Hello lovelies, today I’m bring you an excerpt from Conrad Jones’ latest novel, Deliver us from evil but first a little about the book:
Title: Deliver Us From Evil by Conrad Jones
Date Published: 26th March 2019
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Genre: Police Procedural
Detective Braddick is summoned to a horrendous crime scene, where it appears a double murder has taken place. The victims’ bodies are missing and the police have no clue as to their identities or who killed them.
As the investigation snowballs, the potential body count rises and the Major Investigation Team have little to go on until DNA evidence is examined.
There appears to be no motive for the dreadful murders until an ancient script is found daubed on the walls of a nearby property. As the clues are unravelled, Braddick and his team realise they are dealing with something they have never experienced before. Because this time they’re tracking evil itself…
The whirring sound of a power saw woke him from his sleep. He couldn’t tell where it was coming from – above or below. The flats were well soundproofed, but the high-pitched sound of the saw travelled through the structure, grating on his nerves. He checked his watch: it was three o’clock in the morning. What type of idiot would use a power tool at that time? One without a job, that’s who. A lot of the flats were occupied by wasters now. It hadn’t been like that when he’d moved in. The landlords had since dropped their standards and allowed the unemployed to rent apartments next to hard-working residents. Some of the newer families were African and Eastern European, and they all seemed to work hard. It was like the United Nations in the lifts but they all had jobs. The jobless were the problem. He didn’t think of himself as a snob, but the unemployed had lowered the standards in the tower block; it was noisier, dirtier and more dangerous. No one had used power tools in the middle of the night until the landlords allowed the unemployed to move in. The sound pierced the night again, louder this time. He tried to pinpoint where it was coming from. Below him, someone shouted angrily in a foreign language. A baby started crying, followed by more shouting. The saw whirred again, provoking more angry protests from below. He swore beneath his breath and threw the quilt off. He couldn’t sleep through that nonsense. Enough was enough.
Paul Skelton was angry. He was angry most of the time. Life was one monotonous pile of bullshit. Stupid people made him mad, and most of the people he met were very stupid. People who used power tools at night were incredibly stupid. He switched on the light and swung his legs out of bed. The saw had stopped, momentarily. He paused and listened; the baby downstairs had settled down and the angry voices were muffled and less frequent. He thought about climbing back into bed when a sudden thud on the ceiling made him jump; it was followed by the sound of something heavy being dragged across the floor. It wasn’t directly above his bedroom, but it was close. His heart quickened and he held his breath. Another thump rattled him.
‘You’re taking the piss, stupid idiot,’ Paul muttered. ‘That’s enough.’
He struggled into his tracksuit pants and pulled a vest over his head. The dragging sound began again. Then another thump. He stuffed his feet into his trainers and padded over to the door, muttering to himself about what he was going to do with that saw and where he was going to shove it. Then the lights went out.
‘I don’t believe this,’ he said, searching for the door handle.
His hands touched the cold metal and he opened the door, feeling his way through the darkness while his eyes adjusted. A yellow glow filtered through the blinds from the streetlights below. The power cut was localised to the tower block – it happened in the building quite a lot. Too often. The last time it had happened, it was off for over an hour. He reached the kitchen and fumbled his way to the bits-and-pieces drawer. There was a torch in there, somewhere amongst the adapters and old phone chargers. The baby started crying again, joined quickly by another. A man and woman started arguing on the floor below in a language he didn’t recognise. Getting to sleep tonight was going to be difficult. He found the torch and switched it on. The beam cut through the night and he aimed it at the ceiling. A circle of light shimmered. The knife block caught his eye and he thought about taking one, just in case, but dismissed the idea just as quick. A blade glinted in the light, its edge cold and sharp. Taking a blade to a noisy neighbour was a touch over the top. He would ask them politely to be quiet. If that didn’t work, he would give them a slap. Nothing too heavy, just a jab on the nose. Make their eyes water and they would think twice about building an extension in the middle of the night. Another heavy thump from above steeled him on. The idiots were not giving up on whatever project they had started.
Paul walked to his front door and unlocked it. He opened it and the cold night air rushed in, touching his exposed flesh with icy fingers. Goose bumps appeared on his arms and he felt a sense of dread growing inside him. He looked across the landing at the city below. The lights twinkled like yellow jewels on a sea of black ink. A gust of wind whistled along the landing, blowing a polystyrene cup towards the stone stairwell. It tumbled over and over before disappearing into the dark. He listened as it clattered down the steps. A deep chill made him shiver, his mind searching for excuses not to step out of the warmth into the darkness.
It occurred to him that the power cut would silence the saw. He thought about not going upstairs, about going back to bed and trying to sleep despite the noise. The saw whirred again and the hairs on his neck bristled. Obviously they had a battery-powered tool. That was it. The final straw. He shone his torch towards the stairs and tried to close the door quietly behind him but the wind caught it, slamming it loudly. The noise echoed through the building and he froze to the spot, waiting for a torrent of abuse to be shouted from the neighbours below. None came. He took a deep breath and moved down the landing.
The stairwell was pitch black and looked like the entrance to the underworld. He shone the torch up the stairs and the beam of light illuminated the concrete steps. Black blobs of chewing gum stained them and there were dark patches in the corners. The reek of urine drifted to him. He whispered a curse that was carried away on the wind. The entire block was turning into a giant toilet. He was going to make a complaint to the estate managers directly. There were so many landlords in the building that nothing got done unless they were bypassed. Another gust of wind urged him up the first tier of steps; the cold made the task more pressing. He turned on the landing and took the steps two at a time. The wind was stronger as he climbed, funnelled along the balcony by the angle of the roof. The stench grew stronger and it was darker on the top floor – the power of the streetlights became diluted as he climbed.
He moved quickly from the stairwell along the landing using the torch to light the way. The windows in the first flat were boarded up. Scorch marks reached from the top of the lintels to the roof. The flat had caught fire in suspicious circumstances months ago. Paul heard the wind whistling through the handrails. It was then that he caught the smell of cooking: garlic, onions, pork. He glanced at his watch again. Three fifteen. What was wrong with these people?
Paul marched past two more empty properties and stopped outside the door of number ninety. The curtains were clean and tidy and drawn. Everything was quiet. He wasn’t sure where the noise had been coming from but he knew it was above his flat somewhere. That meant it was either ninety or ninety-one. He walked to the flat next door and looked in through the window. The kitchen inside was stripped, only the sink remained. Electric wires hung from empty sockets and a pile of copper pipes were leaning in the corner. Tins of contract paint were stacked near the door. Paul could see it was being renovated and ruled it out as the source of the noise. The flats beyond were all boarded up. That meant that the occupants of number ninety were the culprits. He walked back and listened outside the door. Someone was gently humming. He recognised the tune but the name of it eluded him. The sound of the saw whirring made him jump.
‘Shit!’ he hissed. He knocked on the door and waited. Nothing happened. He knocked again, louder this time. Nothing. ‘Don’t pretend you’re not in,’ he muttered as he knocked again. There was no response.
Paul moved from the door and looked in through the windows. He aimed his torch through the cracks in the curtains, but he couldn’t see anything – the light was reflecting on the glass. He went back to the front door and opened the letter box. The odours of cooking drifted to him, making his mouth water. His hunger added insult to injury. He pointed the torch through the narrow gap and searched the hallway. There was no sign of life. He noticed some dark spots on the door near the kitchen that looked like fingerprints.
‘Hello!’ he shouted through the letter box. A clatter from the kitchen echoed up the hallway. Then it was still again. ‘Hello?’ he shouted again. He heard footsteps but it was impossible to make out where they were coming from. ‘I’ve come to ask you to keep the noise down,’ he shouted. ‘Using power tools at this time of night is ridiculous, mate!’ Paul looked through the letter box again. The beam of light scanned the walls but nothing moved. ‘I know you can hear me,’ he shouted. Another clatter came from the back of the flat. ‘You can talk to me, mate, or you can talk to the police. Make your mind up.’
There was no reply. Paul went back to window and tried to penetrate the blackness inside with the torch. It was impossible. The glare on the glass was blinding. He heard the front door open and he turned around.
‘About time,’ Paul said, angrily. The man stepped out and looked around. ‘You’ve woke up the whole building, mate. What do you think you’re playing at, using tools at this time of night?’
The man looked at him blankly. His eyes looked as black as the night. Paul felt uneasy. The man smiled and Paul saw dark smudges on his teeth. He was about to take a step backwards when, too late, a flash of dull metal registered. The hammer hit him upside the temple. He felt his knees buckle as the man swung again. A strong arm came from behind him, choking him. He felt himself being dragged inside the flat but he couldn’t shout for help. There were two attackers. One of his shoes became snagged on the sill and he kicked out to free it. The front door slammed closed and Paul knew he was in dire trouble. He struggled desperately to release the grip on his throat but his attacker was too strong. The first man raised the hammer again and brought it down on the top of Paul’s skull; there was a blinding flash. White-hot bolts of pain shot through his brain. This time, the lights went out completely.
Conrad Jones is a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. He spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which he classes as his home. He worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working his way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.
On March 20th 1993 he was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day he was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. He began to read anything crime related that he could get his hands on and links this experience with the desire to write books on the subject.
He signed a three book deal with London based publishers, Thames River Press. The Alec Ramsey series is now 7 books long with an average of 4.8 stars from over 2000 reviews. Conrad has also written The Soft Target series, which has received critical acclaim.