KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE … and your enemies closer by June Taylor. Exclusive Extract

In our interview with June Taylor earlier this week, we promised you an extract from her new psychological thriller, set in Leeds. Well here it is!

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE has been described as “an addictive and shocking psychological thriller.” It is published by HarperCollins Killer Reads and is out in eBook on 26th October and in paperback on 10th January. It is available to pre-order on Amazon and is currently  on offer for a short time at only 99p!

The Friday night queues out of Leeds had died down, although there was still a weekend frenzy about the way cars jerked and swerved across the baking tarmac. It was 7.15, the evening warm and sultry. Even the buildings looked too hot, the bricks of the older ones as well as the glassier newer ones straining to stand up tall.

Crossing the city always prompted memories of when she had first arrived here. Back then all she was interested in was huddling in shop doorways and under bridges down by the canal or the River Aire. That secret part of her life, which Aaron hadn’t known anything about. Not at first. He was under the impression that Karin had answered an advert for a room to rent. Mel had preserved her secret, thankfully, knowing how ashamed Karin was about this aspect of her life. But in the end, Karin had told Aaron herself because there were so many other things she would never be able to share with him and this was one thing she could.

He didn’t even know about Louie.

Karin shifted in the passenger seat as her temperature began to rise. Yet at the same time a chill dug into her skin as the rawness of that winter, after she had run away, returned. A pop-up tent and warm sleeping bag were all that she had wished for on a daily basis. That or some money for a hostel. Apart from her phone, the bundle of letters and the clothes she was wearing, her only possessions had been a hairbrush and a worn-out toothbrush. Karin had left in a hurry, not wanting to make it look like she was leaving at all.

Afraid to go. Afraid of what might happen if she stayed.


If Mel had chosen to walk by that night after tripping over her outstretched legs, as she sat in her usual spot under the damp stone ceiling of the Dark Arches, Karin might not even be here now. She knew she looked and smelt like rotting garbage, a stinking heap cluttering up the pavement, yet something in Mel had made her stop. She had bent down to ask her name, wrapped a scarf around her neck and given her gloves to put over her freezing fingers, white and numb at the ends. Then she began asking questions: Why was Karin in such a state? How had it come to this?

Some people bothered to do that.

When Mel reached her limit, Karin watched her go, calling, ‘You have a nice night.’ That’s what happened: she was used to it. So twenty minutes later, to see her returning with piping hot coffee and a cheeseburger, seemed like a miracle. Mel also gave her money for a hostel, making Karin promise that she would be sure to find one. Karin didn’t let on that it was too late for that night, but she did use the money for the following one.

‘Is this where I can find you?’ she enquired before abandoning her to the cold again. Karin remembered that question had made her laugh, sitting in this gloomy Victorian tunnel under the railway station, full of shadows, and thunderous noises from above.

‘Yes, this is my current address,’ she replied. ‘The Dark Arches, Leeds.’

About the author

June Taylor is a UK psychological thriller writer. For many years she was a TV promos writer/producer before turning to writing plays and fiction. She was runner-up in the 2011 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition with her YA novel. Her debut Adult psychological thriller Losing Juliet was nominated for the Not the Booker Prize 2017.

June is active in her local writing scene, including serving on the Board of Script Yorkshire and taking part in the Leeds Big Bookend. When she’s not writing she likes to shrink her life down into a camper van and take off on some adventure with her husband. She lives in Leeds.

You can also find June at her website. On Twitter and Facebook and occasionally on Instagram too.

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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