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First pages

Two years ago


“Ciaron, there’s nowhere for you to run.”

Grant’s legs burned from running.

But still Ciaron Brady kept climbing. Grant was terrified of heights, but he had no choice. He had to stay with him. Brady’s wife lay clinging to life in that hospital bed and there was no way Grant was going to let him get away.

With nowhere left to run Ciaron backed to the edge of the car park roof. Grant moved forward slowly with his hands up in front of him.

“Right let’s stay nice and calm. This doesn’t have to end badly for you.” Sweat gathered on Grant’s brow and he wiped it away with the palm of his hand. “Come away from there and we can talk.”

Instead of moving away, Ciaron climbed onto the ledge and shrugged his shoulders. “What’s the point?” He taunted Grant until his foot slipped on a damp patch left by that morning’s rain. Grant surged forward to see Ciaron dangling precariously from the ledge. Grant’s mind flashed back to the battered, broken face of Brady’s wife and her traumatised son who was terrified to move; completely frozen in fear of what his father might do to him next. Moments later Grant stared down at Brady’s body falling to the concrete far below as his colleagues raced to join him.


“I couldn’t get a hold of him. I was too late.”


Curtis Blanchard crouched low behind the van, stuffed his camera deep inside his pocket and scurried out the exit.

Chapter One

“Please I’ve got money. You don’t have to do this.”

His begging was beginning to give Ross a headache. The kind of headache that starts with a little niggle, call it a dull ache, then transforms into a full-on pounding, the kind that makes a person irritable. The filthy piece of shit was lying anyway. He didn’t have money. How could he? He’d just come out of prison and before that he was unemployed because of his ‘disability’. Ross did not have time for this. He wasn’t as prepared as he liked to be this time. He had allowed himself to get distracted and now therefore, he was behind schedule but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t take all the time he needed to enjoy it.


“I don’t understand what you want from me. I don’t even know who you are.”

Bertram Granger sat in his wheelchair; his hands and feet chained tightly. Twenty years as a care worker gave Granger access to the most vulnerable children in the area. Ross Blake snatched a handful of indecent photos of Granger abusing boys in his care and held them close to his face. Granger whimpered but when he tried to look away Ross angrily grabbed his face and forcibly turned the old man’s head.

“Look what YOU did.”

Two small drops of spit landed on Bertram Grangers cheek at speed as Ross growled.

Trickles of urine leaked onto Granger’s beige trousers when Ross pushed his face away causing the wheelchair to roll back, coming to a halt when the chain tightened. Ross opened his back pack and laid the knife into the font then fixed his cold stare at Granger who whined and trembled in his chair.

“How does it feel?” Ross growled.

“Please,” Granger begged. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done those things.”

“It’s too late for sorry now.”

Ross lifted his knife and ran his thumb along the shaft of the blade.

Urine dripped through the wheelchair onto the wooden floor of the church. Ross fixed his cold stare at Granger and lunged quickly then retreated and laughed at Granger’s terrified squeal. He moved closer to him and opened the pocket on the leg of his cargo pants. Ross flipped the switch and the clippers burst into life. Granger attempted to move his head as far away as he could when the blade made contact.

“Sit still!”

Ross shouted in his ear and tapped the base of the clippers on the back of his head.

All Bertram could do was obey his captor.

“Are you going to kill me?” Bertram Granger’s question surprised Ross.

He switched off the clippers and walked round in front of the wheelchair to see Granger’s eyes searching for mercy. Ross crouched down and leaned in close to his ear. The stench of stale sweat, and urine tore at the back of his throat.

“What do you think?”

Ross stood before hearing his answer and resumed shaving Granger’s head. The fact he was already balding made the job easier. There wasn’t much hair to clean up afterwards, not like the last one. Ross had felt like he was picking up hairs forever. He thrust the clippers into his back pack and reached for the straps on Granger’s wrists. The relief at his release was short lived. Granger’s begging exhilarated Ross. Those moments right before death filled him with the power he craved. Ross savoured every sound as Bertram Granger’s disgusting existence was extinguished. Now this man had been appropriately punished for his crimes.

Chapter Two

Katie Noble stood silently leaning her back on the door frame. She watched her father sit alone, staring out at their garden nursing single malt from the bottle of Glen Livet that Jo had given him at Christmas time. It was impossible to believe it was only Easter and her beautiful mother is dead. She had tried to be so positive for her family after her diagnosis because that was just Jo. She saw the best in everything and everyone.

Grant Noble poured another generous glass and sipped as he tightened the lid with one hand. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the warm glow as it trickled down his throat. Jo would have been pleased with the turn out he thought. ST Matthew’s church was packed for her funeral yesterday morning. Grant stared out at the drifts of daffodils coming to the end of their best for this year just as the tulips prepared to take their turn in the spotlight. They wouldn’t sit together this summer and share a glass of Prosecco on the patio to talk over their day. The barbeque would languish under its cover too. Grant didn’t intend to use it this year. It wouldn’t be right. Jo was always the heart of any of their social gatherings and that heart had been cruelly ripped out by breast cancer. Katie moved forward when she saw her father reach for the bottle once more.


“I knew you were there, spying on me.”

The leather creaked, and his chair spun to face her.


“Do you think you should maybe call it a day with the whisky?” Katie was concerned that her father was using it as a crutch. “Go to bed. Get some sleep.”

Grant levelled the pages of his diary against the edges of his desk and sniffed. Maybe she was right. His head was heavy, but it numbed the pain and the pain was all consuming. Grant had informed hundreds of relatives that their loved ones had died, murdered even but he’d never experienced this level of agony. Jo was his whole world. She was there next to him when he woke every day and she was with him while he drifted to sleep every night. Now she was gone. Katie was only trying to help but she didn’t understand his loss. He hoped she never would. She had lost her mother that was true but when your soul mate dies, a part of you dies with them.


“I’m wasting my time, aren’t I?”

“I’m sorry Katie,” he spoke in hushed tones. “Good night.”

Katie kissed his honey blond hair and squeezed his hand in hers.

“We’ll get through this.” Hot stinging tears erupted from her eyes. “We’ve got each other.”


All Grant could do was offer a nod with his eyes tight shut. He didn’t have room for her grief too, so he swallowed a large, soothing gulp and hoped his daughter would find someone else to lean on for now. She had Scott after all. He and Grant weren’t best buddies, but he stayed the right side of the law, so he gave his approval grudgingly. Jo even talked him into allowing Scott to stay over and the lad was here pretty much constantly now which Grant didn’t really mind if he was honest even if he and Scott were opposites. If Scott was any more laid back, he would be horizontal, and Grant was as buttoned up as it was possible to be but the one thing they had in common was that they both loved Katie.

Grant lifted Jo’s photo from his desk and trailed his finger across her smiling face then sniffed back his tears just as Oscar leapt onto his knee and nuzzled into his face, purring loudly before licking a salty tear from his cheek. The buzz from Grant’s phone startled the cat that immediately jumped back onto the floor. Grant rubbed his wet face and read the text which made him smile.


“Thanks, I appreciate that. Come over tomorrow that would be nice. It would be good to see you,” he replied.


Samantha had been his rock these past few short months and for Jo. She had supported Jo through the process too. She bathed and dressed her friend right until the end. She fed Jo her favourite pudding too when she became too tired to lift her fork and those forkfuls of chocolate fudge cake were glorious to her.

Another text landed before Samantha’s reply.


“Chin up Grant, it will get better.”


Grant’s father, retired superintendent Peter Noble never was great at expressing his feelings. He presumed Katie must have spoken to her Grandpa about him. It was probably around the time his own mother died that Grant developed his problem. He had no outlet for his grief then so took control of his emotions another way which remained with him to this day. It was barely noticeable to others he thought; the counting and lining things up but Jo noticed. She didn’t berate him or point out that it was weird the way Grant knew it was. He was an intelligent man. Of course it was weird to believe you could control the world by counting in sequence or straightening cutlery on the table. Now she was gone, and DI Grant Noble’s world was descending into darkness and he had no idea how or even if he wanted to find the light.

Chapter Three

“Jesus Christ.”

DS Simon Pearson cupped his cheeks in both hands and blew out one huge breath in disbelief.


“Not sure what version of the bible you had at home.” Dr Samantha Flynn- Palmer pointed to the body hung bloodied and stabbed on the intricately produced cross. “But that is most definitely NOT Jesus up there.”

She pinned her long, blonde hair in a messy bun before pulling up the hood of her white suit. Her comment distracted Simon from the macabre display.

“Do you know who he is yet?” she added.

“Convicted paedophile called Bertram Granger. He’s not long come out of prison for his role in organised child abuse ring in kids’ homes a few years ago.”

Samantha rummaged in her medical bag as she listened and raised her eyes at the realisation the other two victims they’d found in the past two weeks were also convicted paedophiles. Not only that, they had been similarly dispatched and hung up for the police to find.


“I’ve been a copper for twenty-five years and in all that time I’ve never seen anything that comes close to that.” Simon nodded at Bertram Granger’s corpse.


Bertram Granger’s body was naked and had been stabbed multiple times throughout his torso. His face was a bloodied, swollen mess from continued beating. His head had been completely shaved in preparation for his execution.

“He’s the third too,” Samantha commented. “What do you make of it? Do we have our very own serial killer here?”

Simon rubbed his hand over his neatly cropped brown hair, unable to take his eyes off Granger’s body. “I guess three elevates his status somewhat.”

“How do you know it’s a he?” Samantha teased. “Isn’t that a bit old fashioned to presume only a man is capable of such crimes?”

Her comment made Simon Pearson laugh.

“If this turns out be a woman I’ll buy you a slap-up dinner at the restaurant of your choice.”

Samantha beamed him a wide smile, her icy blue eyes twinkling from inside her hood.

“You’re on DS Pearson, consider your wager accepted.”


Dr Flynn-Palmer moved forward to examine the body more closely while it was still in situ. She noticed some slices to his hands which were most likely defensive wounds. She wouldn’t be able to say for sure his exact cause of death until he was on her table but if she had to take a guess? Nobody could survive that amount of stab wounds. It was then she could see the depth of what was most likely the killer cut. Granger’s throat had been slit virtually from ear to ear. He had then been left hanging on the cross, his life dripping out of him slowly. She wondered if his killer stayed to watch.

Simon Pearson felt in over his head with this one. The only DNA or fingerprints at the other two crimes belonged to the victims. This guy was clever and organised. He cleaned up after himself with methodical accuracy. Simon glanced round the three hundred and sixty degrees and could see nothing out of place in the church apart from Granger’s corpse dangling from the cross next to the pulpit. The very pulpit Rev Mitchell had conducted Jo Noble’s funeral two days ago. Simon allowed himself to consider that the guy was doing them a favour. Three less paedophiles in the world can only be good thing, right. DC Juliet Wilson tore into Simon’s train of thought.

She referred to her notebook and pointed to the pale, shell shocked lady from the WRI.

“Petra Bryson discovered the body early this morning but doesn’t remember seeing anyone else in the area. She’s pretty shaken up poor woman.”

“I’ll bet she’s shaken up,” Simon replied. “Thanks Juliet. If she’s given her statement could you take her home and maybe make her a cup of tea or something. Spend a bit of time with her. Maybe something will occur to her after she’s calmed own a bit.”

With a short flick of her shoulder length auburn hair, Juliet was gone leaving Simon wishing his boss was there.

Simon dialled Grant’s mobile number twice and hung up quickly both times but in the end, he had no choice but to call. He nibbled his thumb nail while he waited for an answer. When it went to voice mail part of him was relieved.

“Hey Grant, its Simon, hope you’re doing ok and Katie too of course. Look when you get this can you give me a call back. I really need to run something by you, thanks, and bye.”

“You’ve done the right thing.” Samantha’s interruption startled him.

“Christ woman, you nearly gave me a heart attack.”

“Sorry, was that Grant you were calling?”

Simon knew he could lie to hide his embarrassment at reaching out for help but decided it wasn’t worth it.

“God yes, this sick fuck has got me rattled.”

Samantha smiled.

“Best thing for Grant right now is to get back to work. I know Jo’s funeral was only two days ago but a man like Grant needs to keep busy. He needs routine.”

Before she could finish, Simon’s phone buzzed.

“Simon, I got your message. What’s going on?”

Grant’s head ached. Last night’s over indulgence was kicking him hard. He listened without interrupting while Simon filled him in on events of the past three weeks, the last three precious weeks of Jo’s life.

“Look, give me an hour to get ready and I’ll meet you at the station.”

“Tell me you’re not going to work dad.”

Katie had overheard Grant’s conversation.

“They need me with a case. It’s important but I can’t explain anything to you I’m sorry.” He kissed her cheek. “I don’t know when I’ll be back but first I’m going to hit the shower.”

Katie didn’t know which dad was worse; the moping bereft husband or the workaholic Detective Inspector.


“Is he coming?”

Simon grinned at Samantha’s question and punched the air lightly

“He’s meeting me at the station.” Simon started to walk away. “Let me know what you find on our friend over there.”

“I’ll be in touch.” Samantha replied.

Chapter Four

Ross Blake watched Father James Kerrigan’s performance and thought it worthy of an Oscar. The octogenarian priest sat in the dock sobbing like a baby at the allegation he had abused the girls and boys at his residential school in the nineteen seventies. He cared for those children with nothing but love and compassion he pleaded. He didn’t understand how these people could accuse him of such barbaric crimes. He would never beat a child for wetting the bed or forgetting to say their prayers and he was adamant through his tears that he would never touch a little girl inappropriately. His solicitor put it to the jury that his client was a man of God who had devoted his life to the church and had been closely involved with several children’s charities in this country and in Africa in his sixty years as a priest. He put it to them that the alleged victims in this case were solely driven by greed and saw Father Kerrigan as an easy mark. The climax of his performance came in the form of his unexpected dizzy spell on the stand. Bravo, Ross felt like calling. Proceedings were adjourned so that Father Kerrigan could take a break to receive medical attention. The frustration on the faces of his victims was painful for Ross to watch. He wanted to go to them, to comfort them and tell them that their abuser will not escape justice but knew he couldn’t.

Leaning heavily on his walking sticks Father Kerrigan brushed into Ross in the corridor and their eyes met for the first time. Ross recognised the empty, cold stare of a man like himself although each man chose his victims very differently. Ross channelled his violent cruelty for good whereas this monster preyed on the weak and the vulnerable.


“I’m sorry.” Father Kerrigan said. “I didn’t see you there.”

Ross nodded and offered him a half smile.

“No problem Father,” he answered because Ross could also deliver a great performance.

Chapter Five

DI Grant Noble hated the way people looked at him now. Most people didn’t know what to say and avoided him which was better than the forced awkward platitudes from those trapped in conversation with him. It was like being bereaved was a disease and the sufferer was to be treated as if they might break at any moment. Samantha was the only person who didn’t treat him differently. Samantha Flynn – Palmer was Jo’s best friend and therefore by default became Grant’s friend too. Until Samantha’s divorce from Rick ‘the prick’ Palmer the four of them socialised at least once sometimes twice a week. When four became three it still felt right. Samantha was like Jo in so many ways. They were both bubbly and positive in even the most awful circumstances which helped Grant these past few weeks more than he will ever be able to say. Samantha was also the only person who would sit with Grant after Jo’s death and just say nothing. She never felt the need to fill the silence with pointless words. All she did was just be with him so that he knew he wasn’t alone. That’s not to say they haven’t cried together. They’ve cried many times alone and together.


“Grant, it’s good to see you.” Simon reached out and shook his hand. “How are you? Sorry stupid question.”

Grant smiled at his awkwardness. A least he tries.

“I’m fine Simon thanks for asking. What have you got for me?”

Samantha hugged Grant and placed a simple soft kiss on his cheek then whispered in his ear.

“It’s good to see you.”

Grant frowned. “I’m not going to like this much am I?”

“I’m afraid not,” Simon warned him.

Simon handed Grant the folder containing the crime scene photos from all three of the murder sites. “I presume we are looking for the same man or men for this.”

He waited to allow Grant time to process the information. Grant’s eyes scanned each photo in turn unable to comprehend the level cruelty on display.

“Do we know the victims? Do we know any reason they would be selected for this kind of ritualistic punishment? Do we know of any link between them?”

“All three are convicted paedophiles recently released from prison.” Simon told him.

This peaked Grant’s interest. “Have you been to the prison yet? See if anything connects the victims apart from the obvious. Consider looking into cell mates, former cell mates, with a history of abuse.”

“I’ll take Juliet and get on it. What are we looking at here Grant? Have we got a vigilante on our hands?”

Grant exhaled loudly. “I hope not and the last thing we want is the press getting wind of this. Keep a tight lid on this until we know what we’re dealing with.”

Grant tidied the photos into the folder ensuring the edge of the photo lined up exactly with it and placed it carefully onto his desk then sat in his chair to organise his papers.

Samantha gently massaged Grant’s shoulder.

“It is great to see you here.”

Her touch felt so good he closed his eyes. Grant missed the physical side of his relationship with Jo. He missed the closeness of their sexual relationship and Samantha’s touch lit the flame again fleetingly.

“Listen I have to run but I will come to the house tonight. Is that ok for you? I’ll even cook.”

Grant smiled and nodded as she walked away, leaving him with the biggest case of his career sitting in that one innocent looking blue folder in front of him.

Chapter Six

Ross held tightly to Misty’s lead and wandered past the door for the third time. Father Kerrigan’s nephew was still there. What the hell could he be doing in there? All he had to do was drop him off for goodness sake then a horrifying thought occurred to Ross. Were they comparing notes? Was he a monster like his uncle? That warranted further investigation later. Tonight, was reserved for Father James Kerrigan.

Ross scurried for cover behind the rusty Volkswagen, owned by the young lad next door, he had established. David Latimer, twenty-two years old, student at Edinburgh University. He was away from home just now because it’s term time. His car still needs work he had discovered on a previous walk through the neighbourhood. David’s a nice lad Ross thought. They might even be friends under different circumstances. His mum and dad always go away this time every year for his Gran’s birthday. Ross couldn’t believe his luck when that popped up in conversation, he couldn’t remember how. Kerrigan’s other neighbour moved out six months ago, and the house has been on the market ever since. It’s not surprising it was having trouble being sold when you consider who lives next door. The stories in the press didn’t help. So, empty house left and empty house right, perfect. Kerrigan even had a car sitting in the driveway that he hadn’t been able to part with. The heavens really were looking down in approval. He watched Kerrigan’s nephew reverse slowly then turn into the main street, listening for the sound of its disappearance. When all he could hear was silence, Ross tied Misty to the lamp post and pulled on his black leather gloves and slung his back pack over his shoulder. He stood and scanned the darkness broken only by the light from that one single street lamp. The back door was his target because the bulb hadn’t been replaced in the security light there yet. Research is so vital in his work. He tucked his boots into his bag and moved quickly over the gravel. It wasn’t like he’d never felt pain on the soles of his feet before. The sharp gravel under his toes barely registered in comparison. He saw him through the window, sitting there drinking tea and watching television. Ross hoped he enjoyed it because it would be the last cup he would ever drink.


“Grieg, is that you?” Father James Kerrigan wondered why his nephew had a returned but was more concerned by the sound of the back-door opening. “Did you forget…?”

Father Kerrigan attempted to run from his intruder, but his running days left many years ago and his sticks couldn’t save him now.

Ross was disappointed it only took one blow to subdue him. He’d wanted more time to enjoy himself. Never mind he thought while he carried his quarry to ST John’s chapel.



“The door is open,” Grant shouted.

“It’s just me.” Samantha accidentally let the door slip from her grasp allowing it to slam behind her. “Sorry I’ve got my hands full here.”

Grant frowned then moved forwards to take some of the bags from her.

“I promised to cook for you, so I’ve brought everything for my famous chicken casserole with a twist. Call it my chicken twistarole if you will.”

“How are you Samantha?” Katie beamed.

Katie and Scott grabbed their jackets from the coat stand and headed for the door.

“Where are you two off to? Somewhere nice I hope?”

Samantha’s gaze lingered on Scott.

“Dinner with Grandpa, so you decide.” Katie laughed. “We’ll try not to be late.”

“You’re old enough to be his mother you do know that.” Grant teased Samantha after Katie and Scott left, making her blush.

She punched his arm playfully. Grant smiled and shook his head.


After wiping up the remainder of the sauce with his last slice of fresh crusty loaf then licking his thumb Grant lined his cutlery meticulously across his plate.

“That was delicious.” He sat back in his chair and caught Samantha’s eye. He smiled without saying anything else.

“What is it?” She reached her hand to her face. “Have I got food on me?”

“No I’m just glad you’re here.”

“Me too,” Her words were hushed. “I miss her.”

Grant closed his eyes tightly shut and sighed. “We all do.”

The pair sat in silence until Samantha’s fingers curled round Grant’s arm.

Grant peeled his arm away slowly to pour himself another glass of wine then offered the bottle to Samantha.

“No, I better not. I need to keep a clear head for tomorrow. I’ve got a bit of a back log to get through. Sadly, your bodies were not the only sudden deaths this week. There’s been a run of drug overdoses, more than the norm anyway. Drug guys are considering whether it’s a bad batch of heroin.”

“I didn’t know that sorry, yes you should get a good sleep but thanks for this. It was certainly better than the corned beef sandwich I had planned for tonight.”

Samantha stood to clear the plates.

“Leave them, you’ve done enough honestly.” Grant sank half the glass of wine before standing up to lift the plates. “Text me when you get home.”

“I will.”

She planted a short peck on his cheek then lingered to inhale the scent of his aftershave. Grant waited with the front door wide open until her car was completely out of the drive. He closed it quietly then leaned on it briefly and expelled a large deep breath. The dishes could wait. He opened his laptop to check his emails. He scrolled through the usual spam about erectile dysfunction and large tax refund scams then found one with no subject heading. He was about to delete as spam but thought better of it.


DI Grant Noble,

You don’t know me and to be honest I don’t really know you, but our paths almost crossed that night on the roof of the car park. You didn’t know I was there, but I saw you. For now, my reasons for being there aren’t important, well not to you anyway. He knew you had him cornered and he threatened to jump. I was like you I suppose I didn’t think he would either. He changed his mind though didn’t he when he slipped and had to cling on for dear life. What went through your mind DI Noble? Were you happy with your decision to let him fall? He was innocent until he was proven guilty, wasn’t he? I saw and heard everything. I’ll be in touch.



Grant waved the mouse over the attachment without clicking. He sank more of the wine and considered slamming the laptop shut. He tapped his fingers on the desk.

He counted in sequence, one two three four five, then again one two three four five and a third time one two three four five.


He refilled his wine glass to the brim and tapped his fingers together, one two three four five then again one two three four five.

He tapped his fore finger on each cheek in sequence again then inhaled a huge breath then blew it out and opened the attachment. The stranger wasn’t lying. He panicked but what the hell did he want and why has he waited two years to contact him?




Ross took out his phone and got the perfect picture for his collection. He even considered sending this one to all those people he’d seen in court. All those faces, twisted with the pain of what that monster had done to them could be helped with one look at his version of justice. He would sleep on it maybe. Ross closed the chapel gate as quietly as he could and slipped into the darkness to collect his dog. She would be getting worried about him.

Chapter Seven

Katie polished off her dessert as Peter Noble ordered coffees for the three of them.

“How’s your dad? I heard he’s back at work.”

“Simon called him about a case and that was it, leave finished, cancelled done and dusted.”

Katie shrugged her shoulders.

“Fair play to the man though.” Scott interrupted. “He knew they needed him so…”

“I know it’s just…” Katie tried to argue.

“Maybe it’s for the best,” Peter added. “It will keep his mind occupied.”

“Well I think it’s too soon.” Katie wiped cream from her lips and thanked the girl for her coffee. “Mum was only buried a few days ago.”

She stirred a cube of sugar into the cup.

“Having your dad sat at home won’t bring your mum back.”

Peter Noble had always been a practical man. Everything he did had a purpose. He didn’t have time for reflection and feelings. Looking forward is the only way.

“Did he say what the case was about?”

Peter still liked to know what was happening on what was once his patch. A small cancer scare of his own forced him into retirement three years ago, but the hunger was still very much there. He’d heard rumours of the murder of a couple of paedophiles and wondered if his son’s haste to return to work was connected to that.

“No, he doesn’t tell me about his work you know that. Samantha was there tonight to keep him company. I think I heard them say she was cooking for him.”

A broad grin crept over Peter’s face.

“That’s good, I like Samantha. I remember when she started at the station. Nobody could believe such an attractive woman could be so interested in death.”

He chuckled and found an ally in Scott who smirked at his comment.

“That was a bit sexist don’t you think?” Katie chirped.

Peter waved her comment away.

“There was no such thing when I was young. Men and women knew their place. They understood where they stood not like today. It’s politically correct this and for God’s sake don’t say that nonsense and they’ve got ears and eyes everywhere, watching you and waiting for you to slip up so they can take you to a tribunal or some such daft thing or other.”

“Grandpa, stop that. Women have fought hard for equality which incidentally still isn’t nearly there yet.”

Peter turned his attention on Scott.

“What do you say lad? I bet you never know whether you’re coming or going with them either eh?”

Katie loved her Grandpa, but his mind was still trapped in the nineteen seventies sometimes.

“Was everything ok with your meal?” The waitress smiled at Peter.

“Yes, my darling it was exquisite as ever. I’ll take the bill whenever you’re ready.”

“Certainly, Sir I’ll get that for you.”

Katie pushed her arms into her sleeves then flicked her hair out from her hood.

“You can’t call women darling either these days,’ she whispered.

“Tell her to stop making a fuss Scott.” Peter smiled.

All Katie could do was smile and shake her head at him. What else could she do? He wasn’t about to change at his age. She was just grateful his misogyny hadn’t rubbed off on her father.

Chapter Eight

For those first precious waking seconds Jo wasn’t gone. Every morning the memory would hit him like a brick soon after though. Grant rolled onto his back and stretched his arm over onto her side of the bed, cold and empty, while the pain washed over him once more. It was the buzzing of his phone that prevented him from dwelling too long.

“Hello Simon.” Grant glanced at his bedside clock which read eight thirty. “What’s up?” he asked and stifled a growing yawn. Polishing off that bottle of wine after reading that email had been a mistake.

“We’ve got another one. Can you come now? This one’s at ST John’s chapel and its even more gruesome. You have to see this to believe it.”

Grant sat up on the edge of his bed and quickly rubbed some warmth into his bare arms.

“Sorry I didn’t realise the time. Give me half an hour. I’ll meet you there. Is Samantha there already?”

“Yes she is. I’ll see you soon.”

Grant dropped his phone onto his bed and sighed as he scratched his head. He really didn’t need this but headed straight for the shower to waken him up a bit.


Simon stared at Father James Kerrigan’s body hung gutted and crucified at the front of the chapel. His bowels were draped across the font; trails of blood meeting in a river of red along the bottom and meandering through the front pews. His chest was ripped open and his heart was missing.


About me

Kerry Watts was born and grew up in the East of Scotland where she can still be found today scribbling her thoughts and ideas on paper. When she's not writing she's indulging in her other passion, horse racing. She love dogs, particularly rescue mutts and horses; people not so much. One day she's going to buy a race horse and call him Dexter King.

Q. Which writers inspire you?
Any writer who creates a character that stays with you long after you've closed the book is my inspiration. Characters like Dexter Morgan brought to life by Jeff Lindsay and Hannibal Lecter created by Thomas Harris spring to mind.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
I'm drawn to psychological thrillers because i am facinated by the human mind and what it is capable of. I am intrigued by the nature v nurture debate. I read the genre too and i love a great plot twist, something that makes me gasp and say 'I didn't see that coming.'
Q. Why do you write?
I began writing because I liked telling stories. Today I write because I have so many ideas and characters in my head I need to get them out there. I love it when a new character introduces themselves to me and invites me on their journey.

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