The Insider by Mari Hannah / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys, and first of all, apologies. My stop on Mari Hannah’s blog tour was yesterday and I can’t express how sorry I am for not being able to post on my destined date – having some health problems I just wasn’t able to do this. But I have a brilliant extract from the book for you today – put your feet high and enjoy!

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THE INSIDER – EXTRACT

1

It was the news they had all been dreading, confi rmation of a

fourth victim. For DS Frankie Oliver, the journey to the crime

scene brought back memories of her father driving her around

Northumberland when she was a rookie cop, pointing out the

places where he’d been called to investigate serious incidents

throughout his own police career, giving her the benefi t of

his advice along the way. He’d been doing this since she was

a kid, only with less detail, leaving out the unspeakable horrors

the locations represented. Back then, they were words.

Just words. Narratives that, if she were being honest, excited

her in ways they should not. And then there was the night

he stopped talking: an experience etched on their collective

memory forever more – a night too close to home.

Flashlight beams bobbed up and down, illuminating sheets of

horizontal rain. The detectives stumbled along the Tyne Valley

track, heading east on the Northern Rail line linking Carlisle

to Newcastle. No light pollution here. Under a dark, forbidding

sky, it was diffi cult terrain, rutted and sodden so close

to the water’s edge. The swollen river thundered by, a course

of water liable to fl ash fl ooding. Red alerts for the area were

a regular occurrence. At midday, Northumberland’s monitoring

stations had warned of a serious threat to those living

nearby. If the Tyne rose quickly, Frankie knew they would be

in trouble. Many a walker had slipped into the water here by

accident.

Few had survived.

Lightning forked, exposing the beauty of the surrounding

landscape. A high-voltage electric charge, followed by the

rumble of thunder in the distance, an omen of more rain to

come. The lead investigator, Detective Chief Inspector David

Stone, was a blurred smudge a hundred metres in front of

her, head bowed, shoulders hunched against the relentless

downpour.

Mud sucked at Frankie’s feet as she fought to keep up, two

steps forward, one back, as she tried to get a purchase on the

slippery surface. Her right foot stuck fast, the momentum of

her stride propelling her forward, minus a wellington boot.

She fell, head fi rst, hands and knees skidding as she tried

to stay upright. Dragging herself up, she swore under her

breath as brown sludge stuck to her clothing, weighing her

down.

Unaware of her plight, David was making headway, sweeping

his torch left and right in a wide arc close to Eels Wood. He

had one agenda and Frankie wasn’t it. With a feeling of dread

eating its way into her gut, she peered into the undergrowth

blocking her passage. Where was a stick when you needed

one? As she parted the brambles, there was an ear-splitting

crack, a terrifying sound. Before she had time to react, a tree

fell, crashing to earth with an excruciating thump, unearthed

by a raging torrent of water fi ltering off higher ground, its

roots unable to sustain the weight of a century of growth,

landing metres in front of her.

Frankie blew out a breath.

Only once before had she come closer to violent death.

Hoping her luck would hold, she vaulted the tree and

ploughed on. From an investigative standpoint, the situation

was grim. Had there been any footprints adjacent to the line,

they were long gone. As crime scenes go, they would be fi ghting

a losing battle to preserve evidence, assuming they ever

found the body spotted by an eyewitness, a passenger on an

eastbound train. Where the fuck was it?

Frankie expected to see the dragon ahead, a wide-eye LED

searchlight used by emergency services, an intense beam of

white light guiding her. As far as the eye could see there was

no light visible, other than the beam of David’s fl ashlight.

Worrying. Exasperating. Frankie couldn’t be arsed with this.

Pulling her radio from her pocket, she pressed the transmit

button hoping her link to Control wouldn’t be affected by the

appalling weather. It would be a heavy night in the control

room, for sure.

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