Friday, 15 May 2015

Grieve no more


Night Running

Kate Fisher wants to move on from grief. Her five-year-old daughter died from bone cancer and she split with her uncaring husband. When she meets with Mark Roberts, suffering his own emotional turmoil after parting with his lover and the death of her son in a house fire, she believes she’s found the perfect person to help her forget her past, and him forget his. They fall in love, and she becomes pregnant. Her baby comes early-but so too does a grievous shock that tears to the roots of her raw emotions, threatening the end of her new happiness and the safety of her one surviving daughter.

Preface

One day in November, when a few snow flakes had settled on the ground, and the air temperature had fallen to two degrees below freezing point, a man wearing a black canvas jacket, with a black scarf wrapped tight around his face, took a step from the shadows and watched the flames engulf the child’s bedroom. For several seconds they licked around the windowsill then shot upwards, making silhouettes, dancing against the dark night sky. Soon, the top of the house became engulfed in a fireball. He knew nobody would survive, and pulled the collar of his jacket up around his neck, turned, and started to run back through the dense woods. The snow had begun to thicken, but he didn’t notice, his mind full of what he’d achieved and what he still had to do. He ran fast, dodging and twisting to avoid trees and bushes. Twigs and bracken snapped loud beneath his pounding feet. The wail from the sirens from the emergency services’ vehicles deafened him, telling him they were near. He started to sprint.
~~~
Emma turned to the left and gasped. Big red sparks exploded with ferocity in the night sky above the roofs of the houses in the next road. Her road, where she lived, but she couldn’t reach it. The traffic in front and behind had ground to a standstill: blocked solid. People had left their cars to gape at the spectacle: large, intense, and furious, almost like a firework display.
I have to get there. Oh my God, it could be our house. She gagged, and thought she’d throw up. Her hand shook as she reached for the car key, almost like she suffered from Parkinson’s diseases or a neurological disorder. She slammed the door behind her, and started to run along the grass verge, passing the stationary cars. A searchlight from a helicopter, hovering low over the fire, shone through the dense smoke, making an eerie sort of haze. At the top of the road, she turned left, and ran another two hundred yards until she reached the first house in the street where she lived.
‘I don’t believe it. It can’t be.’ Thick smoke shrouded the houses. Two fire appliances stood in front of her home. An ambulance with its doors wide open was parked next to them. Emma stumbled a few paces forward and collapsed. She was sick. Vomit covered her face. She forced herself onto her hands and knees and tried to crawl forward. Chunks of sharp gravel and stones dug into her flesh. The pain made her yell, and she made herself stand up. She staggered two paces forward then fell over again.
‘Oh God, someone help me, that’s my house burning down there.’ Tears poured down her face. ‘My son, my son, my partner,’ she sobbed. ‘Where are they? Please someone help me. Please, please, please…’
~~~
‘You alright, luv?’ a policewoman asked a few minutes later, her hand on Emma’s shoulder.
Emma twisted her head up a little. ‘Where’s Sean? Where’s my son? Where’s John? That’s my house that’s burnt down.’ The policewoman knelt down and pulled Emma up to a sitting position. Emma’s head flopped onto the policewoman’s shoulder. She started to sob again.

Night Running is coming soon.

 ~~~

Harry Fingle stories
Playing Harry.
The first story.
Giant international corporations hire hitmen. The CIA and MI6 sanction immoral and illegal skulduggery. People die. Harry Fingle–an investigative journalist, searching for his brother’s killer–is appalled, and tries to publish his findings. He’s gagged, an assassin is briefed, and his ex-lover is stabbed.
Harry’s a pawn in a real-life game of chess played out by the security services.
~~~
Assassination Continuum.
The second story.
The wrong man is murdered in a café in Istanbul. A feared Russian assassin is mortified and vows to right his mistake. Harry Fingle’s lover becomes over-inquisitive, and his spy-friend tells him to watch out. 
Tension mounts. The Russians hire a Serbian hitman as a back-up executioner and Harry begins to question his trusted spy-friend’s loyalties.
~~~
Zero One
The final story
Murderers walk free from court, juries are nobbled, spooks leak secrets, police fix investigations, prisoners escape, and the media stay silent. Zero One is dominant. One man controls it.
A lingering love affair, Harry Fingle’s discovery of the name of Zero One’s chief, and the breakout from jail of Harry’s nemesis–the feared Russian assassin Grigoriy Nabutov–make for a tense and emotional conclusion to the trilogy.
~~~
Harry Fingle box set
Playing Harry, Assasination Continuum, Zero One in one three-book box set.
~~~
Night Running
Finished, being edited, and will be published later this year
~~~
Wattpad. Read for free:
Selected chapters from the three books in The Harry Fingle Collection–Playing Harry, Assassination Continuum, and Zero One–plus the The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer in full.

Plus three complete books in the Originals series.









Friday, 24 April 2015

After the storm

Writing my latest book, Night Running, was like living through a storm. This short–which I wrote and published a little while ago–seems appropriate. 
The wind howled like a wolf. Most of the sparsely scattered trees had been uprooted and blown over the cliff. The far-off homestead–the only other building for as far as I could see–had its roof torn off, the remnants scattered over the craggy ground. Sheep hunkered down by the rock outcrops, trying to shield themselves from the storm’s worst. A farm truck had been blown over onto its side and lay, abandoned, in the middle of the wild headland. Great gusts smacked against the rickety door, threatening to tear it from its fixings and blow inside, leaving me exposed and at the mercy of nature’s frightening force.
I was marooned in a small, abandoned, wooden shack on a deserted hilltop. Anna and I had been walking along the cliff when the storm began. We should have checked before we left the hotel; but I’d just asked her to marry me, and–high on emotion and euphoria–we’d drained our glasses, flung on our coats and scarves, and dashed from the warm, tiny cottage we’d rented to the wild, wintery outdoors. We’d wanted to walk on cliffs and glimpse the dark foreboding sea. Neither of us had a fear in the world.
We’d rushed toward the shack when the torrential rain started. After two paces, I’d collapsed in agony. A muscle or something had pulled in my leg, and I couldn’t walk. Anna helped me to my feet, and with an arm around her shoulder; we managed to reach the shack. She was a nurse, and helped me to a stone ledge where she bound up my leg with her scarf and told me to stay still, with my leg up, while she went for some help. I tried to stop her, but she was gone in a few seconds.    
Some minutes after she’d left, the wind turned to a gale, rain poured through all the cracks in the old stones and the roof. The ledge that Anna had left me on became drenched. I dragged myself, in pain, to a dry spot. Two hours later the light started to fade. The shack and the surrounding moorland became dark and foreboding. All around was black–a deep, dense black that I’d never experienced before. I started to shiver. Some sort of vermin scuttled around in the far corner, and then I heard a loud clatter. Heavy rain fell on my head and shoulders. The shack lightened a little, and I looked up. Part of the corrugated roof had been ripped away, above where I’d been sitting. Water poured down my face and onto my clothing. Somehow I had to move, but my leg throbbed, and I knew if I tried to put any weight on it I’d fall over and lie on the wet floor, writhing in agony. I slid onto my hands and knees and started to crawl across the uneven, stony floor. I managed to reach a drier spot, flopped into a corner, and started to shake. I moaned and cried out.
The pain hit me in sudden, unannounced bouts, so powerful they almost brought me to tears. When they gave me a brief respite, I thought of Anna. Where is she? Has she reached safety? Oh, I hope so. And then the anguish started up again.
At 6:00 p.m. I figured that no rescue party would reach me that night, and I had to do all I could to survive. I fumbled in my pocket and found the two squares of chocolate left from the bar Anna and I had shared.  In my other pocket I had a half bottle of water. I took a sip from the water and ate a square of chocolate. By six-thirty my limbs started to feel dead from the cold, the pain so awful I yelled a lot. I was tired, hungry, and wet.
Even if I can’t sleep, somehow I have to stay positive, I thought, and decided to plan our wedding.
~~~
Weak light started to fill the hut. I heard birdsong. It must be morning, I thought, and struggled to pull back the cuff of my shirt to check the time. It was 7:30 a.m. I hadn’t slept, and I hadn’t planned the wedding. The throbbing pain in my leg had worsened through the long night, making me often cry out for relief. Like tentacles, the anguish and numbing cold had crept into all parts of my body. My bones hurt. I couldn’t move. I was drained of will and energy, and lay prostrate on the frozen stone.
I can’t take this much more...
~~~
I heard a throbbing, whirling noise. I was lying down on a wet, cold stone floor. My body was wracked with pain. The noise increased, and I remembered where I was. I must have drifted off, I thought, and been woken by the noise.
It’s a helicopter. They’ve come to rescue me.
I tried to move. I couldn’t. Pain and inability stopped me. Am I paralysed? Oh God no. The whirring noise slowed down. I figured the helicopter had landed and soon they’d come for me. Best lie still until they arrive, I told myself. Soon it’ll be over.
They’ve gone without me,’ I sobbed half-an-hour later when I heard the helicopter take off and fly away. Why? Why? Why have they left me? I’ll die...
~~~
The ceiling was white. I dragged my hands up my chest. Bedclothes. I’m in a bed, I thought and turned my head. The walls of the room were also white. A clinical, clean smell filled my nostrils. I felt warm and cosy, and a little bit woozy in my head. I saw someone walk towards me. ‘Where am I?’ I asked as a friendly-looking man dressed in a blue nurses’ uniform leant over me and picked up my wrist. He smiled at me.
‘You’re in hospital. You’ve been sedated.’
‘How did I get here? What happened?’
He smiled again and wrapped a cuff around my upper left arm. ‘You were picked up from the moor. You were found unconscious in a deserted farm building. I’m just going to take your blood pressure.’ I felt a squeezing sensation where he’d wrapped the cuff. ‘Do you remember anything?’
‘No, not really, what happened?’
‘You were out walking on the moor. You’ve ruptured your Achilles tendon...’
‘Yes,’ I shouted. ‘Anna. How’s Anna? Where is she? What’s happened to her?’
Like a great tidal wave, memories of the last twenty-four hours or so flooded my wind.
Oh my God. Something awful has happened to Anna. That’s why they’ve sedated me. Oh no. Our dreams are shattered. This is a nightmare.
‘Please. Tell me. I must know. Is she alive?
The nurse reached down and took my hand. ‘She’s fine. She’s in the next room to you. You’re both suffering from hyperthermia and need rest. You’ll have to have an operation to fix your tendon, but not for a day or two until you’re stronger. You’ll both be okay. Anna can come and see you soon.’
‘You sure? You’re not just saying that? You’re not keeping something from me?’
He shook his head and smiled again. ‘It’s all true. Just relax. I’m going to give you another injection. It’ll make you a little light-headed and you’ll probably doze off...
~~~
Harry Fingle stories
Playing Harry.
The first story.
Giant international corporations hire hitmen. The CIA and MI6 sanction immoral and illegal skulduggery. People die. Harry Fingle–an investigative journalist, searching for his brother’s killer–is appalled, and tries to publish his findings. He’s gagged, an assassin is briefed, and his ex-lover is stabbed.
Harry’s a pawn in a real-life game of chess played out by the security services.
~~~
Assassination Continuum.
The second story.
The wrong man is murdered in a café in Istanbul. A feared Russian assassin is mortified and vows to right his mistake. Harry Fingle’s lover becomes over-inquisitive, and his spy-friend tells him to watch out. 
Tension mounts. The Russians hire a Serbian hitman as a back-up executioner and Harry begins to question his trusted spy-friend’s loyalties.
~~~
Zero One
The final story
Murderers walk free from court, juries are nobbled, spooks leak secrets, police fix investigations, prisoners escape, and the media stay silent. Zero One is dominant. One man controls it.
A lingering love affair, Harry Fingle’s discovery of the name of Zero One’s chief, and the breakout from jail of Harry’s nemesis–the feared Russian assassin Grigoriy Nabutov–make for a tense and emotional conclusion to the trilogy.
~~~
Harry Fingle box set
Playing Harry, Assasination Continuum, Zero One in one three-book box set.
~~~
Night Running
Work in progress, and will be published later this year
~~~
Wattpad. Read for free:
Selected chapters from the three books in The Harry Fingle Collection–Playing Harry, Assassination Continuum, and Zero One–plus the The Harry Fingle Collection-trailer in full.

Plus three complete books in the Originals series.