Wednesday, 10 July 2019

The Reunion by Guillaume Musso - Extract

Welcome to a school reunion you won't forget
On a freezing night, as her high school campus is engulfed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell runs away with Alexis, her philosophy teacher.
No one will ever see them again.
Formerly inseparable, Thomas, Maxime and Fanny - Vinca's best friends - have not spoken in twenty-five years. But when they receive an invitation to their school reunion, they know they must go back one final time.
Because there is a body buried in that school...
...and they're the ones who put it there.


Southernmost point, Cap d’Antibes, May 13
Manon Agostini parked her patrol car at the end of the Chemin de la Garoupe. She slammed the door of the battered old Renault Kangoo, inwardly railing at the chain of events that had led her here.

At about 9 p.m., a security guard at one the most opulent mansions on the cape had called the commissariat in Antibes to report hearing a firecracker or possibly a gunshot – some strange noise – coming from the rocky coastal path. The Antibes commissariat attached little importance to the call, and relayed the information on to the local police station, who could think of nothing better to do than radio her, even though she was not on duty.

At the point when her superior officer called to ask her to check out the coast road, Manon was already in evening dress and preparing to go out. She wanted to tell him to fuck off, but she felt she could not say no to him. Just that morning, he had given her permission to use the Kangoo outside working hours. Manon’s own car had recently died a death, and she desperately needed a car that Saturday night to attend an event that was important to her. The school she had attended, the LycĂ©e International SaintExupĂ©ry, was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and there was to be a reunion of her former classmates. Manon secretly hoped she might run into a guy she had been smitten with long ago. A boy who was not like the others, but whom she had stupidly passed over at the time, preferring to date older guys who had all turned out to be utter shits.  There was nothing rational about her hope – she could not be sure that he would be there, and besides, he had probably forgotten that she ever existed – but she needed to believe that something was finally going to happen in her life. Manicure, haircut, clothes shopping: Manon had spent all afternoon getting ready. She had blown three hundred euros on a designer dress – midnightblue lace with a silk bodice – borrowed a pearl choker from her sister and a pair of slingbacks from her best friend – Stuart Weitzman suede pumps that pinched her feet.

Tottering on her high heels, Manon flicked on her phone’s flashlight setting and headed down the narrow trail that hugged the coast as far as the Villa Eilenroc. She knew the area like the back of her hand; as a child, her father used to take her here to fish in the streams. Locals used to call this area Smugglers’ Way; later it appeared in guidebooks under the intriguing moniker of Sentier de TirePoil – HairPluck Lane. These days, it was known by the prosaic, anodyne name of ‘the coastal path’.

After some fifty metres, Manon came to a barrier with a hazard warning sign: ‘Danger – No Entry’. Earlier in the week, a fierce storm had lashed the coast, and the waves had caused landslides that had cut off certain sections of the path.

Manon hesitated for a moment, then scrambled over the barrier.


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