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The Child Before by Michael Scanlon – Excerpt

I am taking part in the blog tour for Michael Scanlon’s newest novel, book 2 in the Detective Beck series, released today. For something a little different on this tour … I am so excited to be able to share with you an excerpt from the book!


Winter is slow to loosen its grip here. Here in this place where tectonic plates once ground and crashed, forcing up sandstone and granite rock from the deep, wild Atlantic. Here, where nature has shaped the landscape, forcing trees into bent and crooked posture, tearing the coastline into a jagged wound. And it is here that the town of Cross Beg awaits the first sweet, warm breath of summer that surely, eventually, must come. But this year it is different. Summer does not come slowly, or tentatively; does not, as in other years, creep in. No. It arrives suddenly, overnight, and although it is still mid-May, people wake one morning to find their cold, damp rock basking in sunshine beneath a clear blue sky, while the carcass of winter still lies fresh and unburied on the ground.


She began to sing, the girl. Her voice was soft, so soft it was almost of the wind. It was a lullaby. She cradled her arms, rocking them gently back and forth. As if she was holding a baby. But she was not. Her arms were empty.

On a cold morning a cyclist finds the brutally slaughtered body of a woman in her car, on a remote lane leading to the long-abandoned Irish village of Kelly’s Forge.

But when Detective Finnegan Beck arrives from the nearby town of Cross Beg to investigate he notices there’s a baby’s seat in the back of the car. A bottle of baby’s milk lying in the footwell. And no child.

Little Róisín isn’t the first child to go missing from that same remote location though. There was another baby girl, taken more than fifty years before, who was never found. Has too much time passed for there to be a connection, or does something – or someone – link these two crimes?

Beck claims he does not want to stay in Cross Beg. His heart is back in Dublin, with the woman he loves. But, knowing that a child’s life depends on him changes things. He knows he has to find the missing baby girl. Because if he doesn’t, he fears there’s a chance everyone will give up the baby for dead, just like they did before…

Huge thank you to Michael and Bookouture for my advance copy of this book!

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