The Breaking of Liam Glass by Charles Harris – Exclusive Extract

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Tuesday 8 pm

‘Every day’s newspaper starts empty of ideas – and some of them stay that way.’

Gareth Whelpower, ‘Off-Stone – Memories of a Newspaper Man’

 

1

The Canyons

It was like they weren’t there. Millions of Londoners streamed past the Gordon Road Estates every twenty-four hours, in their cars, buses and trains, but they didn’t see them; as if they were invisible, easily ignored. A mixed-up part of town, full of mixed-up people, where nothing much ever happened. Squeezed between the rich glamour of Regent’s Park, the neon buzz of central London and the squat seriousness of Euston. High-rise blocks towered over low ones; pensioners scratched along next to smart-casual media consultants; bankers in Reiss suits lived beside teenage gangsters in shades. If you parked your car next to one of the little squares, you didn’t know if you were going to come back and find a glossy leaflet for Hatha Yoga under the wipers, or the wheels gone and the car up on bricks.

But something was about to happen tonight.

Liam Glass was waiting angrily in the dark outside his front door on one of the first-floor walkways – shuffling from one foot to another, hunched into his hoodie, waiting, waiting, waiting; waiting for his mum, who was inside, searching endlessly through drawers and bags. He shivered as a dankness rose from the concrete and the road below glistened like fire under the street lights. A Tory election leaflet had been shoved half through their letterbox. He pulled it out and scanned it, frowning in concentration.

Katrina finally arrived with her debit card and a bustle of urgency.

‘So as you remember the PIN number,’ she said, holding out a scrap of paper. She thought he was still a kid.

He took the card, but not the note with the PIN, and turned away, grumpily.

‘You’ll forget!’ she called. But he was already stomping off down the steps.

Of course, he was just a kid, but not to himself. Tall for his age. Hormones rising. Ready to fight for his place in the world. Down he went, into Gordon Road, down the hard-lit electric canyons like he was in the Wild West. And full of his own thoughts: football matches played and unplayed, Xbox games waiting, friends, Shay Begum and Zen Methercroft, Facebook, Instagram, real girls from school, naked women on websites he thought Katrina didn’t know he knew…

He passed Royland Pinkersleigh, who was rhythmically flailing around with a rag and soap suds, swabbing down the wall outside his little gym, All Roads Lead to Royland. Royland flailed faster, trying not to think of all his problems, trying not to think of his partner Sadé in the tiny gym office, wrestling with the accounts. Sadé, who would be only too pleased to remind him about their debts as soon as he went back inside. Royland half glanced at Liam, thought he’d seen him before but couldn’t remember where, then applied himself to the rag and bucket once more.

Liam stepped into the road, right in front of Jamila Hasan’s green Mini Cooper…

Jamila was distracted, thinking about the art-gallery opening she was already late for – and she the guest of honour as the local councillor. At the last moment, she swerved and missed him. She hooted, but Liam hardly heard above the tick-tick-oomp-oomp of the music playing out of his earphones. She hooted again as she sped away from him, desperately composing the speech she was supposed to be making to the assembled art lovers and local journalists in fifteen minutes’ time.

Liam trotted past Jason Crowthorne, chief reporter of the Camden Herald, who hardly noticed him in the dark, saw him and didn’t see him, just another hoodie, shoulders hunched, round faced, ear buds in his ears, staring at the phone in his hand.

An hour before, Jason had turned twenty-nine, but he’d kept it to himself and had merely stolen a Twix from the vending machine in the newsroom. He didn’t like sharing personal grief.

Now he locked his car and shivered in the cold April breeze. He turned away from Liam, who was ambling down the road in the other direction.

Didn’t see either, as the others hadn’t, the two dark shapes following.

 

 

With London knife crime now on the rise, this is not so much a whodunnit as a blackly comic what-they-did-after-it satire, that resonates in a timely way.

Teenage footballer Liam Glass is stabbed on an estate next to London’s Regents Park and, with an eye to the main chance, journalist Jason Crowthorne sets out to make the most of the story and build a crusade against teenage knife-crime.

In the following 24 hours, Jason creates his campaign, hiding a scoop from rival journalists and avoiding arrest. But other powerful figures are determined to exploit the boy’s story as much as they can, and they have fewer scruples! Liam Glass is a darkly satirical look at the deep splits in modern communities, asking deep moral questions in a sympathetic and humorous way.

12 Words with Tony J Forder

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On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone in April. It is the first in a series.

Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published.

Today he takes on the LifeOfCri.me 12 word challenge…

 

Rules

Answers should be complete sentences, and completed in no more than 12 words (unless otherwise stated)

Contractions count. It’s = 2 words.



LOC: What can you tell us about your recent release Bad To The Bone?
 
TJF: Gritty crime thriller, a dead case brought alive, featuring murder and corruption.
 
LOC: How would you sum up the partnership between DI Bliss and DC Chandler?
 
TJF: Sarcastic and witty, but also serious and professional. Friendly, caring and loyal.
 
LOC: What’s your writing process like?
 
TJF: Once haphazard, now measured. Furious typing followed by contemplation. Seat of pants.
 
LOC: What inspires you?
 
TJF: Good writing. A hunger to improve as a writer myself. Cold beer.

LOC: Describe your perfect getaway
 
TJF: A cabin, deck overlooking a lake, mountains beyond, breeze, cold beer (again).
 
 LOC: Whats the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months?
 
TJF:  The Poet by Michael Connelly
 
LOC: Why?
 
TJF: An oldie. A classic crime novel from a master of the genre. 
  
and finally Just for laughs….
 
LOC: Thanks to the author Howard Lynskey you’ve just woken up on stage in front of the judges of Britains Got Talent with just A beach ball, a performing seal and a pint of beer.  What do you do? 
 
TJF: Let the seal drink the beer and then watch the mayhem ensue.

 

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost? 

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

#BlogTour A Deadly Game by Joanne Griffiths

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Kate Palmer, an undergraduate student, discovers that she is pregnant and makes the decision to drop out of university. However, on the evening before she returns home, her body is discovered in Aston park. She is the first victim of several murders that will rock the city of Birmingham.

Detective Sergeant James “Jim” Wardell, who has his own issues to contend with, is given the case.

When Eddie Carter, a popular talk show host on Birmingham’s Radio Station, is contacted by someone claiming to be the killer, it is the start of a cat and mouse game between a deranged killer and the police.

After a second body is discovered the pressure mounts on the police to capture the man responsible.

Who is killing these women and why?

Can Jim capture the twisted killer before more innocent women are murdered?

Totally addictive….

I’ve been struggling with catching up on my reading of late, picking books up and discarding them after just a few pages.  A Deadly Game, has just fixed the problem  😉

It’s really easy to get engrossed in this book after just a few short pages, and that addiction stays with you. I sat up all night to get to the end because I just didn’t want to put it down until I had finished, a good job I wasn’t working the next day!

It’s a fantastic police procedural, I’m not quite sure if I’ve made up my mind about Jim yet, but that’s just me.  I tend to prefer the usual ‘broken’ detective and whilst his lack of failings is promising, I”m always waiting for the fall.

What I must say, is how well written the representation of an abusive relationship is.  It’s an often tackled subject in crime novels, but one which doesn’t always give a true reflection of the beliefs of the partner on the receiving end.

I genuinely loved reading this book, and I’m honestly looking forward to how the writer develops Jim as a character, it could be fun, depending on how evil Joanne decides to be on her protagonist 😉

Enjoy all.

 

 

 

#BlogTour – Fight Or Die by James Hilton – exclusive extract

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When the Gunn brothers Danny and Clay answer a call to help old friends, they are plunged into a volatile and deadly situation. Larry and Pamela Duke own one of the most popular nightclubs in the Spanish resort town of Ultima, but a local gang known as the Locos are determined to take it. Danny and Clay are hired to protect the club, but new adversaries enter the game. Against such odds there are only two choices: fight or die…

Ortega had spent two years in one of Spain’s toughest prisons, where he’d been in the company of many vicious men. He’d also been in enough street fights to recognise a dangerous prospect when he saw one. He studied the big American with practised eyes, made subtle calculations behind his unwavering façade. The man was about six-five, maybe more. His accent unmistakable. Powerful-looking with enough scars on his face to give him a sinister edge. Well over two hundred pounds. Big arms and shoulders. But he wasn’t slow: two experienced Locos had gone down in a few seconds. This Clay could be real trouble.
Got to take him out!
Ortega set himself.
Do it now!
But then the big man did something unexpected. He started to walk away. “You know what? This is none of my business; go ahead and do what you were gonna do. I’m going for a beer further down the road.”
Ortega looked at the big man’s back as he stalked away. No way was this American pig leaving here in one piece. He snatched at his knife and lurched after Clay. With deadly intent, he aimed for the kidney and slammed his blade forward—but all he hit was air.
The big man wasn’t there. He’d turned in a subtle pivot and now had Ortega’s arm caught at the wrist and wrapped up at the elbow. Ortega had been in a few arm-locks in his time but this was unlike anything he’d experienced before. When a cop had you in a hold they were trying to restrain you. This was very different.
Pain erupted in his arm, a sudden heat like boiling water in the joint of his elbow. The two men locked eyes in a battle of wills. Ortega strained against the hold.
The big man braced his arms and chest in one severe movement and Ortega felt his elbow joint first hyper-extend and then dislocate fully in a mind-numbing separation of bone and sinew. Ortega felt his legs begin to give way beneath him as his knife clattered to the floor.
“Well I guess you won’t be signing any deeds after all,” said Clay.
Ortega found his voice, but all he could emit was a high-pitched series of gasping curses.
The woman’s—Pamela’s—voice rang out from behind the bar. “You know you’re right, Mr Vincenzo Ortega. My husband isn’t a match for you anymore, but you’ll find that good men have good friends and Clay here is one of the best. Tell your boss that we’re not interested and won’t be railroaded. Any more shit like today and he’ll be the one out of business. For good.”
“You piece of shi—” Ortega’s response was cut short by an elbow to his face. A quick spin by Clay coupled with a few running steps and Ortega found himself crashing out into the street.
Seconds later Donal and Aspanu were dumped unceremoniously by his side. Clay glowered down at the fallen gangsters. “You’d better listen to the lady. If you come back again, I’ll be mighty upset. These are decent people. Bring crap like this here again and you’ll pay dearly; unlike the easy ride you got today.”
Ortega began to vow retribution but discovered that his mouth didn’t work. That fucker had broken his jaw! He struggled to his feet, both dislocated arm and shattered jaw sending a barrage of pain through his nervous system.
The big man pointed to the knife embedded in Donal’s blood-soaked thigh. “Hey, you might want to get that looked at.”
Aspanu had regained consciousness and was looking around, blinking rapidly, clearly trying to make sense of the situation. A fierce grunt and head nodding from Ortega sent him scurrying towards a black Mercedes parked kerbside. Aspanu unlocked the car and then helped Ortega into the passenger seat. Donal, still bleeding profusely and glassy-eyed, was hauled up and pushed without ceremony onto the back seats. The Mercedes then sped away, causing an oncoming car to swerve out of its path.

12 Words with Rob Ashman

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It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy is the result.

Today, as he prepares for the release of Those That Remain on the 22nd June, Rob takes on the LifeOfCri.me 12 word challenge

Rules

Answers should be complete sentences, and completed in no more than 12 words (unless otherwise stated)

Contractions count. It’s = 2 words.

 

LOC: What can you tell us about your upcoming release Those That Remain?

RA: It’s set in Florida about a serial killer codenamed Mechanic

LOC: What was behind the decision to write a trilogy?

RA: A catastrophic lack of planning, or that’s what my wife says.

LOC: Whats the most surprising challenge you’ve faced in your writing career?

RA: Being unable to switch off, the voices in my head are relentless.

LOC: How would you sum up your writing process?

RA; Hanging onto the coattails of a story being told by others.

LOC: Describe your perfect day

RA: Having friends over for afternoon fizz, a curry and lots of nonsense.

LOC: What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?

RA: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.

LOC: Why?

RA: The interlacing of the plot lines is genius, it kept me gripped.

and finally Just for laughs….

LOC: Thanks to the author Anna Smith you’ve just woken up on stage in front of the judges of a TV talent show, with just A recorder, a bag of dirty laundry and a bottle of cheap wine.  What do you do?

RA: Play Frère Jacques, drink the wine and get off.

Lucas is coasting to retirement in a mundane Florida police precinct when a brutal serial killer, codenamed Mechanic, lands on his patch. 

Three years ago they thought Mechanic was dead. But Mechanic is very much alive and no family is safe from the savage, ritualistic murders that this sadistic killer is compelled to commit.

Mechanic is always one step ahead and Lucas is forced to operate outside the law. 

But who can he trust and who is Mechanic? 

Soon Lucas will learn that the truth is more terrifying than he could ever imagine and in order to find the answers he needs, he might just have to put his life on the line… 

 

 

Bloodhound Books will also be publishing the next two books in The Mechanic Trilogy over the course of 2017.  Keep your eyes peeled for more info by following us all on Twitter….

@LOCrime   @Bloodhoundbook  and @RobAshmanAuthor