I already have a couple of the previous books in this series on my ‘Want To Read’ shelf, so I have now made it the full suite and similarly logged them all with the same marker, so that they can be read in sequence.
Thanks once again to Aria Fiction, in their continued support for Fiction Books and to NetGalley for the download of this complimentary copy. It is always a pleasure to be involved with their amazing Blog Tours.
‘KILLING TIME‘ – (DCI EVE CLAY #4)
DCI Eve Clay is on her way to interview the victim, when another case is called in. Two Polish migrant workers have been found dead in their burnt out flat. But Clay soon realizes that this is no normal house fire. The men’s bodies were set alight, after the killer had clinically removed both of their hearts.
Then reports come in that the Czech girl’s mother has now also disappeared.
As Clay and her team work to make sense of these crimes, they receive a call saying there will be another murder before the day ends.
And this time, the body count will only go up.
He was a teacher for twenty years and for the last thirteen years he has worked with children with severe learning difficulties.
Before his first adult crime novel The Sixth Soul was published in 2013, he had spent most of his time as a writer producing three children’s novels and theatre plays, receiving a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for best new play of the year.
He is the author of What She Saw, which was longlisted for a CWA Gold Dagger.
Blood Mist, the first in his DCI Eve Clay series, went to number one in the Australian kindle chart.
Keep up with all the latest news at Mark’s website
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It doesn’t matter what the stone cold truth is, what people believe is the thing that really drives the bus. This is what I like to explore in my novels. People, in crisis, good versus evil, levels of distorted and different consciousness, the power of belief to crank up the horrific way that people treat each other.
This short extract from the book, was chosen by Aria Fiction, as my feature spot on the Blog Tour. Check out some of the other excerpts and articles, and see if you can begin to piece the puzzle together!
“On the corner of Queens Drive and Allerton Road, she turned her siren on. In her head, Clay converted the last few minutes into a coherent sequence of events.
‘Stay on the line, Gina,’ said Clay. ‘My mind’s racing.’
The call from switchboard had come as she dropped her four-year-old son Philip off at St Swithin’s Catholic Primary School. Marta Ondřej had been discovered in Wavertree Mystery Park.
As she passed through the red light at Penny Lane, two lines of city-bound traffic parted to the left and right to make a channel for her as she raced towards the junction of Smithdown Road and Grant Avenue. Drivers stuck at the red light there edged forward nervously and she was forced to slow down to make it through safely.
Marta’s face – the image Clay had circulated from the child’s passport photograph following her disappearance and abduction – filled her mind: fourteen years of age, thick dark hair, olive skin, large brown unsmiling eyes, and a distinct air of vulnerability. Clay wondered with mounting dread what had happened to her in the eight days since she had gone missing.
An oncoming bus squealed to a sudden halt as Clay turned sharply into Grant Avenue and saw the black railings of the Wavertree Mystery Park. She slowed down and examined the green space behind the black railings, vast and empty and swathed in mist.
‘Jesus wept,’ said Riley. ‘Are you OK?’
Clay had left Philip at the doors of the infant department with his reception teacher’s classroom assistant, explained it was an emergency…
‘I think I can see someone, Gina, but I can’t tell from here if they’re male or female. Call the translator, please.’
‘Translator’s already on her way. Kate Nowak.’
Good, thought Clay. The translator they’d used since the day of Marta’s disappearance was efficient and discreet.’
‘See you there,’ said Riley.
Clay turned off her siren and parked on the pavement along-side a gate into the wide-open park. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a brown robe, head-dress and sandals on the back seat: the costume her son was supposed to wear for the rehearsal of the nativity play today. He was Joseph, but she’d forgotten to hand it over to him as she dropped him off.
Frosted grass crunched like breaking glass beneath Clay’s feet as she sprinted in the direction of the lone figure. A gang of seagulls erupted into the air as she hurried into their space and, with each step nearer, Clay saw the figure shift from its feet to its knees.
It placed its hands in front of itself, pressed its face into the earth and appeared to be eating snow and ice.
Sirens advanced from three directions and cold air over-whelmed her senses as the figure beyond her breath became a small, thin female. The black anorak, green skirt and black ankle boots that she had been dressed in on the day of her disappearance had been replaced by a pair of pyjamas.
She lifted her face from the snow and smacked her lips.
The girl’s thick black hair was gone and her head was covered with rough patches of stubble. Clay’s heart sank further when she read deadness in the girl’s face and a mesmerised glaze in her eyes. You look like you’ve just come out of a concentration camp, thought Clay, sickness hitting her hard at the core.
It was Marta Ondřej, a child Clay believed she would never see alive.
Clay slowed down and stopped, maintaining a distance from the child. A wave of pure relief swept through her as, double-checking the face, she confirmed to herself that she was metres away from the missing girl they’d been searching for.
‘Marta,’ said Clay with kindness, as she edged closer, her hands held up in semi-surrender. ‘Marta Ondřej.’
Her mother had confirmed that her daughter had almost no English.
‘Marta.’ Clay smiled as she stooped down.
Slowly, Marta stood up and turned her back on Clay.
As she walked around Marta, Clay held out her hands and summoned up all her strength to smile. ‘Marta? Marta Ondřej? It’s OK, Marta. I’m a policewoman.’
Clay recalled the second statement that Marta’s mother had made about her daughter. Marta is simple, a retard, not full in the head. She is fourteen in years but four in the head. She is a child.
She indicated herself, smiled and spoke the words of Czech she had learned for this eventuality. ‘Policistka.
‘She checked Marta’s features against the photograph that had been circulated within hours of her abduction. The child shivered in the morning cold and continued to look through Clay in silence. Marta turned her head slightly at the sound of footsteps heading towards her, then looked round at Clay with terror.
‘Keep back!’ said Clay.
Detective Sergeant Karl Stone and Detective Sergeant Gina Riley stopped at a short distance. Clay looked down at the child’s fists, clenched at the sides of her body, and saw a silver foil at her feet.
‘Eve?’ Riley whispered through the mist. ‘Central switchboard has the mobile number of the woman who found Marta and called 999. But she’s switched her phone off.’
‘Do we have a name for her yet?’ asked Clay, reaching a hand out towards Marta, imagining her own son in a foreign country, abducted and missing for a week and approached by the police. ‘Please don’t be frightened, Marta. Please, Marta.’
The child held out her left hand, touched Clay’s fingers.”