Every Trick In The Book by Iain Hood @renardpress #blogtour @iain_hood #EveryTrickInTheBook

Who do you trust?

Book blurb

There’s only control, control of ourselves and others. And you have to decide what part you play in that control.

Cast your eye over the comfortable north London home of a family of high ideals, radical politics and compassionate feelings. Julia, Paul and their two daughters, Olivia and Sophie, look to a better society, one they can effect through ORGAN:EYES, the campaigning group they fundraise for and march with, supporting various good causes.

But is it all too good to be true? When the surface has been scratched and Paul’s identity comes under the scrutiny of the press, a journey into the heart of the family begins. Who are these characters really? Are any of them the ‘real’ them at all? Every Trick in the Book is a genre-deconstructing novel that explodes the police procedural and undercover-cop story with nouveau romanish glee. Hood overturns the stone of our surveillance society to show what really lies beneath.


It’s my turn on this terrific blog tour for Every Trick in the Book by Iain Hood. My thanks to Will at Renard Press for the invitation to join in and I am thrilled to be able to share an extract of Every Trick in the Book with you today.

EXTRACT: Every Trick in the Book

1.9 – 1.11

Clean, fine. Beard, fine. Authority. Anything else, then it just seems to him, this man, that then the police officer has no authority…

The fifteen-year-old daughter sounds exasperated and asks the man what he’s talking about. She says that he’s obsessed sometimes. He replies that, well, you’ve got to know what side you’re on. Who the enemy is. He’s just saying, in transition… She says she was talking about particles. And the man says something along the lines of, if we are catching it correctly, that well, yeah, at a subatomic level, they say, don’t they, that we’re only approximations of ourselves.

The fifteen-year-old daughter expresses both exasperation and thoughtfulness in a pause and tells him that, yes, that sounds about right.

The father leans forward and shows his daughter a card trick, but she’s not that impressed, questions what tricks are, anyway. She gathers herself together, saying she’s ready to go to bed, turns and walks to the stairs, trailing a blanket behind her.

The house cools down. The mother wakens in her younger daughter’s bed and makes her way downstairs to where the father is asleep in their bed. Then you can hear the older daugh- ter tiptoeing through to the younger daughter’s bedroom, and there’s the sound of their voices, talking into the night.


On a Tuesday this man, the father, has nothing to do in the afternoon and wanders away from the café where he was having lunch, not far along Upper Street and up a cul de sac and into a pub. It’s his usual routine when he isn’t meeting her, the mother, his wife, to walk home. This happens about once a week. He opens the door into the pub and looks surprised at the number of people for a Tuesday, for two o’clock in the afternoon. He scans the room. Two men and two women at a table finishing off a pub meal; a group of three men at the bar, all quietly staring at their mobile phones; a group of five men, site workers, apparently finished for the day, down the end of the bar, laughing uproariously; the young woman sitting by herself over by the window, a flash of blonde hair and scarlet lipstick, one glass; a group of women, one, two, three… six of them around a table near the back room, talking. He scans back, the women, the woman, the laughers, the quiet ones, the two couples. Then he sees the woman by the window is smiling at him. He looks away and moves up to the bar between the two groups of men and orders a beer, taking his time, checking his change. Then, as he turns to sit somewhere, he’s able to look past her again, and again she’s looking straight at him, smiling, and she lifts the glass of white wine to her lips. When he sits at a table near the door the couples are between them, finishing their lunch, last mouthfuls of wine, last gulps of coffee. The father and husband looks down at his mobile phone and scrolls down through the headlines of the Guardian, then scrolls through them again; then we see shadows move and he looks up. The couples are leaving, and behind them comes the young woman, heading for the bar with her wine glass in hand. He looks down to scroll through the Guardian one more time. There’s the smell of fresh cleanness and only a hint of perfume. As she passes, the young woman tilts her head to catch his attention. ‘Hi,’ she says.

‘Yeah, hi,’ he says. Then he looks down into his pint as he takes a mouthful. Immediately he takes another mouthful, looking around himself then down to his phone. When he looks up and around again the young woman is back sitting by the window, another glass of white wine on her table. She takes a drink, then another, then she stands and walks back over to the bar, and leans forward to say something to the barman, on tiptoe, her heels rising above her shoes, and her skirt riding up the back of her knees. He looks away, out of the window, at the laughers at the bar who have burst into another uproarious laugh and are shouting. He glances at the young woman as she turns and looks back down at his phone. Shadows change again. ‘Hi,’ she says.

The father, the husband, this man, looks up. ‘Hi,’ he says.

‘You’re Paul, aren’t you? Paul Dorian?’ she says.

‘Yes,’ he says. ‘And you’re… You’re… I’m really sorry, I don’t seem to remember… how we met.’

‘Can I sit down?’ she says.

‘Sit? I mean… Yes, of course,’ he says.

‘Thanks,’ she says, smiling, placing her glass of white wine in front of her.

This man, his name is Paul*, smiles back at her, watches as she takes a sip of wine. After a few moments he relaxes back into his chair and says, ‘Is it through work… I know you? You know me?’

‘What kind of work do you do?’ she asks.

‘So, not that, ha, hey?’ he says nervously. ‘Sorry, I didn’t catch your—’

‘No, I mean I was wondering what work you do,’ the young woman says.

‘Oh, right, um,’ Paul says, ‘I work for a charity. Homelessness.’

‘Anything else?’ she asks.

‘Oh, you think it might be… We might know each other through the other work I do?’ he says.

‘Maybe,’ she says, ‘you never know. I’d certainly like to hear about it.’

‘You would?’ he laughs. ‘You’d be about the only one.’

‘Really? You think so?’ she says. ‘I’d say your other work is far more interesting, wouldn’t you?’

Paul has been about to take a mouthful of his pint, smiling, watching her red lips. Again, the smell of the lightest of light touches of perfume. The young woman flicks her hair and then settles a strand in place behind her left ear.

‘Don’t you think your other work would attract media attention?’ she says.

Paul hesitates. He sniffs and looks quizzical. Then he says, ‘The media? Sorry, what’s your… Do you know Stewart? It’s just we’re in such an early stage of… the project.’

The young woman is looking straight at Paul, almost staring straight into his eyes. He shifts in his chair. ‘Oh,’ she says, ‘that’s what you call it, is it? The project?’

‘I mean, I… Yeah. I mean, no. It just is a project. It’s not The Project, like that’s its name,’ Paul says. ‘Are you sure—’

‘No, not the project, I see,’ she says. She lifts her glass of wine to her lips but then seems to place it back on the table without having actually drunk any wine. ‘Or operation?’ she adds.

‘Are you…’ Paul looks lost. He hesitates again, lifts his pint to his mouth and throws beer to the back of his throat. ‘I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing.’

‘Oh?’ the young woman says, casual as you like. She looks him up and down. ‘Maybe not. But you are Paul Dorian?’

Paul smiles as he holds his pint glass in mid-air, yet again frozen in the moment. ‘So, you’ve heard about the label?’ he says.
‘Label?’ she says.
‘Well, yeah, the People’s Republic of Rock and Roll,’ he says. ‘I mean, that’s your interest, right? You know I’m involved in the setting-up of a record label? For… blues music. You knew that?’

‘That’s your other work?’ the young woman says.

‘Yeah. I mean, what else…?’ Paul says.

She sits back in her chair. Something has changed in her, the look of her. Paul looks up and out of the window. It has begun to drizzle out in the street. The smell of her can’t any longer hide the smell of a stale pub on a drizzly afternoon, the sickening hoppy sweetness of his beer gone warm, her wine a vinegary wersh. He drops his head and his eyebrows lower. His shoulders hunch and he stares at his phone. ‘I’m sure now,’ he says, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

‘I think you do,’ she says.

‘Who are you from? What media? Who are you? What’s your name?’ he says.

‘I’m working freelance on this,’ she says. ‘But I’ll probably try for the Independent or the Guardian. Those are the ones that have been taking an interest. Maybe the Telegraph. Come on, you knew this was coming, surely, after Mark?’

‘How did you get to me?’ Paul says.

‘Well, now,’ she says, ‘that would be telling. That is telling.’

‘You’ve got the wrong information,’ he says. Then he looks
around himself. ‘I don’t know what you think—’

She throws her hair back. ‘We can play games if you want. Or not. I know what I just saw in your face. It tells me I’m sitting with a man who is in the police—’

‘Slow down, for Christ’s sake,’ Paul says.

‘You’re really rattled,’ the young woman says. She looks surprised at her ability to do this to him, and she’s smiling, her eyebrows raised.

‘Just… give me time to think,’ this charity worker, this husband, this father, this man called Paul says.

‘Sure. Here, take this,’ she says, and she fumbles and pulls a scrap of paper with numbers on it from the inside pocket of her coat. ‘And if you’re thinking how you’re going to explain everything to me…’ She dips in and pulls her hand from her pocket again and her hand is on the table then gone, back in her pocket. And there’s an Olympus digital voice recorder sitting on the table, but it has materialised and sits still as though it had nothing to do with her hand. It was a neat trick, an impressive sleight of hand all round.

‘Not here,’ Paul hisses. ‘Jesus.’

‘I don’t mind where,’ she says, reaching to switch on the voice recorder between them. ‘Do you want to tell me about the woman? And about your own wife?’ she says.

‘My case isn’t like the others, the other one,’ Paul says. ‘You’ve got this all wrong.’

‘Oh? How?’ the young woman says.

‘There is no wife. I mean, there is a wife,’ he says, ‘but that’s the woman I live with. She is actually my wife… I mean, the other’s just… My wife and me, we’ve been together for twenty- odd years… You have to understand. We have children. You have to understand. Nothing you think you know is… correct. And you’re going to have to leave us alone.’

‘Or else?’ she says. For a moment what Paul appears to be doing is looking from his phone to his pint, to the door and scanning the room. He twitches.

‘That makes it worse. This all… the wife, the kids… all makes it worse,’ the young woman says.

[‘Look, I tried…’ Paul says. Then he is up and, ‘Actually, no. I have nothing to say to you,’ he says. Then her wine tips towards her and she grabs for the glass as he lightly shoves the table and, before you know it, he’s disappeared out of the door.]

Now we see Paul outside his daughter’s school, [redacted redacted], waiting to collect his eldest and walk to the other school, [redacted redacted redacted], to pick up his younger daughter. When she sees him, she says, ‘You know you can pick her up first.’ She means her younger sister.

‘Am I embarrassing you?’ Paul says.

‘I don’t care about that,’ she says.

‘It’s on the way to pick up Soph,’ Paul says. (Her name is
Sophie.* Soph to him. Very emphatically Sophie to everyone else.)

‘You’ve got that look on your face,’ his daughter says as they
begin to walk along.

*Characters’ first names in this book have been changed from their actual character names to protect the identities of these characters in this book.

2nd thoughts

Well now isn’t that an intriguing storyline? What do you think? Why not leave a comment and let me know?

I would also like to thank @RenardPress for an ARC copy of Every Trick in the Book by Iain Hood even though I’ve simply, but delighted to have, brought this fabulous extract for today’s slot on the BlogTour. You know what that means, yes, I’ll be bringing my thoughts on the book in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, like to know more? Then why not follow this amazing BlogTour?



Published: Renard Press -14TH SEPTEMBER 2022 | Paperback • 224pp • £10 | ISBN: 978-1-913724-92-4

Iain Hood courtesy of Renard Press

Author: Iain Hood was born in Glasgow and grew up in the seaside town of Ayr. He attended the University of Glasgow and Jordanhill College, and later worked in education in Glasgow and the west country. He attended the University of Manchester after moving to Cambridge, where he continues to live with his wife and daughter. His first novel, This Good Book, was published in 2021.

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2 Comments on “Every Trick In The Book by Iain Hood @renardpress #blogtour @iain_hood #EveryTrickInTheBook

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