Hi welcome to My blog If In Doubt ReaD today I’m taking part in the #BlogTour for #TheRedBeachHut and will be sharing an extract with you. Don’t forget to check out all the other fantastic blogs taking part over the course of the tour 😊


“Their eyes met and locked. Pulling his hand from his pocket, Neville waved. Once.”

Eight year old Neville is the first to notice that the red beach hut is occupied again.

Abbott, panicked by what he believes is a homophobic cyber attack, is on the run. The hut is his refuge and shelter.

Inevitably man and boy collide. Their fleeting friendship is poignant, honest and healing. But Abbot’s past threatens to tear him away, as others watch and self-interpret what they see.

An evocative portrayal of two outsiders who find companionship on a lonely beach, Lynn Michell’s novel is about the labels we give people who are different, and the harm that ensues.


He watched her sigh through the familiar preparations in her tight leggings and tiny sequin top. Her face was an apricot colour, not bare, freckled skin like usual. And sooty eyes with the big black eyelashes she stuck on with a squeeze of glue.

A pretty clown. Maybe she does tricks like those women in the circus she’d taken him to. Tricks and acrobatics. She can’t swing from a trapeze though. Or fly through the air. Or jump through hoops that flare with orange fire. Not much room to do anything in this flat.<<
r high heels were ready by the bed. Now she was poking silver hoop earrings through the holes in her ears.

‘Sorry. Wrong order.’ Neville sighed. ‘I did the right one first.’

‘OK, do them again in the right order. But hurry up! I have to start work soon.’

‘There’s no-one here yet.’

‘Any minute.’

‘A man?’

‘Yup. Same as always.’

‘Which one?’

‘For heavens’ sake, son! You don’t know any of them. They’re just men who come and spend some time with me. Then they pay me.’

‘Which man today?’

‘It doesn’t matter.’

But it does. Once a man was unkind to you. Once a man shouted at you and made you cry. I heard through the wall because I was at home sick that day. I heard. Afterwards he came into my room and said things. I don’t want that man to come back.<<
ot the man who shouted…’

Oh no. I’ve let the words slip out because I was thinking about it. Sometimes it’s hard to know when I’m talking to myself inside my head and when I’m talking out loud. The man came into my room afterwards while she was in her room and said, Don’t you dare say a word or bad things will happen. To her and to you. He smelt bad.<<
hat are you talking about? What man?’


‘It can’t be nothing. What’s worrying you, son?’

‘The man who shouted.’

What’s all this about out of the blue? Yeah, blokes yell at me all the time, and worse, but it goes with the game. Shame the kid happened to be at home that day. I got the tosser out fast enough. Not one of my regulars. An unpleasant bugger. Plastered.<<
e’ve talked about it, son. I told you that man won’t come back. It won’t happen again.’ Under the flatness of her voice he heard a tiny tremble. He heard a whisper of fear. She was breathing faster.

‘I don’t know that ’cause I’m not here. I’m far away on the beach. I was here that day ’cause I wasn’t well and couldn’t go for my walk.’

‘I know, son, I know. I’m very, very sorry that happened. It was bad luck you were here that evening.’

‘OK.’ He felt no reassurance.

‘Look, we’ll talk about it again if you want. Later.’

He blinked back tears that threatened to spill but managed to plough on with the questions which filled up the place where the hurt was lodged.

‘What do you do with the men?’

She sighed loudly. ‘You’ve asked me that so many times and I’ve told you so many times. I don’t do much. Keep them company and chat to them. Cheer them up a bit and send them away happy. OK?’

‘Why do you dress up first?’

She heard the delaying tactic. ’Cause they like women in fancy clothes. A bit different from normal. Bit of fun, like.’

He bent over his sandals again, his forehead as creased as a paper fan. ‘I’m ready.’

She came to him, bent and kissed his cheek. ‘You don’t mind, do you, going to the beach and playing by yourself for a while?’ She looked into his grey eyes until he answered.

‘Nope.’ It was honest.

‘It’s not for long, is it? Just ’til the clock on the pier says six-thirty. OK?’


‘It’s a nice evening. It will still be light by the time you come home. You can look in the pools. Count the crabs.’ She

knew she was inventing pleasures and making excuses but what other option was there? Best to put a cheerful gloss on what had to be.


She bent down again and hugged him. ‘You know I’d like to come with you but some evenings I can’t. I’m sorry, son.’

‘I already said. I don’t mind. I like the beach. I like the sea. I like to count things.’