book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Hidden by Roger A. Price (Review)

Happy weekend! Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Hidden by Roger A. Price which is out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. It’s also available as part of kindle unlimited. I was sent a copy of this book as part of the tour.

Vinnie is on holiday with his journalist girlfriend, Christine, when they witness an assault and are advised by local police to return home. As soon as they do, Vinnie is thrown in to a new case and has to deal with some questionable people – on both sides of the law and a blurry line between morality and legality.

Hidden is the third book in Roger’s The Badge and the Pen series, but can be read perfectly fine as a standalone and I didn’t feel like I got caught out by not knowing events from previous books.

The author starts off with action right off the bat, so I was immediately interested. From there on out, it just dives right in, no fluff. I was really tense throughout and when I thought I knew what the situation was, it went in a different direction. I had to know what would happen next – to use the cliche, it was a real page-turner for me and right up my alley. The author talks about human-trafficking and exploitation, not an easy subject and it all felt well researched and had the right level of shock-factor without over-dramatising so it felt pretty authentic. I felt strongly about getting justice and having the culprits of these horrible crimes get punished.

Hidden is a fantastic, well paced and tense crime thriller. If you like police procedurals that won’t let you put the book down, this one may be for you!

About the Book

Vinnie’s romantic holiday did not go as planned. There was an assault, his companion was threatened and the police asked them to leave.

And when Vinnie returns to his police job in Manchester, things don’t get much better, as he finds himself at the heart of an investigation that stretches from Manchester to all corners of Europe. Women are being trafficked into the UK and forced into prostitution, and while the police are diligent in their enquiries, they seem to have a rogue in their midst.

As events unravel, the lines between good and bad, police and criminals, seem to become more and more blurred… and the stakes for all involved are getting higher.

Hidden is Book 3 in Roger Price’s the badge and the pen series, but it can equally be read as a novel in its own right. Existing fans of Vinnie and Christine are bound to love it, but Hidden is also perfect for crime and police fiction lovers, and anybody who loves a fast-paced, gripping story.

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Setting – Val Penny (Guest Post)

Hey all, today, I am delighted to be on the tour for Hunters Force by Val Penny and I have a guest post for you! I’ve been on previous tours for the books prior to this if you want to check those posts out too and so I am chuffed to be hosting another guest post from the author. Thanks, Val!

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I am very excited because my third crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Force’ has been published by Crooked Cats Books and is easily available from Amazon.

The story is set in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. I think setting is very important to a novel and did consider creating an imaginary town for my story. However, I lived in Edinburgh for many years and know the city well. I definitely saw my main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, as a city policeman. Also, Edinburgh is a beautiful city and it is lovely to ‘research’ by walking around my favourite places!

Edinburgh has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is a fabulous city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. It is also home to The Edinburgh International Festivals, what more could I or my characters want?

When I chose Edinburgh as the setting for my first novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’, I thought about it carefully. it is a beautiful city of around half a million people. I wanted the place to be big enough to support the series of books the form The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, and I have no doubt that it fits the bill.

Hunter Wilson is divorced. He lives in a flat in Leith, an area to the north of the City and drinks in his local pub, the Persevere Bar and plays darts there.

The delegated parliament of Scotland, is where Hunter’s nemesis, Sir Peter Myerscough served as Justice Secretary. The Scottish Parliament has wide powers over how the people of Scotland are governed and meets in the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood district of the city.

Sir Peter Myerscough, has a fine home to the south in the Morningside district of Edinburgh. From his large house he has fine views across the Pentland Hills. The Pentland hills are situated just outside of Edinburgh. The reservoirs are picturesque and each hill is slightly different. If you are fit enough, you can visit the top of all of the hills in one day.
Another main character, Detective Constable Tim Myerscough is Sir Peter Myerscough’s son. He jogs through the unique park at The hermitage of Braid and his favourite pub is the Golf Tavern, off the Bruntsfield Links where, it is claimed, the oldest golf course in the world is situated.

Edinburgh is such a diverse and cultural city home to the National Art Galleries, beautiful parks and all kinds of people. It is the perfect place to situate my new novel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ and all the cases DI Hunter Wilson has to solve.

About The Book

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature:

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

DI Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son, Cameron. Who has murdered the young student who shares Cameron’s flat? Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?

Now that the united police force, Police Scotland exists, Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation. Hunter’s ability to investigate anything further is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks? 

Hunter’s team must work closely with MIT, with or without him, to solve the murder in this taught crime thriller. 

About The Author

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, follows shortly.

book reviews · Bookish

A Patient Man by S. Lynn Scott (Review)

It’s almost the weekend! How about something to cosy up with? (Darn you, sunshine, come back!) A Patient Man by S. Lynn Scott is out now in Kindle and Paperback editions. I’m pleased to be on the Random Things tour, bring you a review! I received a copy of this book as part of the tour.

Mikey is 8 years old and lives on Canvey Island, which isn’t really an island, according to him. What was meant to be just another summer was quite eventful for little Mikey when he decided to be nosey and stumbled across something entirely unexpected. The book is written from the perspective of Mikey in the future, looking back on the events of that summer.

The local neighbours won the lottery. Mikey was sure he saw them leave in the early hours of the morning and went to their house with his friend to see if they had left anything good behind. Instead of an empty house, they discovered their neighbour, Mr Freeman, tied up and his wife, Peggy had been kidnapped. Keen to play junior detective, Mikey had taken items from the crime scene and pocketed them.

From a problematic family and an area full of nosey curtain-twitchers, typical toerag Mikey enjoys all the attention that came from his discovery, until his mums friend, Vi decides to try and squeeze information out of him. He knows she’s bad news and he avoids her; even his mum has started to avoid her, so what is Vi’s agenda? Who kidnapped Peggy and tied up Mr Freeman? Eyes are all on Mikey’s father and troublesome brother, Gary but are they to blame?

It’s a well paced, tense and suspenseful coming of age story, knitted with a crime and a “whodunnit” with engaging writing and brilliantly written characters. I would definitely recommend “A Patient Man”.

About the Book

It is 1976 and Mikey, eight-years-old and street-wise beyond his years, is looking forward to a summer of freedom, roaming the creeks and the mud-flats of Canvey Island. But violent emotions are rumbling beneath the surface, about to destroy all that he thought he knew.

When Mikey’s neighbours, the Freemans, win a great deal of money, the old couple become the targets of a criminal act that leaves Peggy Freeman dead and her husband, Bert thirsting for revenge. Believing that young Mikey’s family is responsible, Bert devises a highly unusual but devastatingly effective form of reprisal. But where does the guilt really lie, and will there be punishment or redemption?

Told from Mikey’s viewpoint with light touches of humour, A Patient Man is a gripping crime novel peopled with believable characters who are drawn inexorably in to a story that explores the effects of greed, money and the human need for retribution.

Told from Mikey’s viewpoint with light touches of humour, A Patient Man is a gripping crime novel peopled with believable characters who are drawn inexorably in to a story that explores the effects of greed, money and the human need for retribution.

About the Author

S. Lynn Scott is the author of Elizabeth, William… and Me, described by reviewers as `hugely entertaining’ (Books Monthly). A Patient Man is her second novel and she is now working on her third, a modern-day fantasy. She has been involved in theatre all her life and lives in Leicestershire.

Bookish · Uncategorized

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon (Spotlight)

Today I am on a blog tour for Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon, out now in both Kindle and audiobook editions. Dig Two Graves is the first part of a four part series of Keith’s Solomon Gray character and you can find the other books here.


About The Book

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction. 

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark police suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

Dig Two Graves is the first in the Solomon Gray series. Pick it up now to discover whether Gray finds his son in this thrilling new crime series. 

Author Bio:  

Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally, he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business. Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England.

 Readers can connect with Keith on various social media platforms:

 Web: http://www.keithnixon.co.uk

Twitter: @knntom
Facebook: Keithnixonauthor
Blog: www.keithnixon.co.uk/blog


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Favourite Character to Write (Guest Post)

Today, I am really pleased to be bringing you a guest post from fellow Staffordshire county…human JF Burgess, author of The Killer Shadow Thieves which is available now in both Paperback and Kindle formats; it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited. You can read his post and find out more below!



Favourite character to write.

That’s got to be the protagonist, 45-year-old widowed detective Tom Blake, whose wife and 10-year-old son was tragically killed in a fatal hit and run car crash ten years ago. Tom was driving at the time and his daughter Isabel was also in the car, both miraculously escaped the accident with minor cuts and bruises – but he still suffers from emotional flashbacks and neck pain from whiplash caused by the accident. They never caught the joyrider who killed his family but he vows to bring the perpetrator to justice once day.

He’s an intuitive, firm but fair detective who hates sitting hunched over a computer and loves the thrill of the chase and adrenaline rush you can only get from this type of job. A bit of a perfectionist, who thrives on the uncertainty of each new case and the thrill of the hunt, which brings out the dark side of his personality when good triumphs over evil?

He’s a great leader, but also quite vulnerable at times, which makes him very likeable and real. And like all good detectives, he has to fight tooth and nail for every bit of ground gained against the criminal underworld.
I really enjoyed developing his character and watching him grow. I see a lot of myself in him which is only natural I suppose. Ultimately, I think readers will enjoy rooting for him whilst trying to work out who the murder really is?
Heather Eames at Book Jar Journeys reviews sums the reader character connection up when she says…
“The characters and their development throughout the novel are a definite highlight for me. As the story progressed, I was more drawn in and intrigued by what was going on. I also enjoyed (perhaps the wrong word) the family drama that was introduced and think that it made the characters more human, I was reading with my heart in my mouth when his daughter was kidnapped!”

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Blurb

Widowed detective DI Tom Blake sets off a chain of events that change his life forever, when the brutal murder of an alcoholic skinhead, and arrest of a vicious Turkish loan shark, unwittingly disrupts an international gang’s daring plans to steal the world-famous Staffordshire Hoard.

In a cruel twist of fate, Blake’s daughter is kidnapped and the trail propels the bereft detective on a personal quest to Miami to save her life. Operating outside the law, he enters into an illicit showdown with a mysterious artefacts Collector, almost costing him his life.

As the body count rises, Blake and his team struggle to unravel the conspiracy of a shadowy killer who leaves no trace. With only circumstantial evidence against each of the suspects, they hit a wall, until twenty-six-year-old photographs linking them to the murdered skinhead emerge. It seems the victim’s depraved past is the key to identifying the killer.

Can the police uncover the truth through all the lies and deception, and crack the case before someone else gets killed? And will they recover a legendary national treasure, worth millions, before it’s lost forever?

jfburgess

Author Bio

I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent and spent many years doing less than ideal jobs in and around the Potteries five towns, before finally taking the plunge and quitting work to follow my creative side. As a keen horse-racing fan, I started off in 2007 self-publishing betting how-to manuals.

This is my main business, but my real passion is for crime fiction, both reading and writing.

Inspired by authors such as Mel Sherratt, Peter James, Val McDermid, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, Martina Cole and Ian Rankin, and in need of a new challenge, I decided to try my hand at writing crime fiction.

After months of hard slog and sheer determination, I finished my first novel: The Killer Shadow Thieves. This is the first in a planned series of gritty crime fiction books set in Stoke on Trent, involving charismatic DI Tom Blake and his larger-than-life sidekick DS Jon Murphy.

The follow up, The Deadly Legacy, is a cult serial killer thriller, with a 200-year-old secret at the heart of a plot full of unexpected twists, which push the relationships of a rich pottery family into life-threatening conflicts.

I write tense, gripping, crime fiction mysteries with a twist – or urban crossbreed, as I call it. My thrillers take you deep inside the criminal mind.

I live with my wife and family in Stoke-on-Trent, England. You can find out more about me at www.jfburgess.co.uk, or on Twitter at @burgess1012.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Hard Return by Rosie Claverton (Review)

Hard Return BT Poster

Hey guys, today I’m bringing you a review as part of the blog tour for Hard Return by Rose Claverton which is available now in both Kindle and Paperback formats and is also available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

BLURB: 12 men locked in a compound.
12 men watching their every move.
1 man murdered.

When Jason’s friend Lewis is trapped in a secret prison compound with a murderer, Jason must go back behind bars – but Amy won’t let him go in alone. Hiding their intentions from both the convicts and their watchers, they work together to find justice for the murdered man while keeping their cover. As the danger mounts, Jason, Amy, and Lewis find there might be no escape for any of them – except in death.

Hard Return Cover Image

Hard Return is the fifth installment in Rosie Claverton’s Amy Lane Mysteries. I admittedly hadn’t heard of the author or this series prior to the invitation to the tour, but I now realise what a shame that was and look forward to Rosie’s future works. So you can gather, this was my first venture in to the series and while it worked totally fine on its own, I do wish I had read the previous installments to know more about the characters and what brought them up to the events of this book as you get caught up and swept along with no idea how they got to this point,  but it also makes you want to know WHY and HOW they got to this point. In my opinion, that isn’t a bad thing. *Glances at her ever growing TBR pile*

The characters I found to be excellent. I ended up feeling invested in them, fascinated and they carried me through the story – one I found myself unable to put down. I didn’t expect to enjoy the book as much as I did. It was fairly fast but well paced throughout and I honestly feel like the blurb doesn’t do the book justice – however to say much more would be spoilers and nobody likes spoilers. Or maybe they do. I’m sure someone out there does, but the majority of us don’t. It’s honestly hard to write this review without spoilers.

Hard Return is a wild ride from start to finish. While the characters live in a world that is nothing like my own, I found myself really connecting with them – not just Amy, our fantastic female protaganist; who is actually human and demonstrates anxiety (in an actual realistic manner to boot) in the situations she’s put in, rather than appearing cold and superhuman, but also the secondary character, Jason, who I gather was previously locked up for something he didn’t do and also their watcher and former friend (another thing that makes me want to read previous installments – I’m wondering what the heck happened there!) Owain. I felt really immersed in their journey and the author really kept me on my toes. When I thought something – something fairly obvious and cliche was about to happen, she went the other way and I found myself surprised by the turns things took.

The book ends with some questions. I can’t specify details without spoilers, but there is certainly a “what next” which has me looking forward to the next installment in the series and seriously needing to go and read the previous installments. I love when a book does that. When a book works as a standalone, but it’s so good and really grabs you that you find yourself needing to consume more tales of the characters and go back to previous installments while you await the next. That, to me, is a sign of an excellent book. I’d highly recommend picking this one up. You can buy it here via Amazon.

rosie Claverton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Claverton is a novelist, screenwriter, and junior psychiatrist.She grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. She then moved to London to specialise in psychiatry.

Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm. Her Cardiff-based crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries is published by Crime Scene Books.

Between writing and medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series, advocating for accurate and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in fiction.

Recently returned to Cardiff, she lives with her journalist husband and their nearly new daughter.

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison – Review

chasing-monsters

Hey guys. Today I’m bringing you a review on this new release from Urbane Books – Chasing Monsters by Paul Harrison. It came out on the 4th October 2018 and is a crime thriller, available in both Paperback and Kindle formats – to buy and to borrow as part of Kindle Unlimited.
A pretty cool fun fact about the author is that he has spent a lot of his professional life working within the UK’s criminal justice system, primarily as a police officer, however he has also worked as a dog handler and criminal profiler, as well as working with the (now defunct) FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico.

The first thrilling book in the Will Scott series.

In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.

DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the murderer. In so doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit where no one can be trusted.

The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community, but without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?

Chasing Monsters_chosen.indd

The first thing I have to note about this book, is the book itself. The cover is gorgeous and very suitable for the book. It’s only now I’ve finished the book in it’s entirety, that I feel I really understand it. Many books have fantastic covers, but there are few I feel have had this much thought go in to them. There are also themed chapter pages and wings throughout which is a lovely touch and matches very well with an element revealed later in the book.

The book jumps right in with finding a person on the beach and a lot of dialogue, using a lot of very British lingo which US readers may have a bit of trouble with – however, I believe it to be quite an accurate representation how many of us (English folk) speak. This sort of fades out though and the writing relaxes a little more, or it feels that way to myself at least.

The start feels quite structured and I struggled with it. This is character, here are details about character. It felt a little overwhelming and “for the sake of it” but things were upwards once these details were disclosed to the reader and everything felt like it was advancing the story. I may have struggled with the start, but by the end, I couldn’t put it down.

It doesn’t take too long for us to get to the first proper crime scene and this really had me hanging on. Harrison has you hanging on and makes you work for the details. The built up suspense is excellent and it was from this point that I realised he had me hooked. The nature of the corpses was a grim one and there are a few elements that sound like implausible scenarios and unrealistic reactions for experienced police officers; when the team go through the crime scene later on is a prime example. It really bugged me at the time, but it’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things and by the next crime, I’d forgotten all about it.

The book is well paced and becomes quite easy to read from cover to cover. There are constantly events happening with no “lull” that would be convenient for the police. There are force politics involved, as with many crime books, however, not the expected “ah, budgets” and things like that. Very different to the usual office politics I’ve come to expect from crime fiction.

It’s quite a ride. The book has you question your own morality when you discover the victims are bad people themselves. Did they deserve to be murdered? Is it justice? Should we feel sympathy regardless or quietly celebrate? It really gives you a lot to think about.

I avoid mentioning mid-end books of spoilers, however I can talk about this without context, so it’s spoiler free. Later in the book, it feels like the story is being wrapped up and the premise is being set for a second installment (which I believe there will be) but then more action happens. It was incredibly intense, more so than the rest of the book had been and I ended up staying awake late to finish it because I absolutely had to know. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I found it absolutely gripping; a stark contrast to when I had first started reading the book and didn’t feel particularly excited about it – it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t stand out. It came along in leaps and bounds and became something I didn’t expect at all. It turned out to be a phenomenal read and one that I would highly recommend. Never had I read a crime thriller that has had me think so much about myself as well as the characters and the system that they operate in.

I really hope Harrison does follow through with a sequel and that it’s as excellent as this book was. I highly anticipate it and I know I’ll be reading it for sure!

Bookish · Uncategorized

Implant – Ray Clark: Excerpt

Hey guys! Today, I’m on the blog tour for a fantastic book called Implant by Ray Clark. It’s the third in a series, but admittedly, this book was my introduction to it. I’ve added the previous installments to my TBR pile as I’ve really enjoyed this book thus far; and while it is part of a series, it works perfectly fine as a standalone. The book doesn’t take too long to really get in to the “meat” of the story, and I was really a big fan of that. I’m currently still reading the book though. I had planned on doing a full review for my spot on the tour, but moving house left me short on time – so today I have an excerpt to share with you instead. I hope you’ll love it and pick up a copy and we can chat about it if you’d like! Thanks to Kelly from Love Books Group, Urbane Publications and Ray Clark for inviting me to be a part of this! Implant is on sale now in both paperback and kindle editions.

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Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.

Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence. Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?

Implant is the perfect read for fans of Peter May, Mark Billingham and Peter James.

0374DE05-60D3-44D4-B0C7-F81A6630E934

3.

3:20 a.m.

“Do you want me to put a trace on the calls?” Cragg asked.

​Both men had moved out of the back office now, into the more clinical surroundings of the lobby and the front desk.

​“Might be a good idea, sir. While you do that, maybe I should have a walk round to Armitage’s, see what’s happening.”

​Gary didn’t think a trace to his phone would do much good. He knew that as you travelled up and down the country, your mobile phone ‘shook hands’ with each phone mast as it came within range. You didn’t have to be using it, but the mast would know it’s available to make or receive calls. At the end of the day, however, the range was only accurate to within 1.5 miles.

​“It’s okay, lad. I can dispatch a car if you like.”

​“Where are the others?”

​“Further north, at Rudson, investigating an attempted break-in.”

​“You could give them a call and see how they’re doing. If they’re nearly finished, let ‘em know I’m going, and maybe they can meet me there later. After all, we don’t know what this is yet, and it’ll only take me a few minutes to walk round.”

​“If you’re sure,” said Cragg.

​“Course I am. Anyway, the doc said I needed the exercise for the leg. Can you trace the calls?”

​“I’ll use Charter to try to trace them. It’ll just take longer.” Charter was a software program the police used to obtain information from phone companies under the RIPA Act.

​Gary put his helmet on and stepped out the station front door. The sky was still dark with little cloud and no breeze, which made for a mild September morning. The road was quiet: no traffic, no people, not even a brave fox.

​The station was situated on Old Bramfield Road, to the north of the town, going towards Bursley Bridge and eventually Harrogate. Armitage’s place was in Carpenter’s Alley, behind the Market Square, at the foot of The Shambles. He estimated it would only take about ten minutes to walk, despite his leg.

​It took less than a minute for the bloody thing to start aching, an annoying pulsing sensation.

​The accident was still very clear in his mind. They were playing a team from Ilkley. One of their defenders was known locally – and nationally, he shouldn’t wonder – as “The Monster.” He’d been sent off more times than any other player in the league, and it was probably the sole reason that had stopped Ilkley Town achieving promotion. Maybe their manager would see that one day.

​The Bramfield defender, Steve Preece, had supplied the perfect cross for Gary. The goalkeeper was the only man to beat, and Gary reckoned it wasn’t much of a problem. Where The Monster had come from was anyone’s guess.

​Gary went down like a sack of spuds, even heard the break. He hadn’t felt any pain at first. He couldn’t remember the exact point at which he had felt pain, but it had more than made up for his initial lack of it.

​Mr. Sinclair had called it a ‘green stick’ break. His bones had been broken laterally in a jagged fashion, and they had needed to be straightened and pinned. The surgeon had been to see him a couple of times in hospital, gave him extra injections in the leg. He’d said it would take time, things would improve, but it was unlikely Gary would play football again. Not at Sunday League level, anyway.

​Mr. Sinclair would know. He was as good as anyone. Had to be to treat Gary’s mother the way he had done.

​Gary approached the crossroads in the town centre and turned right on to Wheelgate, passing the shops. He hadn’t seen any people on his walk, and passed only a couple of vehicles approaching from the south side, one of them was a bus with no passengers.

​He turned left on to Finkle Street, and his thoughts were once again with his mother.

​She had a type of brain cancer called glioma. He remembered the day when she had suddenly started having epileptic fits, right out of the blue. With progression, she’d had more, and had then grown forgetful.

​She was so frightened. So was he, come to mention it. He’d lost his father; he wanted to hang on to his mother.

​Gary approached the old library, which led to The Shambles. As Armitage’s hardware shop came into view, he could indeed see the light burning in the window, and the front door open.

​He glanced behind him and noticed Richard Jones with his pushbike, standing outside The Golden Lion pub. The man waved, wheeling his bike towards Gary. He was dressed in an old trench coat and trousers. Gary reckoned his age to be mid-fifties.

​He turned his attention to the old hardware store. It had been a part of the community for as long as he could remember, much longer in fact, as he read the sign above the shop that told him it had been established in 1939.

​It was a long fronted building made from different shades of brick, indicating when and where it had been extended. He suspected the main door at the far right side was not the original entrance, which was probably the more central one now used as a window display. To reach the shop you had to walk down four huge concrete steps, with a slope for wheelchairs running down the middle. To the far left were a cycle rack, and a huge potted plant. On the corner of the building an old-fashioned gas mantle was fixed to the wall, unlit.

​Gary was about to tell Richard Jones not to come too close when movement caught his attention. About thirty feet in front of him, where the shop ended and a wall separated it from the public toilets and the car park beyond, someone had stepped back into the shadows.

​At least, he thought someone had.