14 days left to nominate this book
Back to top

First pages

Chapter 1

“Go on, let me have just one. You know I’m good for it.”

"Get out of my face, Scobie," said Dave, elbowing the greasy haired scum-bag aside. He'd only gone to the bar for a beer, and the little shit had latched onto him like a limpet. Dave pushed through the crowds, making sure he had a firm grip on the neck of his bottle, it was wild in here tonight. The music pounded, and the place was packed with students, just the way he liked it. He bobbed his head in symphony with the driving base as he set his beer on a ledge overlooking the dance floor. He had a nice mellow buzz going, he'd done a line of coke earlier and dropped a tab, but he was careful not to get too wasted, after all, he was working.

"Please, Dave," said Scobie appearing beside him, begging as a hungry dog begs for scraps.

"Not a chance. You still owe me for the last lot, and I got my arse kicked for giving you that." He looked at the reed-thin junky and knew there was no point trying to get the money he was owed tonight. Any cash Scobie had was already flowing through his bloodstream. He made a mental note to visit the addict in the morning and refresh his memory in a way he wouldn’t forget. He was no skull cracker, but he could handle the likes of Scobie.

“Please?”

“Sod off.”

"Come on Dave. You can't leave me hanging, brother." Dave had enough and turned on the little guy who was doing the junky jig, his body being torn apart by the hunger flooding his veins. "I'm not your brother!" Get the fuck out of my face before I do something I shouldn't," he snarled. Scobie knew when to cut and run, which is precisely what he did. He scurried into the crowd, scratching at his crawling skin, and looking for all the world like a whipped dog. Dave felt his lip curl back with disgust. He hated the ones like Scobie, weak and whining. They had no self-respect, not a shred of shame left. Always with their hands out, looking for a free fix, waiting for the world to give them something. He swore he'd never end up like that, no matter what happened. He could handle the stuff; it didn't control him, he controlled it.

He turned back toward the dance floor and rested his elbow on the ledge. As he watched the dancers go wild to the music he took a swig of his beer. He could see some of his regular clients already covered in sweat, eyes closed, ripping it up as if they were the only ones out there throwing shapes. Glow sticks made magic arks in the darkness, and lights pulsed in time with the music. Another bottle landed on the ledge, and Dave looked around at the man who was holding it. The guy was in his late twenties and dressed well. He was about Dave's height but skinny. There was something in the way he held himself that said he was used to getting his way, an arrogance to his posture. Dave took a drink from his bottle and kept watching the dancers, but his mind was focused on the presence at his shoulder. He might just be a random punter, but Dave didn't think so. Deep in his gut, he knew the guy hadn't ended up standing in that spot by accident. This was his office, and everyone knew it. If you were looking for a little something to get a buzz on, he was the man to see.

From the corner of his eye, he watched the man's movements and waited. He was a stranger, Dave had never seen him before, and he was good with faces. He noticed the scar above the man's eye, and it looked vicious. There was a history behind that mug. The guy caught him watching and gave a grin.

“Alright, Buddy?”

“Alright,” he answered disinterestedly and took another drink. The man smiled as if he had said something funny then leaned in to whisper, or at least not yell, over the booming music.

“Have you seen Charlie around tonight?” Dave pulled his ear away from the man and looked carefully at the grinning face. Was he being set up? He prided himself on being one step ahead of the game, but this time he felt as if he were a goat tethered in a forest, was this guy a tiger waiting to pounce.

"Charlie?" he said, playing dumb but he knew what the man wanted.

"Yea, Charlie. My buddy over there thought you'd know where he was, if he was about." He looked the guy up and down, he didn't stand like a cop, and he didn't talk like one either. Even though he had a few deals of coke in his sock, he wasn't about to serve up class A to a complete stranger.

“Na man, Charlie stayed home tonight, too many Love Doves out.” Love Doves were ecstasy tabs branded with the image of a flying dove.

"Too bad, but I guess if doves are all there is then doves it'll have to be. How much for a couple?"

"Twenty," he said, turning his back to dance floor. Was the guy was going to deal or not, this was the moment of truth. Dave crossed his arms, and the man nodded. He turned, so they were shoulder to shoulder. Dave felt the folded note slip into his fingers. He fished two tabs from his inside jacket pocket and slipped them into the man's waiting hand. The whole transaction took less than ten seconds. The man winked, and popped the tablets in his mouth and washed them down with a swallow from his bottle. Without another word, he vanished into the crowd. Dave felt a hell of a lot better when he was gone. There was something unhinged about that guy; it was as if he were laughing at a joke only he was in on. He didn't like selling to people he didn't know, it was risky, but hell, drug-dealing was a risky business. He was still thinking about the guy when one of his regulars tapped him on the shoulder and made him jump. "Jesus, you put my heart crossways," he said, and that made the cute little red-head smile.

“Have you got any smoke?” she asked, clasping her hands behind her back which made her already sizeable boobs threaten to pop out of her top.

“For you, sweetheart, anything.” As he filled her order, he let her rub up against his leg for a discount. Somehow looking down into that bottomless pit of cleavage drove all thoughts of the guy with the knotty scar from his mind.

 

It was nearly three in the morning when the last song finished, and the street outside Zoe's was littered with drunks and spaced out teenagers. It was time for him to go home. Dave nodded to the security men as he left, they all knew him but pretended they didn't. The envelope he passed to the head doorman once a month assured his business went undisturbed, as long as he was discrete. Overall, it had been a good night. He had pockets stuffed with cash, and he'd had a good time getting it. He'd sunk half a dozen beers and hovered up at least four more lines of coke along with getting a fumble from the red-head in the disabled toilet. Life was good, man, really good. The cold night air carried the smell of chips and the beer he'd drank kicked his appetite into overdrive. His stomach screamed out for food, so he wandered in the direction of Kim's Kebab shop a few streets away. He was near the top of the road when he spotted the creepy guy from earlier leaning against a wall and munching on a burger. The bloke waved him over.

"Hey man, got any more of them little birdies?" he said through a mouthful of chewed beef.

"Sure," Dave said, walking toward the man. "How many do you want?" That was as far as he got because two knuckle-draggers rushed him from behind and bundled him down an alley. That was never an auspicious start to any encounter. He tried shouting for help, but one of the men drove a fist into his gut and knocked the wind right out of him. The guy eating the burger pushed himself away from the wall and followed as if nothing untoward were happening. Once they were deep in the dark lane, the two gorillas went to work on him. After the first dozen blows, he didn't feel much of anything. He was on the verge of passing out when the burger chewing guy stepped forward. Thankfully the other two stopped trying to kick his teeth in. Dave lay with his face against the cold concrete and struggled to draw a breath. Every time his chest moved it was like being stabbed from the inside. He tried to open his eyes, but there was something wrong with one of them. The world was fuzzy and unfocused. Fear made him push through the pain as he tried to focus on the skinny guy coming toward him. When the scared face was only inches away, he realised the man was still smiling. He finished the last of his burger and sucked the grease from his fingers. Then he said, "You tell Jimmy he's not keeping us out anymore. You got that?"

Dave tried to speak, but he couldn't make the words come out, so he nodded his head fractionally. Even that slight movement caused a riot of pain to explode inside his brain. As he moved, he felt something slap wetly against his cheek and refused to imagine what it might be. "Good," said the man, standing up. He paused and hunkered down again. Dave braced himself for more pain, but instead, he felt the man's hands on his body as he emptied his pockets of drugs. He took Dave’s wallet and even found the deals of coke stuffed inside his sock. As the scarred man stood to leave, he said, "And tell him to keep a leash on Pit-bull Byrne, or we'll put that doggy down for good." The guy delivered a final kick to Dave's head which mercifully turned out the lights in his brain, giving him temporary relief from the agony.

***

Jimmy picked up the phone on the second ring. In his line of work, calls at five in the morning were not uncommon. Being woken in the middle of the night happened so often, it felt completely normal. The letters PB flashed on the screen, and Jimmy knew exactly who was on the other end. “Yea,” he said, holding the phone to his ear without raising his head from the pillow.

“There’s been some trouble, Jimmy,” said the rasping voice.

“Where,” he asked.

“Zoe’s. Someone did a number on Dave.”

“Inside the club? How did that happen?”

"It was after the club closed. He was found down an alley. He's in bad shape by all accounts."

"Who called you?”

“One of the door guys.”

“Did they see what happened?”

“No. Apparently some girl went up the lane for a pee and came screaming out of it when she saw the body.”

“And there was no trouble in the club?”

“Not that they saw.”

“I guess you better go find out what happened. Where is he now?”

“They've taken him into James’ Street Accident and Emergency. I’m on my way over there now.”

"Grand. Give me a call in the morning. It's probably nothing. Knowing Dave, he tried to ride some bloke's bird."

"You might be right, boss. I’ll give a bell in the morning," said the gruff voice before hanging up. Jimmy put the phone down on the locker, beside three identical phones. He lay back and adjusted the pillow, looking for a cool spot. It always took him ages to find a comfortable position to sleep in, but when he did, he could stay in it for hours. Nancy said it was like being in bed with a concrete mixer when he was getting settled down for the night.

"Anything serious?" she asked turning off her bedside light.

"Someone gave Dave a few thumps over at Zoe's. It's nothing," he said, twirling round and round under the duvet. Slowly he got comfortable, and he felt his breathing deepen. His eyes closed and he could feel sleep coming. He'd never had a problem sleeping, only getting to sleep. Some say that's a sign of a clear conscience, but he knew different, it was the sign of no conscience at all. He still couldn't find a comfortable way to lie. Fuck Dave, anyway. If he was tired in the morning, he give the twat a proper beating.

***

Pete Byrne stuffed the phone into his pocket as the bushes whipped by his rain splattered windscreen. Far below, the city lights spread out like a blanket and the car's powerful engine purred as he negotiated the sharp bends dotting the narrow mountain road. He loved his car, a classic Jaguar XJ7. He swept through another turn and savoured the throb of the eight pistons working in perfect harmony. He could practically feel the tarmacadam through the soft leather steering wheel, and the ride was perfectly balanced. This wasn't a machine it was a work of art. Just looking at its long swooping curves made him breathe a little faster. It was elegance on four wheels, and then there was the name. Never had a car been so perfectly christened. Jaguar. Pete bore down on the city. Cocooned inside this beast of a car he felt like a big cat stalking its prey, but this was Pete's world, men were his victims.

Eventually, the road levelled out, and street-lamps illuminated the darkness. He eased up on the accelerator, letting the rumble of the engine die away until he could hear the hiss of his tyres passing over the wet road surface. This late at night the streets were empty, and the city was at its most beautiful. Streetlight sparkled through the raindrops dappling his windscreen making it look like the thing had been encrusted with liquid diamonds. In the distance, a couple walked hand in hand along the footpath, enjoying the shelter of the overhanging trees. To Pete, the scene could easily have been a stylised painting of Paris, by Matisse, or some other old master. He might well be an animal, but it didn't mean he was ignorant of beauty. He passed the strolling lovers, and his mind turned to the attack on Dave, which was, in essence, an attack on himself. Something stank about it. Jimmy might think it was just Dave getting his bell rung for trying it on with the wrong woman, but Pete wasn't so sure it was that simple. Everyone in Zoe's knew Dave was Pete's man and nobody messed with his crew. Whoever put Dave in the hospital had a serious set of balls on them, but that wouldn't stop Pete ripping the city apart to find them, nor would it stop him ripping whoever was responsible, in two.

Tonight, a storm was brewing, in reality, and metaphorically. Dave was nothing more than the first pregnant raindrops falling from a thunderous sky. Soon the heavens would open, and blood would run on the streets of Dublin. He felt his heart quicken and his mouth grew dry. It wasn't fear that made this happen but excitement. His moment was near, a battle was the only thing that made him feel alive, and he longed for it to arrive. His foot pushed down on the accelerator, and the tires bit into the road surface.

As he turned into the hospital car-park, the rain began to ease. There were loads of empty spaces, but he picked one well away from the entrance. He locked the car and strode toward the Accident and Emergency entrance, passing a drunk couple sitting in the Perspex smoking shelter, drawing deeply on glowing cigarette butts. The automatic door slid open, and a blast of warm air greeted him. The waiting room housed the usual assorted misfits, but the nurse's desk was empty. He slipped unnoticed into the treatment area and saw a row of beds to his left. The few staff on duty were too busy dealing with the patients to notice him. He quickly by-passed an old man connected to a beeping monitor and a woman receiving treatment from two nurses and a doctor. Toward the end of the row, a curtain was pulled all the way over, so he peeked inside. A man lay curled on the bed facing away from him, a man who had to be Dave. He slipped inside and shook the man by the shoulder.

"Dave, it's Pete," he whispered. A bandaged head turned toward him, and Pete wasn't so sure it was Dave after all. The guy's lips were purple and split like an overripe tomato. The face was twice the size it should have been, and slowly turning every colour under the sun. Half the man's head had been shaved and layered with plasters, stained red with dried blood. The rest of the head and one eye lay hidden under a swath of bandages. The exposed eye was the size and colour of a plum. It opened a fraction, and a bloodshot eyeball looked in his direction.

“Hey Pete,” croaked Dave.

“They did some job on you,” he said hunkering down to the level of the bed.

“They kicked my fucking eye out, Pete,” he said, his chest heaving as he tried to contain his emotions.

“Who did? Do you know who did this?”

“Two big apes, they jumped me from behind, but I saw the one who gave the orders. He said Jimmy wouldn't keep him out anymore, and he mentioned you too.”

“What?”

“I know, it made no sense.”

It might have made no sense to Dave, but it was starting to make a hell of a lot of sense to him. Jimmy had been completely wrong. This was nothing to do with Dave, he was just a message, and Pete thought he knew who might be sending it. He leaned forward, so he was over Dave's good eye and asked, "What did he look like, the one giving the orders?"

“He was a smaller than me, not built, but he looked hardy. He reminded me of a jockey. He had dark hair, cut tight at the back, late twenties I'd guess.”

"Did he have a lumpy scar over his left eye," asked Pete, pointing to a place about an inch above his left eye.

“Yea,” said Dave, licking his split-lips and opening the wounds which had only just started to heal. A dribble of fresh blood fell across his chin.

"That was Tony Griffin. I gave him that scar, but I should've cut his throat," snarled Pete. That incident had happened years ago, but he still remembered the sound of the bottle as it smashed across Tony's head. He could still hear how the little shit squealed as jagged glass dug lumps out of his flesh. Dave had told him all he needed to know now. It was time to get going before people started asking too many questions. He looked for Dave's clothes but couldn't find them. If the hospital staff found drugs in them, the coppers would be all over Dave like a rash. Pete trusted him to keep his mouth shut on most days, but considering the state he was in, today he might say something stupid.

“Where's the stuff? I'll take care of it,” Pete asked.

“They took it,” coughed Dave, spitting a wad of pink phloem on the bedclothes.

"Who?" he asked, concerned he was too late, and the doctors had already found what Dave had been carrying.

“Griffin.”

“Griffin lifted our gear?”

“And the cash,” said Dave.

“Fuck,” he said, getting to his feet. Pete pulled the curtain back an inch, checked that the coast was clear, and quickly stepped out. As he let the green drape fall back into place, he heard Dave croak, “Thanks for calling.”

Chapter 2

Tony Griffin strode down the pavement as if he owned it. Some people waved and called out greetings, while others crossed to the far side of the road. Dublin Council might think they were in charge of the city, but the truth of the matter was, nothing happened on these streets without the say-so of the Griffin brothers. Four boys, born in a tiny flat off Spring Garden Street, Mrs Griffin did her best to bring up her lads the right way, despite the occasional disruptive appearance of Mr Griffin. She may have wanted her boys to grow up righteous, but the society had other ideas. It was all well and good sticking to the high moral ground when your belly was full, and there were shoes on your feet, but being poor in the seventies was hard, and the Griffins were potless.

From the moment they could walk the four brothers learned to fight for everything they got, and when they had something, they fought twice as hard to keep it. Soon, all the kids knew if you challenged one Griffin, you took them all on. That was something which never changed and never would. Nobody knew the day or the hour that Mrs Griffin lost the battle for control of her lads, but the winner was evident to all. The streets of Dublin won, hands down. In the years that followed, they soaked up the cold logic of their new teacher, turning four raggedy little boys into kings if lowly ones. As it happened, they all still lived within ten minutes' walk of the flat they'd crawled around as bare-arsed toddlers. This part of the city was their home, but it was also their kingdom.

Today the mid-day rush was heavier than most days. The pavements were crammed with people. Tony was making his way to meet the others in "Little Nero's", a takeaway that had been their favourite for years. In the distance, Croke Park Stadium rose high in the sky. Tony looked up at the impressive building and grimaced. It galled him that, despite having lived in the shadow of this bastion of sport his entire life, it marked the limit of their territory. Here, their word was law, but they couldn't set one foot past that sports field, thanks to Jimmy Kingston but all of that was going to change. It was changing already.

After five minutes of bumping through the lunchtime rush he arrived at the café. Nero's was a traditional Italian chipper, which served a selection of fry’s from breakfast till late. Nicky, the owner, had been a permanent fixture behind the counter for as long as Tony could remember. As he entered, Nicky raised an oil dripping spatula in salute, and Tony nodded in reply. The front of the shop was dominated by a stainless-steel counter while the right-hand side of the room housed a row of high-backed booths with fixed tables. It resembled a train carriage, except that the ceiling had been decorated with plastic grapevines and string covered Chianti bottles. Tony could see the boys sitting in the last booth. Billy was facing him and while the others had their backs to the door. This close to lunch most of the tables were occupied, mainly by locals. One stranger ate alone, a paper laid beside his plate. Tony slid in beside Billy and noted that all three of his brothers had overflowing plates of fried food in front of them.

"He's here now, what's this about," Darren asked Billy who was the oldest of them and the boss of the crew. Darren wasn't one bit happy about being called for a meeting at short notice but his discomfort suited Tony just fine. Darren was far too fond of his own opinion for his liking. Billy looked across the table at Darren but continued chewing silently. For once Tony knew what was going on before Darren and he loved that. He was on the verge of telling his brother what he had done the night before, but Billy's hand fell on his forearm and squeezed.

“Did you see the guy by himself?” asked Billy, quietly.

“Yea, I spotted him. Don't know the face,” said Tony, looking over Darren’s shoulder. Billy waved at Nicky, and the owner hurried over.

“Is everything alright, lads?”

“That fella by himself, I’d say he's finished,” said Billy, shovelling a fork loaded with chips into his mouth.

"No worries," said Nicky, stalking down the row of booths and stopping beside the man who was reading the paper. A quiet conversation soon grew into a very loud one, and Nicky grabbed the guy by the back of his jacket and dragged him out the front door. A red-faced Nicky reappeared a few moments later and shut the door behind him. Tony stood up and looked at the young couple in the booth directly behind them. It took them a couple of seconds to realise they were being stared at. The boy stopped chewing with his mouth half-open when he saw Tony glaring down at him.

"I think that table's free now," he said, nodding toward the booth Nicky had just emptied. The guy's eyes widened and grabbed his plate. He shot into the aisle, but his girlfriend was a bit slower. He frowned at her and said, "Come on would yea!" When the couple were out of earshot, Tony sat back down, and Nicky slid a full Irish breakfast onto the table in front of him.

"Thanks, Nicky," he said to the owners back as he hurried away.

"Like I said, what's this about," said Darren, as if nothing had happened. Tony looked at Billy, who nodded, giving him the go-ahead to tell the story.

“I knocked over Pete’s man in Zoe's last night. Did a right job on him, sent Kingston a message he won’t forget,” Tony said, squirting red sauce all over his chips from a giant plastic tomato.

Darren dropped his hands to the table, “Ah Jesus, what have yea done? Did you know about this?” he asked Billy. The oldest brother said nothing which confirmed he did.

"We did what we had to, Darren, you know that," said Tony.

“I thought we agreed to leave well enough alone,” he said, looking dismayed.

Billy stopped eating and gave Darren a stare that would have made any other man shit his trousers. "You said to leave well enough alone, I never agreed to that. For years we've been picking up crumbs from Kingston's table, and it’s going to stop. We're peddling crap to junkies and the unemployed, while they shift tons of blow to the bankers and wankers of the city," he said, his look was withering, and his words were filled with passion. Tony looked at his older brother and felt the power radiating off him. At that moment he knew why Billy was the boss.

“It's hardly crumbs. We do alright, why do we have to start all this? You know where it'll end up,” said Darren, folding his arms.

“We look soft if we keep letting Jimmy's crew lord it over us, and soft won’t last long. If we don’t make a move against them, there are plenty willing to make a move on us. I say if we’ve got to fight anyway, we may as well fight for the whole damn thing,” Billy said, and Tony felt himself nodding in agreement.

Across the table Darren drew back, it was a move Tony had seen a million times before. Of the four brothers, Darren was the thinker; he was the cautious one. Tony could practically hear the cogs whirring around inside his head. Tony, on the other hand, was the doer, he took action and damn the consequences. Jump first and look later, it had always worked out so far, and it was such a rush. Billy was a lot like him, but he also listened to Darren, and that was what today was about. Billy had told Tony, they were all in, or they were all out. Simple as that.

“So what’s next? Run Kingston out of the city?” asked Darren sarcastically.

"A lovely idea but I can't see it happening. No, I was thinking of something a little more manageable," said Billy.

“And what would that be?”

"Take over everything north of the Liffey," said Billy with a smile.

“He'll never allow that,” said Darren, dismissing the idea with a wave of his hand.

“I’m fed up bowing and scraping to the likes of him. When have we ever let anyone tell us what we could or couldn’t do?” demanded Billy.

"It was different then; we were just kids. This is whole different ballgame."

"No, it's not, it's the same. We grafted our way out of the gutter, not because people said we could, we did it because everyone said we couldn't. If we stop now, it's a short ride back to the bottom. The only way is up, bro. Are you in or not?"

Darren looked around the table at the three faces waiting for his reply. He threw up his hands and said, “What flamen choice do I have, you’ve gone and started it anyway.”

Tony sniggered and loaded up his fork with food, “Great ain't it?”

“Great if you like starting world war three,” said Darren, glaring across the table.

Tony didn’t let his brothers anger get to him because for once he was on the inside, and Darren wasn’t. Billy had told him the plan, and he was the one trusted to make the first move. Tony could see it was driving Darren nuts, and that was good too. Let him feel the pain of bewilderment for a while. It would serve him right. Tony found it difficult to stop himself bouncing up and down in his seat, he felt as giddy as a school girl before a first date, partly because he knew they were going to war and partly because he'd hovered up a couple of lines of coke before he’d left his flat. He held no delusion about his drug use. He told himself no comfortable lies. The fact of the matter was simple, he liked being high, and he had more than enough cash to stay that way. Sometimes when he was buzzing, the ripping he felt in his brain faded away. That never-ending feeling of inadequacy dimmed beyond recognition, and he became normal. That's what drugs did for him. They brought normality into his life.

It was a stupid thing to wish for, normality, particularly if you were Tony Griffin. All his life he'd been different, different to the kids at school, different to his friends, even different than his brothers. It filled him with rage, all he wanted was to be accepted, but it never came. It was always Crazy Tony this and Psycho Tony that. In the end, he gave them what they expected, all of them, and he was good at it. Psycho seemed to suit him. Still, deep down, he was unhappy. Perhaps it was because he'd never married or had kids like the others but whatever the reason, he felt unfulfilled. The only way he seemed able to plug that hole was with pain, his pain, and others. He wanted to set fire to the world for no other reason than to watch it burn.

"Right, that’s decided then. Finish up, we've got a job to do," said Billy, pushing his plate away. He got up, and Tony had to stand to let him out of the booth. Billy walked to the counter and said, "What's the damage, Nicky?"

“Would you cop yourself on, you know your money's no good in here,” said Nicky, waving the notes away.

“Sound man you are,” said Billy, and peeled a fifty from a roll two inches thick and laid it on the counter. “A drink for the lads,” he said, with a wink. It was a pantomime they played out over and over again. It was a respect thing. As long as Nicky didn't charge, Billy didn't mind paying his way, but the first day a bill landed on his table, “Little Nero's” would burn to the ground.

"Come on Tony," called Billy, leading Terrence and Darren out the door.

He wasn't halfway through his breakfast, and he was starving. "I'm not finished," he said, but they didn't give a damn, they just left him behind. “For fuck sake,” he mumbled pushing his unfinished meal away and hurried after them.

***

Jimmy was struggling to get the back of his new I-phone. His nails couldn't get a grip on the cover, and it was driving him nuts. He had to change devices every few weeks, and it was a royal pain in the arse. Mobiles had changed their business drastically. In the past, the biggest problem with drug dealing was being stuck somewhere so your customers could find you. When they could find you, the cops could find you too. That was all different now. You could be on the move and yet be completely contactable. It meant that the cops had a hell of a time keeping them under surveillance but it didn’t pay to be complacent. With new technology came new threats. The guards could track and record your conversations if they got a lock on your phone. It was as good as letting them sit on your shoulder. That's why he regularly changed the ones he used. His incoming calls were forwarded through devices stashed all over the city. It took time, but it was time well spent.

"Flaming thing," he swore softly, and someone knocked at the door. He heard Nancy go to answer it. Pete appeared in the kitchen a few moments later and pulled out a seat. Jimmy glanced up at him and knew whatever news he was bringing, it wasn't great. "So what happened at Zoe's?" Jimmy asked as he finally got the plastic cover to pop away from the back of the phone. He tapped out the battery and slid in a new sim card into place.

“Well it wasn’t a jealous husband or some random punter that did a number on Dave, it was Tony Griffin,” Pete said folding his arms across his chest and leaning back in the chair.

“Griffin? Are you sure?”

“Yea, Dave described him down to a tee.”

“Why the hell is Tony after Dave?”

“I don’t think Dave was the target, more like the message.”

“What are you talking about?” Jimmy asked, slipping the battery back in and snapping the cover in place.

“Griffin took the cash and drugs Dave was carrying and left a message for you. He said you won’t keep them out anymore.”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

I have spent most of my life standing behind one bar or another. You see every side of humanity from that vantage point, sometimes nice, sometimes nasty, and sometimes terrifying. After years of telling my stories, I decided to take the plunge, and write a few down. Honeysuckle Lane was my first full-length novel and was taken on by Kindle Press in 2015. Thirty Pieces of Silver is my second and I hope it follows in its big brother's shoes. Hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
You can read more of my short stories on my blog, "Where it began." I am very easy to find, just type in my name, apparently, I am the only Squid McFinnigan on the internet.
Q. When did you decide to become a writer?
A.
I have always had stories running around in my head, writing them down seemed to be the only way to get them to behave.
Q. Which writers inspire you?
A.
I love a writer that spins a great story. Stephen King has been one man that has kept me on the edge of my seat more than once. His writing grabs you by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let go. He is the master.

Next in:
Hot & Trending
One More Moon
Fate and Luck - Two Sides of the Same Coin...
Love & Other Phobias
Love was the biggest fear of all.
FRACTURED
Michael Crichton meets Tom Clancy