Shelf Life by Rob Gregson: Exclusive Excerpt

Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour for Shelf Life!


About the Book:

Young bookseller Cathy Finn is having a bad day. First, there’s the assassin’s bullet. Then comes the realisation that she’s been living in a work of fiction. Worse, she wasn’t even the main character.

Cathy’s quiet, bit-part life may be over, but her troubles are only beginning. Her last day on Earth is also her first as a citizen of New Tybet. For over four hundred years, its people have been rescuing those destined to die in other narratives, but now the system is faltering. A saboteur is at work and Cathy will have to stop him if she’s ever going to find a way home. Failure could maroon her forever and spark a revolution that sets all the worlds of literature ablaze.


Exclusive Excerpt

The longer Finn drove, the more she felt a strangeness settling. The city had a sullen cast. The moments passed, close and weighted, like the quiet, bated minutes before a storm.

Movements in doorways, the cars that drew up alongside her – everything appeared differently now, though it wasn’t a transformation any camera would detect. It was she who was altered. Her world was impressing itself upon her in the age-old language of the hunt and, within her, some ancient survival instinct was responding.

Brake lights flared, snaking back through the dark and drizzle of the early evening. Checking her mirrors, she clasped the wheel tight – angry at being forced to leave like this; angrier still at how the experience was shaping her.

Outside, the world of the everyday rolled to a halt, all fancy falling away. Streets looked hard; the parks and the riverbanks unwelcoming. They offered no comfort now. The sentiments she’d attached to them were hers, not theirs; no more lasting or reciprocated than tattered poems pinned to the bark of a tree. The gingham-striped lawns wouldn’t miss her. Shops would still trade, rocks would still grow smooth in the river. Her little exodus would go unnoticed.

Ahead, the stabbing reds dulled, distancing themselves as the line of vehicles moved on.

She glanced at her fuel gauge and saw the needle drooping to the quarter mark. What remained would take her well clear of the city. That would do. There would be plenty of opportunities to fill up somewhere on her long drive north.

Normality: that was all she wanted. Living like this felt surreal; somehow ridiculous. Gangland killings and criminal investigations were the province of dark-browed action heroes, not a woman like her. She ran a bookshop. She listened to You and Yours on Radio 4. She had a goldfish. Everything she owned and enjoyed declared her rightful place amongst the ordinary. Even now, in the midst of her flight, a pair of old running shoes sat in the footwell behind her, muddy and loosely wrapped in an Asda bag-for-life.

But normality had become elusive. Fear and unreality had suddenly intruded into her life, and all just because she’d chosen the wrong seat by a café window. Those few short seconds had been enough to overturn everything.

Yesterday had seemed endless but, in the early evening, an earnest-looking detective inspector had recommended she take herself far away for a while. His presence, his very title had seemed absurd – like something that belonged on the other side of a television screen – but still she’d taken it for sound advice.

So here she was, just twenty-four hours later, fleeing organised criminals in a green Fiat Panda; abandoning her flat, her friends, and her business in exchange for a period of safe anonymity somewhere in the Pentland Hills.

Book Details:

Print Length: 338 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition (
Publication Date: July 17, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Genre(s): Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Literary Mashup, Parallel Worlds, Comedy

Order Links:

Mirror World Publishing

Amazon US

Amazon CA

Barnes and Noble


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Meet the Author:

Rob Gregson spent much of his youth reading fantasy novels, immersing himself in role playing games and generally doing everything possible to avoid the real world. In his defence, we’re talking about the late 1980s – a time when ridiculous hair, hateful pop music and soaring unemployment were all very popular – so it wasn’t altogether a bad decision. However, had he abandoned the realms of wizardry at an earlier age, he might have developed one or two useful life skills and he would almost certainly have found it easier to get a girlfriend. Rob lives in Lancashire and has two children, although he has absolutely no idea why anyone should find that interesting.

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