Sixty Minutes

Five different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.
Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.
Who are the heroes and who are the villains?
Tony Salter's latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.
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He’d deliberately chosen something easy to read – the final part of a Scandi-noir trilogy which had been his guilty pleasure since the release of the first volume. The writing was actually quite good and the plot and characters were compelling. Not an “improving” example of the literary art, perhaps, but Dan was finally starting to realise that the knee jerk worship of quality, literary novels might be an overrated pretension in any case. Anyway, if he wasn’t improved enough by now …
The book was compelling and long-awaited but, despite that, the words refused to stay in one place. He pulled his glasses further down his nose and squinted without success; he must have looked like a demented gargoyle as he desperately tried to follow the letters around the page and he could feel the niggling approach of an incoming headache.
It wasn’t going to work.
Dan sighed theatrically, closed his eyes and rested the open book on his lap. He knew that trying to concentrate for long was hopelessly optimistic. The thoughts running around his head wouldn’t be silenced – how could they be?
He thought about Rachel. She would have that big, optimistic smile on her face as she explored Harrods, floor by floor, room by room. She’d been so relieved when he’d offered to come here and read his book while she shopped alone. It was her first visit, and she was loving everything about London. Harrods would be a highlight and, although she would never have said anything, he was sure she’d been dreading him spoiling it for her.
They’d been married almost fifty years and together for even longer. He tried to remember a single time when they’d enjoyed a shopping trip together. He suspected they never had. It was that whole Mars-Venus thing. He didn’t want or need many things and, when he did, he went straight to the correct counter and bought them. What was the point in shilly-shallying around?
Rachel would go into the store with a purpose too but, for her, the whole in-out, bish-bosh, brushing hands of a simple, clean transaction was too crude and clumsy – a bit like sleeping with someone on the first night. Whatever kids today might think and do, Rachel would no more have considered that than she would have slapped a child or cursed in public.
For her, department store shopping was a courtship of sorts, a gentle and measured dance with defined pace and rhythm. There was usually no wavering from her final goal – she was a deeply practical woman – but she would pretend to be distracted at each step along the way. Trying a Kashmir sweater for size, allowing the make-up girls to tempt her with coral lipstick or French perfume, it was always the same and, if he was stupid enough to accompany her, he wouldn’t be able to ignore his frustration at the pointlessness of it all.
It was the same every time and, without fail, he would sense his reserves of patience draining away like oil from a cracked sump.
And then, in a graunching of seized gears and pistons, he would ruin it for her; he would drown out the inner music of her dance and shatter her illusions in a screech of tortured metal. He didn’t mean to, but something would always come out, some slightly sarcastic, vaguely patronising, marginally misogynistic comment that would inevitably lead to them both swearing to never go shopping together ever again.
As he sat on the hard bench, unable to read and dizzy from the spinning in his head, he sensed her absence like a missing limb. It was only a couple of hours though and he was very pleased he’d left her to shop alone this time. It had taken him fifty years, but he was learning at last.

Perhaps he should have made his confessions already, but there was still plenty of time and the picture of her marvelling at the extravagance of Harrods’ food hall put a smile back on his face. Yes, there was still plenty of time.
Author Bio
Tony's latest thriller, Sixty Minutes, was released on 29th August 2019. Tony is the author of bestselling psychological thriller, Best Eaten Cold. He writes pacy contemporary thrillers which explore different themes, but all share Tony's thought-provoking plots and richly-painted characters. Sixty Minutes is his fourth novel. His second novel, The Old Orchard - a gripping family thriller - was published on the 7th of November 2017 and the sequel to Best Eaten Cold, - Cold Intent - was published in November 2018. Highlights of his early career include (in no particular order) three years as an oilfield engineer in the Egyptian desert, twelve years managing record companies for EMI Music in Greece, India and across Eastern Europe, running a caravan site in the South of France and being chauffeur to the French Consul in Sydney. Having survived the Dotcom boom, he went on to be a founder of the world's largest website for expatriates, a major music publisher and a successful hotel technology business. In amongst this, Tony found the time to backpack around the world twice (once in his twenties and once in his fifties), learn six languages (including Norwegian and Greek) and to find a beautiful Norwegian wife. He now lives in Oxfordshire and writes full-time. He has recently turned sixty and is married with three children and five grandchildren. You can find out more about Tony at

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