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!
THE INSIDER – EXTRACT
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
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
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
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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