Today I have the privilege to host DAY 4 of the Excerpt Tour from the debut novel Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit. This book has taken Germany by storm and now its set sweep the UK. On top of this, the publishers have a giveaway to win a copy of the book, along with a hamper of German Sweets and Chocolates. Further details on how to enter this competition are just after the excerpt.
EXCERPT – DAY 4
My father was wearing a checked jacket, grey cloth trousers and comfortable shoes of the kind that provide a firm and secure footing. I think he wanted to look respectable when he was arrested—not like a thug who had stumbled into a crime, but like a mature man who had thought through what he had done. A man who had, what is more, done the right thing, even if others might not see it that way.
When we said hello we were, as so often, uncertain whether to shake hands or hug. My father held out his right hand, hesitantly, and I was about to take it but changed my mind, and at the same time my father changed his mind too, and we withdrew our hands and hugged each other in an almost disembodied embrace, without squeezing, without touching cheeks, looking hastily away when it was over. That was all we were capable of at the time. He came in and I made him an espresso while he unpacked homemade jam from his bag—cherry and quince. I wondered at the way my mother had taken even this opportunity to send us jars of the jam she produced so tirelessly, but that’s my mother for you. We sat at the kitchen table and I told him the latest about the children. That was a safe topic between us—we didn’t have many. In the evening we watched a football match: Bayern versus Bremen. We drank half a bottle of red wine and then went to bed. We didn’t mention Dieter Tiberius.
The next day my father sat on the sofa reading Auto Motor and Sport. As always when he came to visit, he had brought a pile of magazines with him. He could make them last all day; I think he reads every article. Before I go to see him now, I buy up half a newsagent’s, mainly magazines about cars and guns, but also political magazines. My father is very interested in politics. Maybe they’re not such unhappy hours for him, sitting in his cell reading, with no one to disturb him and no need to feel guilty about frittering away time that others would have liked to spend with him—his wife, for example, and, once upon a time, his children.
That day, the second day of his visit, nothing happened. Dieter Tiberius was lying low in the basement. I couldn’t hear him moving around, but his toilet was flushed now and again, so he must have been in. In fact, he was always in. Over supper that night my father told me about developments in cylinderhead technology, or maybe it was carburettor technology— I can’t remember—and then about new Israeli settlements on the West Bank. That took him far back into the history of the Middle East; my father likes reading history books. We drank the rest of the red wine, and then, when it was nearly midnight and my father had said all he had to say on the subject of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, we went to bed. I was surprised. What was he waiting for? We hadn’t talked anything over, but it was perfectly clear why he was here. Our family had come to a tacit understanding. Surely I couldn’t be mistaken?
The next morning I got up early and went out in the garden. It hadn’t rained for a few days and I put the sprinkler on, making water rain down on the grass, flowerbeds and shrubs. I think I was hoping to hear a shot, so that it would be over at last, but I heard only the birds and the occasional rumbling of a car on the cobblestones. I walked round the outside of the house, passing the basement windows. There are four altogether: on the left, Dieter Tiberius had his bedroom, in the middle was the kitchen, and on the right, the living room, which had two windows, one at the front of the house and one at the side. The windows are small and low, just above the ground. Dieter Tiberius lived in gloom. I didn’t see him on my way round; I would have had to stoop, which I didn’t, of course. Maybe he saw my feet; I don’t know. At that point he had about ten minutes to live.
When I got back to our flat, my father was sitting at the kitchen table. In front of him lay a pistol—a Walther PPK, calibre 7.65 mm Browning, but I only learnt that later, from the indictment. The prosecutor was keen to demonstrate his own knowledge of firearms—knowledge that, despite having the father I had, I didn’t possess. I knew nothing about pistols and had no desire to.
I asked my father whether he wanted an espresso, and he did. I had switched on the machine, a beautiful Domita from Italy, soon after getting out of bed, to give it time to warm up. I unscrewed the filter holder and swapped the small filter for the big one, because I wanted an espresso too. Then I pushed the filter holder against the mill, setting it grinding and roaring. The ground coffee trickled into the filter until it was full to the brim. I took the tamper—heavy-duty metal with a rosewood handle—and pressed the coffee firm. I screwed the filter holder into the machine, placed two cups under the spouts and pressed the start button. The machine growled and the coffee ran brown and oily into the cups—always a glorious sight. You and your espresso fetish, my wife says, sometimes mockingly. People like me have to make a fetish out of everything, which doesn’t just get on other people’s nerves—it gets on mine too. We sipped our coffee in silence, the pistol on the table like a metal question mark. Should we really?
Do check out the other stops on the blog tour and if this has got you intrigued, then the publisher is running a competition on Twitter. All you have to do is follow @orion_crime and Tweet them using the hashtag #GrippedbyFear, tweet a time that you were “Gripped by Fear“. They will pick a winner on Monday 29th January (UK Only). Good Luck!
YOU’D DIE FOR YOUR FAMILY.
BUT WOULD YOU KILL FOR THEM?
Family is everything.
So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.
You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them.
ABOUT DIRK KURBJUWEIT
Dirk Kurbjuweit is deputy editor-in-chief at Der Spiegel, where he has worked since 1999, and divides his time between Berlin and Hamburg. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for journalism, and is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels, many of which, including Fear, have been adapted for film, television and radio in Germany. Fear is the first of his works to be translated into English.