Hello lovelies! Today on my blog, I have an exclusive excerpt from Ray Britain’s latest novel Forgotten Lives as part of the blog tour organised by Emma at Damppebbles Blog tours but first a little about the book:
Title: Forgotten Lives by Ray Britain
Date Published: 10th January 2021
Genre: Police Procedural
A man is murdered with quiet efficiency on his doorstep. A strange emblem left behind suggests a gang killing but when more bodies are found with the same emblem, and one of them a cop, DCI Doug Stirling’s investigation takes a sinister turn.
But what linked the victims in life, and now in death?
When more deaths are uncovered, miles away and years apart, but all with the same emblem left behind, pressure mounts on Stirling. Is it the work of the same person? If so, why are they killing again, and why here? One thing is clear. The killer is highly skilled, ruthless, and always one step ahead of the investigation. Is someone feeding information to them?
Working in a crippling heatwave with too few investigators, too many questions and not enough answers, when wild media speculation of a vigilante at work sparks copycat attacks, demonstrations for justice and with politicians fearing riots, Stirling needs a result – fast!
Meanwhile, Stirling’s private life is falling apart, not helped when Lena Novak of the National Crime Agency is assigned to his team. But is she all that she seems? Things could not get worse. Stirling takes a call from a retired cop. Things just got worse!
As Stirling closes in on the killer he finds the killer’s trademark inside his home – he is being targeted.
The rider’s eyes flinched warily as the door was opened by a woman. Behind her, a floodtide of music tumbled and cursed its way down the stairs to join battle with noise blaring from a half-open door at the far end of the hallway. The air around them pulsed under the throb of a penetrating bass beat.
Unable to hear the rider speak, the woman shook her head and walked to the foot of the stairs where she drew in a deep breath and hurled her words upwards, ‘’Wayne! Turn that bloody music down!’
The music continued.
She looked at the delivery rider, rolled her eyes and shouted harshly down the hallway. ‘Mickey! It’s a pizza delivery. You ordered pizzas?’
There was no answer, and no one appeared.
With a hissed obscenity she turned and left the helmeted rider standing at the door, two pizza cartons resting in the crook of an arm, as she walked barefoot along the hallway where she pushed open the door. A fresh blast of excited screams from a television show swept along the hallway and pushed past the rider, out into the street.
The rider glanced back down the driveway, concerned that the noise might draw the attention of neighbours or a passer-by.
An aggressive exchange of words was followed by the appearance of a broad-shouldered man in an open-neck shirt drawn tight over his muscled bulk. Around his neck hung a heavy gold chain, half-hidden amongst a mat of dark curly hair. He glared belligerently at the leather-clad figure in the porch, tossed an abusive remark at the woman and swaggered towards the door with the bow-shouldered gait of a body builder.
Mickey McBride stood in front of the delivery rider and stared hard into the flat, impenetrable eyes that gazed at him from behind the half-raised visor of the crash helmet.
‘Who are you?’ demanded McBride, aggressively. ‘I ain’t order no pizzas!’
Balancing the boxes on one arm, the rider held up a delivery note as explanation.
‘I only delivers them mate. Two pizzas for a Mickey McBride at this address, all paid for. That you?’
Behind McBride, the woman leant against the door frame, watching the television while glancing occasionally towards the front door until a roar of laughter drew her into the room and out of sight. Seemingly oblivious to the noise around him, McBride’s nostrils flared at the smell of hot cheese and spiced meats. He swallowed instinctively as his eyes slid greedily to the boxes.
‘Paid for, you say?’ he demanded, and looked back at the eyes above the neckerchief.
The rider nodded, tucked the delivery slip into a pocket of the leather jacket and held the boxes out for McBride to take.
McBride gave a sly grin. ‘Well, seems a shame to let ‘em go to waste,’ and put out his hands to receive the boxes. As he did so his eyes narrowed suspiciously, and he peered over the motor-cyclist’s shoulder.
‘Ain’t you a bit old to be delivering pizzas? Where’s your bike?’
The rider let the boxes tilt forwards. Instinctively, McBride grabbed for his falling prize with both hands.
He barely saw the rider’s right hand strike upwards. Barely registered the blow to his ribs as thin, cold steel parted flesh and muscle to pierce his heart, where it was deftly twisted, then withdrawn with a soft, sucking noise.
McBride did feel an explosion of pain fill his chest. The immediate, overwhelming loss of control. Still clutching the boxes, he gulped fish-like for air that would not come and fell to his knees. The rider bent forward and spoke into the dying man’s ear.
Bewildered, McBride looked up into the blue eyes studying him with a cold detachment. A faint glimmer of recognition flickered briefly in McBride’s eyes but was extinguished as his ruined heart emptied, and he pitched forward across the threshold of his home.
The helmeted figure stepped aside and stared down the hall, the knife ready. The woman was still out of sight. Another swell of noise washed down the hallway and over the prone body, smothering the soft snap of a blade being returned to its concealed sheath.
The rider pulled down the visor, turned, and walked away. Nearby, a motorcycle was started quietly and slowly ridden away.
A woman’s scream tore the air.
If that has piqued your interest, you can buy your copy here:
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3fvjmtg
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kYeT3u
About The Author:
Ray Britain’s second novel ‘Forgotten Lives’ follows closely on from ‘The Last Thread’ (2017) with a new investigation for DCI Doug Stirling, the toughest of his career.
As a police Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray led specialist investigations. He was also a Hostage & Crisis Intervention Negotiator – a voluntary role – responding to hostage situations, many firearms incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily. His roles took him to the USA, India, Europe, Australia and elsewhere, receiving Commendations in recognition for his work.
Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader at the heart of a complex, fast moving investigation with all of its uncertainties, stresses and frustrations, and of the dark, bitter sadness’s of people’s lives.
Ray also worked with the Serious Fraud Office and the Home Office, London, and with the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate.
When not writing, Ray might be found mountain hiking, following rugby, skiing, reading, sailing, or generally keeping fit..