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Four disparate characters find themselves linked together in Paradise City. Howard Pink is a wildly successful businessman still struggling to cope fifteen years after his nineteen-year-old daughter disappeared. Beatrice Kizza fled persecution from Uganda where homosexuality is illegal. She now works as a maid at a hotel Howard frequents. Esme Reade, an ambitious staff reporter on a Sunday tabloid, is desperate to get the Howard Pink interview for which all London reporters froth at the mouths. Carol Hetherington, a widow who has time to keep an eye on her neighbors' actions, makes an astonishing discovery.
Paradise City explores what a city means to those who come seeking their fortune or a better life. It is also a story of absence and loss, of how we shape ourselves around the spaces that people leave behind.
receptionist, the way her make-up acted both as deterrent and encouragement. He loved the apples in glass bowls, although he had eaten one once and been disappointed by its mustiness, the slight furry staleness that he can taste – even now – on the back of his tongue. He loved the furtive glances across lobby armchairs, the reassurance of anonymity, the cocoon of safety offered by the standardised semi-luxury of faux leather and freshly spritzed white orchids in pots. He loved the illicit
continues to protect his profit margin. He has been good to her too. Beatrice isn’t stupid. She knows he didn’t have to give her this job, that he was taking a risk by doing so. He could have pulled strings to have her deported, she is sure of it. Or he could have refused to meet her and, when she had gone to the press, he could simply have denied everything. Beatrice knows she probably wouldn’t have stood a chance against the full might of his legal team, even though she had kept the black
The door handle light winks green. He enters. His luggage is already there, on the rack by the television. The inner curtains are half-drawn, the white net giving the room a drowsy, shadowed feel. The flat-screen television is set to a personalised welcome message. Two glass bottles of mineral water stand on the capacious desk. The mirrors are all discreetly tilted and lit in a way that makes him look at least ten pounds lighter. He knows, without having to open it, that the minibar will contain
all the others. Sober, he was a brilliant news editor: dogged but instinctive and blessed with a peculiar ability to inspire loyalty despite his personal failings. You genuinely wanted Dave to say something you did was good. In his day, he’d been a solid but unexceptional reporter on the Express and covered the first Iraq War. But it was editing that brought the best out of him, that played to his sense of mischief and his mistrust of authority. Esme sighs. She has a bit of a crush on Dave,
go through anorexia,’ Esme says, seizing on the chance to get the interview back on track. It’s a clumsy way to do it but she’s running out of time. Howard stares at her. He places the plate of biscuits back on the coffee tray without taking one. When he looks at her again, he seems to have made some kind of deal with himself, he seems to have decided to trust her. ‘Yeah,’ he says. ‘Ada struggled with loads of stuff.’ A pause. Outside, the tinny whine of an ambulance siren. Howard shifts in