Well, I am well under way on book 2 in The DI Nick Dixon Crime Series. It has the working title of ‘Relentless’ at the moment, which fits well with the plot. No doubt the final book title will come to me as the writing progresses.
I have a detailed synopsis, characters and chronology all mapped put. All I have to do now is write it!
I am aiming for publication at the end of September but don’t forget to sign up for my Early Bird List for advanced notification (or warning!). This will include notice of the free days!
Anyway, for those who cannot wait, here is a taster of the opening, which also serves to wrap up a few loose ends from As The Crow Flies.
To the casual observer she appeared alive and well but anyone who knew her would tell you that she had died twelve months ago when her daughter had been taken from her. She was still breathing, still crying and still feeling pain. Apart from that, she did and felt nothing.
The pain was relentless. The medical diagnosis was clinical depression but it all boiled down to pain. Mental anguish so intense that it caused her excruciating physical pain. Only relieved when she slept and she only slept when she had taken pills. And lots of them.
She had never liked sleeping pills. She felt like shit the next day and it was a high price to pay for chemically induced sleep. Always haunted by the same vivid nightmares.
Without the pills she didn’t sleep at all. She’d just lie there staring at the ceiling, thinking of her daughter and crying. It was a vicious cycle and she had decided to break it.
To end it.
She stood on the balcony of the fourth floor apartment at the Hotel Senator overlooking the sea at Marbella. It had been a nice idea to try to get away from it all but it hadn’t worked. The nightmares, the torment, had followed her and always would.
She had to end it now.
She had no idea where she had heard it but the phrase “drop ‘em long, stop ‘em short” was going round and round in her head. Maybe it was that documentary about Albert Pierrepoint that she had seen on TV. She didn’t know and she didn’t care.
She checked the knot one last time. The rope was tied to the radiator as tight as she could get it. She fed the slack over the railings, put the loop in the other end over her head and pulled it tight. Then she climbed over the railings and stood with her back to the balcony holding on with her hands behind her. She thought about her daughter and the pain hit her as it always did. Like a sledgehammer.
This was not about being with her daughter. This was about putting an end to the pain. Tears began to stream down her cheeks.
Then she let go.
It had been a good day. All in all. The official report would record his involvement as ‘drug squad liaison’ but it ensured that Dixon had been first through Conrad Benton’s front door when the battering ram had smashed it off its hinges. Benton obliged still further by taking a swing at Dixon. He ducked under the punch and then watched while two unusually large drug squad officers jumped on Benton and handcuffed him. Seldom had Dixon enjoyed arresting anyone more.
‘Conrad Benton, I am arresting you on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’
Benton did not reply.
The search of Benton’s flat turned up PMA and ecstacy with a street value of over eight thousand pounds and, given his previous record, he could look forward to a lengthy spell in prison. Dixon arrested Benton again for the possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.
It had been an immensely satisfying morning’s work.
Dixon had spent the afternoon on the beach with his dog, Monty, and then the evening with Jane Winter in the Zalshah Tandoori Restaurant in Burnham-on-Sea. He had eaten in a few curry houses in his time but had not found a better one than the Zalshah. He had not yet reached the point of being offered his ‘usual’ when he went in but he was already on first name terms with the waiters.
An added bonus was having managed to avoid telling Jane about his Queen’s Police Medal. She had forgotten about it and he had not reminded her.
Dixon watched the lights of passing cars flicker on the ceiling of his bedroom and allowed his mind to wander back to days on the sea cliffs at Pembroke, climbing in glorious sunshine with the waves crashing against the rocks beneath his feet.
The next thing he knew his phone was ringing. He checked the time. 7.15am.
‘Nick, it’s DCI Lewis. Where are you?’
‘In bed, Sir.’
‘Where’s Jane Winter? She’s not answering her phone.’
‘I think she said she was going to her parents for the weekend. Why?’
‘I need the pair of you over at Berrow Church as soon as you can.’
‘I’m sure I can get hold of her, Sir.’
Dixon reached over and placed his left hand on Jane’s right breast. She pulled the duvet over her head to stifle her laughter.
‘Good. Get over there as quick as you can. They’ve found a severed head in one of the bunkers on the golf course.’
Dixon sat up sharply.
‘A head? Where’s the rest of the body?’
‘We don’t know yet. It’s on the hole behind the church. The twelfth I think it is.’
Dixon was already on his way to the bathroom.
‘I’m on my way, Sir.’
Jane Winter was dressed by the time Dixon emerged from the bathroom.
‘Your parents live in Weston, don’t they?’
‘Yes. Well, Worle actually.’
‘Give me twenty minutes head start and then set off. Meet me at Berrow Church. That should be about right, shouldn’t it?’
‘I don’t mind people knowing, if that’s what’s worrying you.’
‘They’ll know soon enough, Jane. When we’re both good and ready.’
‘Do you want me to feed Monty?’
‘I’ll take him with me, don’t worry.’
Dixon had dressed in a hurry and was checking his pockets for his car keys.
‘Help yourself to anything you want to eat and I’ll see you at Berrow.’