Huge thanks to Sarah Hardy of #BloodhoundBooks for the invitation to be a part of the blog tour. unfortunately, due to a toppling review pile, I wasn’t able to read the book prior to the tour but I’ve heard so many good things about this author that I was delighted to offer an excerpt from the book to whet your appetite (mine definitely has been whetted!)
What the blurb says:
DCI Bennett faces the most harrowing case of his career. A psychopath, who escaped capture, is hell-bent on revenge and executes a series of events that will not only impact on Bennett physically but will have emotional and professional consequences.
A body is found with its fingers amputated, then an investigative journalist, embroiled in the pornography and drugs scene, is murdered.
Bennett’s team is faced with some baffling evidence. Hatpins and bicycle spokes become pivotal to the inquiry but the police struggle to connect the evidence.
It is only when a Detective Sergeant from the team is kidnapped that Bennett realises that he is the true target.
Can Bennett solve the case before it’s too late? How many people will he lose in the process?
“There are moments when I feel that the Shylocks, the Judases, and even the Devil are broken spokes in the great wheel of good which shall in due time be made whole.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968)
Prologue May 2017
Cyril never thought he would return to the café, La Cigogne, nor to the beautiful town of Munster, set in the Haut-Rhin department of France, but here he was again. He had promised himself never to return but owing to his recent experiences, he had been drawn there, not pulled kicking and screaming, but seduced by his memories of its stunning beauty, it’s quiet and of course, its wine. If you were planning to drink to forget, then you could be in no better place to receive the offerings from Bacchus, for forget he must or he knew that he was finished professionally.
The café offered a moment’s respite from a busy morning’s walk; his hangover had cleared slowly leaving only a hunger for a late morning meal. He stared out across the square as the traffic flowed past, some vehicles rumbling along the ancient cobbles whilst others ran more quietly along the smooth tarmac. Each individual sound rekindled a memory, opened a window to the last occasion he had sat at this spot. He looked up onto the stacks of twigs and branches perched high on the towering chimneystacks of the council offices, the empty nests a sharp reminder of his personal loss. Ironically, the storks would return in the early summer, a legal transit from the African continent.
The last time he had been there it had been so different in many ways, the weather kinder and the traffic heavier. The constant rattle had competed with the continuous clattering of the storks’ beaks high in their branch-filled, chimney-top nests. He remembered that the cacophony seemed to bring a certain contentment, where the natural world and that created by man over the centuries amalgamated somehow into a tranquil harmony.
The sound of a car horn brought him briefly back to the present. He wrapped his scarf a little more tightly and relaxed, helped by the e-cigarette held between his lips. He closed his eyes and visualised the storks, long of limb, as they flew in majestic circles from high above before alighting on their branch-woven nests on what appeared to be dislocated knees, ready to regurgitate their stomach contents to their young’s ever pleading, wide-open beaks.
He shuffled his feet with an unease that could only come from a man entrapped in an inner guilt and regret. He casually moved theremaining piece of flammekueche onto his fork; the Munster cheese, onion and small pieces of bacon tasted wonderful. He followed it with a sip of Alsace white wine whilst glancing across the Place du Marché and towards the church, its towering walls dwarfing the buildings to its right. He checked the clock against his watch as he always did with any clock he saw. He had been there an hour. It was the fifth day of his compulsory holiday, his prescribed and ordered rest. Probably, if he were to be honest, this was why he had returned to the security of the past, to a place he knew so well before it had happened; it was his way of protesting against himself, it was his way of purging the memory of recent events whilst needing the security of familiarity.
It was the sudden speed of the movement that caught the extremity of his peripheral vision, waking his brain from the shadows of the recent past. The hawk swooped diagonally from high to low across the stone façade of the church building before crashing into its victim, an unsuspecting pigeon that had just left the security of a high ledge. There was a natural explosion resulting in myriad loose, grey and white feathers that cascaded like unwanted confetti in front of the church and onto the steps. The cruelty of nature made Cyril focus on the fine, fluttering feathers, each holding his attention until they all came to rest. As the final feather fell, his memory started to replay the last few difficult months…he’d never lost a colleague before. His mind invoked the once significant and unwelcome receipt of a white feather and he shuddered. He knew everyone had done what was humanly possible, no one had stood back; there was only bravery and professionalism but that hadn’t been enough. He had played the final incidents of the case over and over again and each time a small part of him crumbled and died.
Ohhhhhh bet you want to get on over and get reading this book now after that FAB opening!
You can by heading on over to Amazon via the link below and clicking!
About the author:
You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route.
Malcolm worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember.
Malcolm has written a number of successful short stories and has four books now available. Presently he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm has never lost his love for his home county, a passion that is reflected in the settings for all three novels.
Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It’s a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the main character in his latest novel.