Exclusive extract from new thriller ‘Her Name was Rose’

Local author, Brian McGilloway, pictured with Clare Allan at the launch of her latest novel, "Her Name Was Rose" in the Central Library this week. Brian was the guest speaker at the event.
Local author, Brian McGilloway, pictured with Clare Allan at the launch of her latest novel, "Her Name Was Rose" in the Central Library this week. Brian was the guest speaker at the event.

A man was arrested in relation to Rose Grahame’s death two weeks after I started work at

Scott’s Dental. I say a man, but he was more of a boy. Nineteen years old. A “frequent flyer”

at the local Magistrates’ Court, according to the prosecutor who oversaw his first appearance.

Charged with a host of offences – including Aggravated Vehicle Taking and Failing to Stop

and Report an Accident – Kevin McDaid wore a greying shirt with a black tie; probably the

only tie he owned, bought for funerals, along with a cheap suit as he stood in the dock.

The

pictures in the local media showed him trying to hide his face as he was led in handcuffs

from the court building to the waiting police van. Remanded in custody. Bail denied. A

young lad who had a penchant for stealing cars, driving them too fast and leaving them

abandoned somewhere. He’d never offended on this level before, his solicitor said. “Racked

with guilt, my client has been unable to sleep and has turned once again to alcohol and

drugs.”

He had “simply panicked” when he hit Rose – and had driven on in that state of panic.

He knew there were people around who could help Rose. He didn’t think he’d hurt her. Not

really. Not enough to kill her.

It probably made me a bad person that I sagged with relief at the news. He was

admitting it. It had been an accident. I had overreacted thinking it was anything more sinister

than that. Maud had been right. Things had been crazy with Ben. That he had got in touch

again so close to Rose’s death was nothing more than a coincidence.

Kevin McDaid “wouldn’t trouble the court”, McDaid’s solicitor had said, indicating

his client would be pleading guilty to all charges. It should have made things easier. Possibly

even make us feel some compassion of sorts for Kevin McDaid. Kevin McDaid, who hadn’t

even shaved before his court appearance – if the pictures were anything to go by. His stubble,

unlike Cian’s, was the kind that was borne out of laziness and not any kind of a style

statement.

Although there was a trace of utter wretchedness about him, in the way he walked, the

scuffed trainers on his feet, the panicked look on his face – I couldn’t bring myself to feel

sorry for him. Even though I, of all people, knew that people could mess things up.

He was 19. Even if he got a heavy sentence, he would still be out and walking the

streets in his early thirties. He would still have all the years Rose didn’t have.

The news of the arrest and of the court appearance saw a dip in mood at Scott’s. It

made me a feel a little guilty that it had brought me a sense of relief I hadn’t felt in weeks. At

least I didn’t have to sneak around trying to see what was happening; everyone in Scott’s was

talking about it. Everyone, naturally enough, was obsessed by it. Even Owen took time out

from a patient to watch the lunchtime news report, and to shake his head when Kevin

McDaid appeared on screen.

“Isn’t he one of ours”, Tori had asked, and a room of horrified faces turned to look at

her.

“I think he’s one of our patients – or was. There’s something about him?”

Donna had gone to the office, to check our records, and came back a few minutes

later, ashen-faced. “Was a patient here before. Lapsed now. Was here as a child – hasn’t been

since he was sixteen.”

Owen walked out of the room, slamming the door so strongly behind him that tea

from a cup that had been sitting beside me shook and spilled onto the table. For the rest of the

day, he went about his work saying only what he needed to and no more. The rest of us

walked on egg shells around him, all the while lost in our own thoughts about how the foolish

actions of a nineteen-year-old could change the lives of so many.