I HAVE A CRIME-Y EXTRACT FOR YOU! And it's for a blog tour. And no to my Other Half who noticing that crime/thriller books are creeping more and more on the Pewter Wolf and my TBR shelves/folders, I am not planning to murder you or make you have an "accident" (I love him too much to do that.)
Anyway, I have an extract for you, from the lovely people at Canelo. The extract is from Where The Truth Lies from M J Lee - the first in the DI Ridpath series - and once I read the synopsis of this, colour me intrigued...
Ten years ago, DI Thomas Ridpath was involved in Manchester CID and his first case for this promise police officer involved him capturing a notorious serial killer. But that was then, and DI Ridpath isn't the same man. Recovering from a serious illness and on the verge of being pushed out of the police force. Then people started dying... in a the same horrible way as Ridpath's first case...
As the investigation carries on, things start to go wrong: old bodies start going missing, files get misplaced and the body count begins to grow. As the police and the coroner's office start fighting each other, Ridpath wants to solve the case first, to save his career, his marriage, his life.
And then one of his colleagues vanishes...
Doesn't that sound intriguing? I have been told that this has an dark edge of gory to it so if you like your crime thrillers to have a good level of blood, this might be up your street!
Now, I am going to hand you over to the extract, but I want to thank Ellie from Canelo for inviting me to be involved in this tour! Now, over to the extract!!!
10 March 2008. Chorlton, Manchester.
‘I always bites the heads off babies. Dunno why. The orange ones first, then green, red, pink and finally yellow. Always save the yellow for last, I do. Never eat the purple ones though.’
Sergeant Mungovan put the head between his teeth and carefully bit down, avoiding the arms. ‘What about you?’
‘Never touch them, Sarge.’ PC Tom Ridpath tapped the top of the steering wheel, staring through the windscreen at the road. The wipers swept across once, clearing the light drizzle from the glass. It was one of those Manchester days when it was either raining, thinking about raining or had just finished raining and was about to start again. The sergeant popped the remaining torso of the jelly baby into his mouth, searching in the white paper bag as he chewed. ‘They all have names, you know. Now this one, the purple one, is called Big Heart.’ He held the body of the jelly baby between his large, nicotine-stained fingers. ‘Ugly brute, isn’t he?’ The windscreen wipers cleared the glass once more.
‘If you say so, Sarge.’
They had parked up in front of Turner’s newsagents on the corner of Withington Road. Sergeant Mungovan went there every day at eleven o’clock when he was on the morning shift. It was the only place selling his jelly babies out of a jar. The Sergeant bit the head off a bright fluorescent-green baby. ‘Look, I told you this morning, it’s either Doc or Sergeant. I can’t stand ‘Sarge’. Makes me think of Bilko.’
‘Who’s he, Sarge…Sergeant?’
‘Before your time, son.’
‘And you can call me Ridpath. I hate Thomas or Tom, they’re so bloody Victorian.’
The Sergeant shifted his bulk as he peered into the white paper bag. Years of sitting in police cars, eating sweets, bacon butties and Greggs’ Cornish pasties had taken their toll. ‘You can have the purple ones, Tom, if—’ Before he had finished the sentence, a large white van turned sharply right in front of them without any indication, causing another motorist to stamp on his brakes, bringing his car to a screeching stop. Sergeant Mungovan folded the top half-inch of his paper bag. ‘Right, our kid, time to pop your cherry. Looks like you’ve got your first collar. Let’s get after him.’
Ridpath leant forward to switch on the siren and lights of the Vauxhall Astra, only to find his hand slapped away.
‘Sergeant’s privileges. Didn’t they teach you anything at Sedgeley Park?’
The whoop of the siren erupted from above Ridpath’s head and the light cut through the gloom of March in Manchester. He put the car in gear and raced after the white van, now 200 yards ahead and moving fast. Sergeant Mungovan spoke into the radio. ‘In pursuit of a white Ford Transit, licence plate FB05 TBY, along Wilbraham Road, over.’
The van was ignoring the siren and the flashing lights, overtaking a slow-moving car and racing down the road. A spike of adrenalin surged through Ridpath’s body as he stamped on the accelerator. So this is what it felt like – a police chase just like those on Miami Vice, except he was involved and he was in charge. After a short lag, the Vauxhall leapt forward, belying its age. At least the engine was well looked after. They were gaining rapidly on their prey, the van ahead boxed in by the traffic.
‘Slow down, Stirling Moss. I want to nab this one with me in one piece.’
Up ahead the van was turning right, again without any indication, past a large Morrison’s supermarket. Ridpath followed it round the corner, accelerating to within 50 yards. The noise of the siren was louder now, echoing off the buildings on either side, the flashing light more intense. As if raising a white flag, the driver of the van slowed down, signalling to pull in. Ridpath stopped behind him, parking the regulation five yards away so he could see both sides of the vehicle, exactly as he had been taught in police training school.
The driver of the van was sitting in his seat, not moving, staring straight ahead.
Sergeant Mungovan picked up the radio again. ‘Anything on the status of the van? Over.’
Static, followed by the voice of a male dispatcher. ‘Nothing yet, computers are a bit slow this morning, Doc. Over.’
Mungovan switched off the radio. ‘Aren’t they bloody always?’
Up ahead the driver was still behind the wheel of his van and still not moving.
‘You wait here till dispatch gets back to you on the status of the van.’
The experienced copper placed his cap on his head and opened the door of the Vauxhall. As he shifted his bulk to get out of the car, the springs squeaked and the car rocked in complaint. He stood up, pulled down the stab vest over his stomach and closed the passenger door, keeping his eyes fixed on the driver of the van.
The car instantly felt lighter, more spacious. The radio emitted a squeak of static and then went silent again.
Sergeant Mungovan walked slowly, deliberately, towards the van, stopping for a moment to check a broken rear light. The driver-side door opened and a middle-aged man wearing glasses and blue overalls stepped out. Long strands of hair coated the top of his head in the classic Bobby Charlton comb-over.
Static crackled from the radio. Ridpath looked down at the noise coming from the speaker. He didn’t know why he did that. It was a sound not an image; why did he look down?
‘Proceed with caution, over. Driver of Ford Transit FB05 TBY wanted for questioning regarding abduction of prostitute from Moss Side…’
Ridpath looked up.
The man was standing over Sergeant Mungovan, his fist raised as if to strike downwards. The fist lashed out at the same time as the sergeant jumped backwards.
Ridpath watched it all as if in slow motion. The fist arcing through the air, the look of surprise in the sergeant’s eyes, the man’s hair flopping in the breeze, the fist striking the top of the stab vest where it was fastened across the shoulders. The sergeant falling backwards, arm stretched behind him.
The windscreen wipers sang across the glass, clearing the rainwater.
The man’s fist was raised again, the white knuckles clearly visible against the grey Manchester sky.
Ridpath fumbled with the latch of the door. It caught his sleeve then swung open. He stood up and shouted. He didn’t know what he said but it stopped the man.
Sergeant Mungovan was lying against the rear tyre of the van, his left arm raised to ward off the coming blow.
Ridpath shouted something again. It could have been, ‘Stop, police’ but he didn’t know the words he used.
The man looked across at him, arm suspended in mid-air, a red wildness in his eyes. For a short moment, they stared at each other as if daring the other to act first.
Ridpath slammed his car door shut and the moment was broken.
The man hesitated for a second, eyes darting left and right, before running down Albany Road away from the van.
Ridpath rushed over to Sergeant Mungovan lying next to the rear wheel, his right arm hanging loosely at his side. He knelt down and placed his fingers on the Sergeant’s neck.
‘What the bloody hell are you doin’?’
‘Checking for a pulse, Sarge.’
‘Does it sound like I’m dead?’
‘No, Sarge. Are you OK?’
‘Of course I bloody am. Get after the bastard – I’ll call it in.’ He fumbled for his radio with his left hand.
The man was already 60 yards ahead and moving with a speed which surprised Ridpath. Should he leave the sergeant?
‘Get the bastard,’ shouted Mungovan, pointing with his unhurt arm.
As if on automatic pilot, Ridpath found his legs obeying the order and running down the street after the suspect. Behind, he could hear Sergeant Mungovan calling for backup on his radio.