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The Servants

by Michael Marshall Smith

For young Mark, the world has turned as bleak and gray as the Brighton winter. Separated from his real father and home in London, he's come to live with his mother and her new husband in an old house near the sea. He spends his days alone, trying to master the skateboard, while other boys his age are in school. He hates the unwanted stepfather who barged into Mark's life to rob him of joy. Worst of all, his once-vibrant mother has grown listless and weary, no longer interested in anything beyond her sitting room. But on a damp and chilly evening, an accident carries Mark into the basement flat of the old woman who lives at the bottom of his stepfather's house. She offers tea, cakes, and sympathy . . . and the key to a secret, bygone world. Mark becomes caught up in the frenetic bustle of the human machinery that once ran a home, and drawn ever deeper into a lost realm of spirits and memory. Here below the suffocating truths, beneath the pain and unhappiness, he finds an escape, and quite possibly a way to change everything. A richly evocative, poignantly beautiful modern-day ghost story, The Servants marks the triumphant return of Michael Marshall Smith--the first novel in a decade from the multiple award-winning author of Spares.

Spares

by Michael Marshall Smith

Suppose for a moment you're Jack Randall. You're a loner, an ex-cop, the dangerous veteran of a savage war. All you've held dear has long ago been destroyed. For the last five years you've been hiding out on a spares farm, working at the only job that will still have you: guarding people who have never seen the outside world and can't even spell the word "escape. " In short, your luck has run out. You might think things couldn't get any worse. You'd be wrong. Because Jack Randall has a talent for attracting trouble: the kind most people run screaming from. But Jack Randall is not most people. That's part of his trouble. Now he's on the run with seven of the Farm's inmates (well, six and a half), and the people who own them will do anything to get them back. All Jack wants to do is score enough money to disappear with his human contraband. But things aren't as simple as that. For Jack Randall, they never are. Jack is on a head-on collision course with the man responsible for all this misery--a cold-blooded killer with one purpose: to cancel Jack once and for all. Now Jack has a decision to make: keep running or even the score? Either way spells more trouble. And when the ghosts of the past meet the terrors of the future, the result for Jack will be one hell of a scary ride. Who are the spares? And what is their purpose? That is the most shocking revelation of all.

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