Published by Aria
Available in ebook and paperback (10 January 2019)
About the Book
He’s watching… He’s waiting… Who’s next?
Buried in a woodland grave are a mother and her child. One is alive. One is dead. DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford is assigned by her boss, DI Geoffrey Hunter to assist with the missing person investigation, where mothers and children are being snatched in broad daylight.
As more pairs go missing, the pressure mounts. Leads are going cold. Suspects are identified but have they got the right person? Can Charlie stop the sadistic killer whose only wish is to punish those deemed to have committed a wrong? Or will she herself unwittingly become a victim.
A gripping, heart stopping serial killer read not for the faint hearted.. Perfect for the fans of Karin Slaughter.
Charlie Stafford was late. She was always late. Things just happened in front of her. Today she’d helped the ticket collector catch a wayward youth who’d jumped the barriers to escape paying his fare. Last Wednesday it was the pedal cyclist knocked from his bike and on Thursday it had been the old lady crying because she’d lost her purse. Tomorrow it would be something else. However hard she tried to be on time, things just happened!
It had all started on 6th July 2007 when, at the age of twenty, in front of the Commissioner no less, she’d turned up late for her own passing-out parade, having stumbled across two recruits squaring up to each other in one of the site tower blocks. It had been the last ever ceremony to be held in front of the statue of Sir Robert Peel, founder of the Metropolitan police, at Hendon Training school before it closed its doors to new trainees. She hadn’t lived it down.
Nine years on and she was still always late. Nothing had changed!
She was either labelled a ‘shit magnet’ by some of her lazier colleagues or a ‘thief-taker’ by conscientious officers, jealous of the uncanny way she came across crime and criminals. One thing that was accepted, however, was that you never had a quiet day if you were working with Charlie.
She broke into a slow jog now, her favourite trainers squeaking slightly at the extra pressure. It was Monday and she hated Mondays; Mondays and Wednesdays, but today somehow felt different. She’d been on a course at the end of the previous week. Maybe it was having that extra day off that had made the atmosphere strangely impatient, and maybe, added to the weekend, it was being away for slightly longer? She didn’t know what it was but there was something in the air; a new challenge, maybe a new case to pit her wits against.
Lambeth HQ came into sight. She glanced towards its imposing glass frontage, squinting slightly as the early morning sun reflected against the buildings opposite. It always looked impressive in the mornings, set back a couple of hundred yards from the River Thames on the south side of London; its upper floors looking across towards the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. It was home to the various squads and departments that serviced the Borough of Lambeth, with its twenty-seven square kilometres of policing challenges: ranging from the London Eye and South Bank in the north, through the clubs and eateries of Vauxhall and Clapham, to the shopping and housing areas of Brixton and Streatham in the south.
She glanced up at the glass trying to identify her office on the fourth floor, before checking her watch. Her team would all be in by now.
Vaulting the cycle railing outside HQ, she stared at her reflection in the glass of the revolving doors, realizing yet again that she’d forgotten to calm the tuft of unruly hair that always presented itself, like the horn of a rhino, at the front of her head. Even short hair managed to defeat her in the mornings. She checked herself critically. Plain, but with potential; or so her mother said. Medium height and athletic, but with a few excess pounds to shed. Skin: clear but rather pasty-looking; time to get out into the countryside for some exercise and adrenalin. As for her clothes; crumpled, with dirty knees and elbows from her tussle with the fare-dodger. All in all, she had to admit that today she did look scruffy, even by her own standards.
Her spirits dipped slightly. Damn, she’d get another dressing-down from her boss, Hunter. Running her hands over her head in a futile attempt to calm the stubborn quiff, she doubted whether, even if she were the commander of Lambeth Borough, he would turn a blind eye to her appearance today.
My thanks to Vicky of Aria for providing the extract and for the tour invitation.
About the Author
With a Metropolitan Police career spanning 35 years Sarah has spent her adulthood surrounded by victims, criminals and police officers. She continues to work and lives in London with her partner and has three older daughters.