just begun to move. They would have been able to see it begin to shift, like the vertebrae of an enormous monster that they were part of, and up ahead, the blue lights of the fire engines, the police cars. 

‘I really am,’ Alison said, and she would have been squeezing his thigh, and her breath would have been chemical with thirst. ‘I’m an idiot for saying that.’ 

She’ll say now, she just needed to keep him on-side. 

Don’t feel sorry for her.

She’ll tell how she remembers Guy finding first gear, saying, ‘Thank Christ for that,’ and how he was concentrating on the horizon, leaning forward, seeming to want to push forward physically. She would have taken hold of his fingers if she could have, if she could have brought herself to, that is, but both his hands were on the wheel, and it was late, and nobody wants to be late for their own brother’s funeral, especially when it’s your twin brother ...

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