Novels 4 Adults
The prequel novella to SIX DEAD MEN
Haddington, near Edinburgh – it’s 1975. Here change is a process slowed by tradition and the luxury of a certain distance from the swift progress of the rest of the world. Robert Deed’s 13th birthday approaches. On the cusp of adulthood, this teenager looks beyond a thing and sees inside it. It’s a trait shared with his all-seeing mother. No-one knows Robert’s strangeness better than his mother Rowena Deed. In her dreams she sees his future but knows she will not be there to see her son mature. Pushing aside her sorrow at this knowledge, she instead focuses on giving him the tools he'll need to be a man of worth.
But this birthday brings more than a coming of age celebration for Robert. He’s about to see the glint of Death’s scythe in the corner of his eye, even touch the honed edge. Travelling the road towards his future, Robert must solve the murder of his first crush, battle his grief, and exonerate a dear friend. Is he willing and able? Can he truly trust in the so called inner wisdom of his instinct? More importantly, will his world let him?
With each gripping contraction a vision of another chapter of my son's life was etched out in ripples across my distended abdomen. Even during the agonies of childbirth I laughed inwardly at the timing of my cursed gift. But I couldn't deny the urgent pressure of his tiny hands and feet demanding release from the constraints of my womb. He wanted out so he could begin his extraordinary life.
As the midwife sucked blood into the phial with her syringe to check my sugar levels, my seer's eye read the paragraphs of my tiny son’s future life in the red swirls filling the small glass tube. And I wailed.
The midwife misread the reason for my howl. “It's really not that bad Mrs Deed.”
I paid little heed to her, locked as I was into visions of a future I could not escape no matter my present or future actions. Running from it this time would not prevent the inevitable.
Coalescing blood droplets and browning stains on the hospital bed linen forecast how my life would end, but not when. With huge effort I ignored the divination on my bed sheets and listened instead to the future tones of my nearly born son's soft Scottish brogue. It would all but disappear as he grew older and spent more time down South. Then this tiny echo of the future was silenced by my tornado yowls from the agony of bringing a life into the world.
Snapshots of six dead men – their lives steeped in squalor. Six lives extinguished in mysterious circumstances. In life they infected what they touched and in death they continue to wreak havoc. Let’s move on to Detective Inspector Robert Deed. Even contemptible men deserve to have their deaths explained. Don’t they? So reasons our detective. And he has a suspect in his sights – Madison Bricot.
But what about Madison? She just wants to live the normal life of a twenty-six year old. Now her boyfriend is dead and she’s not quite sure how she should feel. And during her interrogation with Detective Inspector Robert Deed she senses his conviction of her culpability. Why would he think such a thing?
“Miss Bricot, Maxwell Fraser never made it to Jamaica.” He paused dramatically then said sternly, “He’s dead.”
Deed watched her. She looked as though all the air had been sucked from her lungs. His words appeared to have caused a shock wave through her body. Her hands, which had been easy in her lap, were now gripping the sides of her chair. Madison Bricot's lips were very pale around the edges. Her shock was a pendulum of silence which hung between them. Deed realised her earlier confidence was merely bravado and this third notification of the death of someone else she had known had acid stripped her veneer.
Madison Bricot's shock was too real to be artifice. With a softened tone he said, “You’re free to go Miss Bricot, but please make yourself available for further questioning.” He handed her his contact details.
As their fingers touched a faint jolt passed between them. For a second Deed thought he saw a blue nimbus stretching from her to him as their fingers parted. Madison Bricot trembled lightly as she accepted the card and replied demurely. “I will.”
Johnson appeared at the door right on cue.
As soon as Johnson escorted her from the room Deed began to review the footage. His thumb strained as he paused the recording. He was aware of a feeling, so unusual that it was difficult to acknowledge – it was doubt. His feelings never let him down. That familiar surge in his stomach told him she was linked to her boyfriend’s death. But now to complicate things she also appeared to have known Franks and Fraser.
Deed looked down at his hand and rubbed his thumb and forefinger together where her fingers had touched his. His eyes glimpsed again the slight glow, the after-image of the electricity. He saw again the neat way she had swivelled in the chair to face him as he entered the room. He smelt again the tang of that scent so tantalisingly just beyond the reach of his olfactory senses. He drew a sharp breath and dusted his hands together to clear the beguiling image of her which had formed, seemingly unbidden, on his inner eye. He shrugged his shoulders in disgruntlement. He knew that a bit of time and effort would bring the evidence to light. Deed dismissed his doubts.