Roger A Price: From Crime Fighter to Crime Writer – My Guest Author this week writes from experience
It’s my great pleasure to have Roger A Price on my blog this week.
You are in for a treat.
I’ve read two of his books, Nemesis and Vengeance, and couldn’t put them down and didn’t want either of them to end. I’m itching to read more.
He writes from experience and boy, he’s had a few as a Detective believe me.
I have asked him some very searching questions which he has patiently answered. When you’ve read his responses, do please read on about his career in the Police and what makes him write and how he came to be published.
At the end of this post there is a FREE to read short story, HARD TIME, so don’t go away!
Oh! and Nemesis and Vengeance are available for a limited time for Kindle for 99p each – details at the end of this post.
As ever do please leave comments for Roger if you wish. I always love reading my Guest Author’s replies to them.
Right, now the Q&A:
Hi Roger, thanks so much for being my Guest Author, I am thrilled to have you here:
Going public as a detective turned author are you worried that criminals you arrested might find a way to trace you and possibly exact revenge? Also, when under cover you had protection..I hope, from the Force. Are you concerned you will be recognised and attract unwanted attention?
Hi Jane, good question. I thought long and hard about this one. Most of my experiences in covert roles were as a DC and a DS, in fact most one-on-one interaction with criminals, whether covert or overt – as with normal CID – are done in those two ranks. As a DI you are effectively a manager in the main, running operations and units, so my last interactions as a DS would have been around 2002, before I was made DI. So it wasn’t an issue as a full 10 years had passed before my first book was published. Also, most crims (criminals) tend to treat arrest as an occupational hazard, just part of the game of cat and mouse, and so long as you have treated them fairly they accept it without feeling it’s a personal problem.
If, on the other hand, a detective has pulled a dirty trick – or god forbid fabricated something – then it is personal and the detective – he/she – should keep one eye over their shoulder as the crim may have been banged up for years, no doubt for a crime they actually did commit, but festering with resentment. But as time passed and I’d always tried to do my job fairly – even if inventively sometimes, but always fairly, then I imagine none of the people I’ve interacted with should have an axe to grind.
There are always exceptions to the rule, so if a crazy comes calling, well, they do. But in the main once a crim has done his time and is released does he really want all the hassle he/she would bring on to themselves by chasing a vendetta? Probably not. So to answer you in an abbreviated way, I would say that crims treat arrest and conviction as an occupational hazard and once they have done their time they tend to move on.
I wonder if, with the social changes taking place and different attitudes to authority in this country, you find that young criminals don’t act like the older criminals with their often mentioned ‘codes’ of conduct, and that the old rules no longer apply and that they are harder to deal with – what do you think?
You are probably right about the age thing. I’ve always found the those at the top of the tree the most reasonable to deal with; it’s those with the IQ of a dolly mixture that are harder to manage.
I love that, IQ of a dolly mixture. Funny.
Did you harbour ambitions to be a writer whilst you were in the police? Can you put your finger on the moment/time when you made the decision to write? Perhaps you wanted to write from an early age, or were you a late starter?
I think the desire was always there, but as a busy detective I never had the time. I did a correspondence course and then an Advanced Creative Writing course at Preston College, but it wasn’t until I left the cops that I had the time to write properly.
When you realised you wanted to write was it a natural progression to write about Crime, considering your background, or did you have – or have you – a secret longing to write in another genre? If so, what is that? Do you think you might venture into this genre any time soon?
So far, I’ve stuck to what I think I know, plus I enjoy reading in the crime/thriller genre too, so I’ll stick with that for now until I feel brave enough to have a go.
Nemesis and Vengeance are great reads – I loved them and wanted to read more. Turning the last page was very disappointing…I didn’t want them to end. Don’t give anything away, but I want to know if there is going to be a closer relationship between Vinnie and Christine in your next book – if Christine appears in it of course. I’ve likened the build-up and story development to that created by Peter James and his continued storyline, where his wife, Sandy, disappears, and throughout his books there are references to her and sightings of someone who might be her. It keeps the reader gripped and weaves a familiar thread throughout his books. I hope Christine will be a permanent character.
That’s great to hear, Jane. There is no richer feedback than when someone says that they didn’t want it to end, so thank you for that. What I can tell you about the next in the series which I’m currently writing is that the book starts with Vinnie and Christine going on holiday together as their personal relationship develops. That is until the first day of their vacation when…….happens!
I am a Crime/Mystery/Thriller Novel junkie, ever since I read Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, John Le Carre and Frederick Forsythe as a young teen, getting hooked on anything to do with Politics, Espionage, and Organised Crime – soaking up stories like a sponge. Who did you grow up reading and do you have a favourite author(s) and why do you admire them and read their books?
Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories were my first love and fired up my young imagination. I read avidly growing up but lost the plot during my early to mid-adulthood, only really getting the bug again in my late thirties/early forties. As for whom I admire? All of the above and many more. There are so many excellent storytellers out there.
As a former Detective you will have encountered some of the worst and most deviant of individuals during your career, and I am sure that those individuals must have left their mark upon you and your psychological well-being. You mention (further on in this post) having a psychological assessment role-playing a baddie – was that difficult?
When you are in the middle of it, I think you cope better as you have to. It’s only in the fullness of time that certain experiences return and sometimes are harder to deal with. I have certain taboos where I won’t go as it evokes memories which are too difficult, but in the main writing crime fiction influenced by real events can be quite cathartic and keeps you sane. There are certain specialisms within the police where regular psychometric and psychological examinations are a given. But a lot more is probably done today than in the early part of my career when you were just expected to get on with it!
As for the research I did developing Daniel Moxley (Nemesis), as you rightly point out, I conducted a Psychological test trying to answer the questions through the character’s eyes. I’m still not entirely sure how much of me bled into those answers! Hopefully, none.
Do you find writing cathartic? Has it helped you deal with what you have seen and experienced? Getting it off one’s chest on to the page helps most of us deal with our demons. Would you say that your characters are a reflection of these people or are they watered down in any way to save your readers from the horrors you might have encountered?
I may have covered some of this in my previous answer, except to add that I actually do tone down my characters even though they may seem gritty, but believe me fact is worse than fiction. Though fortunately such real individuals are few and far between.
Moxley (Nemesis) is such an evil/wicked character, capable of horrendous acts. Did you find it difficult to create him without exposing a known criminal – of whom you’d experience – being recognised, or was he a complete figment of your imagination and not inspired by a real life person? If he is inspired by someone, did you find it hard to write his character in such a way as to make him believable? Nothing is stranger than fiction, or is it?
You have to be very careful when it comes to characterisation, base one too much on a real person and you may face libel problems if they recognise themselves in the character. Also, you may feel stymied in how far you can take the character should you need him or her to do a certain thing in order to further the story. I tend to base my characters on a composite or real facets mixed in with a large dollop of invention.
The IRA angle in Vengeance is intriguing and I know it must have given you a headache when you decided to go that route. Did it involve a lot of research or were you able to call upon any personal experiences of ‘The Troubles?’ Did you feel you had to tread carefully when getting political in this story? Did you call upon former colleagues or did you have to make new contacts in order to get background information for the story? Did you receive any reticence or resistance from these people, and if so, why do you think that was?
Ah. Good question, Jane. The background came from personal experiences and conversations from which I extrapolated. I did try to show some balance to both POVs of the political divide as best as I could within the confines of the plot. As for Christine Jones’ expose into the possibility of reverse discrimination, that was all from my imagination but the spark did come from a very brief conversation I once had with a PSNI officer at a drugs conference in Brighton!
PSNI: Police Service of Northern Ireland for those wondering.
Has your opinion and view of ‘human-kind’ been tainted by your career experiences working with the worst society can throw at you, or has it encouraged you and reassured you that in general most people are decent and good?
In the most people are as you rightly point out decent and good. But when dealing with the worst five per cent a lot of the time it is easy to be influenced by it. You have to guard against this and always remember who and what you are. The very few cops who turn bad are usually those who have failed to do this and have allowed themselves to be drawn into the cesspit where the abnormal appears normal and immorality reigns.
How do you keep positive when you have experienced such terrible things? Are you a little jaded by your experiences do you think?
As I’ve said certain images and experiences best forgotten do raise themselves in your subconscious from time to time, I try to shove them straight back into a mental steel box.
Seeing what has happened of late are you glad you are not involved with such events anymore, or does it make you itch to get back into the thick of it?
It just makes me so sad. As all of us no doubt did I just cried watching the news. When you are in it, you can’t allow yourself the self-indulgence of letting your feelings surface too much. I’ve had my time, and like to think I made a difference and achieved some special things. My respect goes to those across the public services who carry on with the baton, but it’s a young person’s game. I’m content just to write about it now.
What have you learned about yourself as a consequence of being a Policeman – if anything – and how does this (if at all) influence your writing? When you write, are you on the ‘goodies’ or the ‘baddies’ side – when creating characters? Which get you more excited as you write, and do you find the ‘baddies’ a challenge or easy to create?
I’ve learned that as with most things in life we never stop learning. I find characterisation quite fascinating. I enjoy being in the goodies’ heads but I also find it fascinating exploring what makes the baddies tick. The varied facets of a criminal mind which can swerve from extreme to extreme and back to the middle in the blink of an eye.
Now to the good stuff – ABOUT ROGER:
First of all I’d like to thank Jane for the kind invitation to join you all today on her blog.
My strapline says: ‘Crime fighter turned crime writer’ which although a little cheesy, is true I guess; although I nearly wasn’t either. Having been sacked from a chicken factory, I thought I’d diversify, so I joined a pie factory. Having been sacked from there I thought I’d better try to do something else so joined the police cadets.
Having been threatened with the sack twice from there I somehow made it through my cadetship and joined the rossers for real in 1977. I soon found my calling as a detective and served on the CID, major incidents and the Drug Squad across Lancashire before joining the Regional Crime Squad which became the National Crime Squad. That was great fun. I saw service across the UK, Europe and beyond, often in covert roles reaching as far as South East Asia.
On my return to Lancashire Police I ran an informant unit – which was a challenge to say the least – managing those chaotic individuals was like trying to corral cats. I ended my time as a detective inspector in charge of an undercover drugs unit. Now I know all the above probably sounds quite sexy, and a lot of it was, I also got to see and do some horrible stuff too. I’ve been attacked with a knife twice, and looked down the barrel of a gun once – albeit not for long, before the ‘run away, run away’ instinct kicked in. But all that said my previous life has been fertile ground for a crime fiction writer.
I can’t really write about my experiences but I can use them to drive and inform my pen. But why do any of us write? It’s hard graft, takes a ridiculous amount of self-discipline, and one has to grow a skin thicker than a rhinoceros’s bottom lip after another rhinoceros has just stood on it. My answer: because we simply have to. I feel guilty if a day goes by and I haven’t written something. When a work-in-progress has finished, such as the first draft of a novel length work, I actually feel down. Even a little depressed. Don’t ask me why. But I do know that when the muse takes me and the words are flowing I’m locked into a solitary world where I’m never alone.
PATH TO PUBLICATION
I suffered my first rejection at the age of 11 or 12. I read a composition out to my class and the teacher refused to believe that I had not copied it from a book. Now at such a tender age, I didn’t see the backhanded compliment and therefore cast aside any literary ambitions for the next few decades. After the scars healed – in the early 80s – I took a correspondence course. Waste of time, but I did have some interest from magazines in some short stories I’d written. But I didn’t follow it up. In truth being a busy detective back in those days was not conducive to being a writer. It was not conducive to being anything outside of ‘the job’; as my first two ex-wives will no doubt testify! I know that detectives have the work/life balance much better nowadays, and that’s a good thing.
Anyway, fast forward to the late 90s and I decided to do a six month advanced creative writing course at my local college. I was on the National Crime Squad then as a detective sergeant with hair halfway down my back so presented myself as a bricklayer, praying that there wouldn’t be a real bricklayer on the course. I was lucky. However, part way through I was sent to Bangkok on a job. I only had three hours’ notice, but was told I should be home in a few days. Fast forward a month and I returned home to nearly finding my bags packed on the driveway – although that came later when I was on CID at Skelmersdale and was called down to the reception area to find my world in black bin bags filling the enquiry desk!! Anyway, as you may image, when I returned from the Far East I found that I’d been kicked off the writing course for non-attendance.
I left the cops in 2008 and did some private work and consultancy stuff for a while, but knew it was time to scratch that literary itch. I finished my first book ‘By Their Rules’ and gave it to a literary consultant to tear apart; and by god did she, but that taught me a huge amount about structure and how to write. I firmly believe you can’t be taught to be a storyteller, you either can, or you cannot. But you can be taught how to tell a story, which is essential today, especially if you wish to grab the attention of a commissioning editor as they fight their way through the quagmire of the submissions slush pile in a vain attempt to reach their desk.
THE GOOD NEWS:
for a limited period only, Endeavour have put both Nemesis and Vengeance on promo each available on kindle for 99p for a limited time.
The amazon links in the article will take you to the relevant page, however the below links are probably better as they re-direct you to the book’s local amazon page irrespective of where in the world you are. Nemesis link is: myBook.to/myThrillersand the Vengeance link is: myBook.to/Thriller.
And you can use these links too:
AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/dMxw09
By Their Rules was followed by A New Menace and having both received great reviews I had answered the two questions that all emerging voices must stress over: Can I write? And, can I write something that anyone actually wants to read?
AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/hAKR3A
THE NEW BADGE AND THE PEN SERIES
I knew I had to change publishers for a variety of reasons, but not least in an attempt to further my way up the publishing ladder, and therefore devised a new crime thriller series. When I was in the police I always had a great relationship with the press, but I was probably the exception. A lot of senior detectives sometime forget that the media is not there to simply do their bidding. Each has their own agenda, driven by differing strategies, but all in all, they are both after the same outcome: the truth. So I thought it would be fun to have a maverick male DI and a sassy female TV news reporter as my main protagonists. Unlikely bedfellows who help each other out in their joint pursuit of the truth. Vinnie Palmer and Christine Jones were born.
Anyway, after a further ton of rejections, the wonderful people at Endeavour Press published the first in this series – Nemesis – in 2016. In both paperback and kindle.
AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/CUjwAv
By the way, during my research for Nemesis I had to take a psychiatric appraisal answering the questions through the eyes of the main baddie! And he didn’t score well. I’ve often worried if any of me filtered through into those answers; I hope not. But you’ll have to read Nemesis to fully understand what I mean.
AMAZON UK: http://goo.gl/CUjwAv
Soon afterwards followed Vengeance which is now out on kindle and paperback. This is a follow up to Nemesis, but either can be read in any order so do work as stand-alones too.
AMAZON UK: myBook.to/Thrillers
I have to say I’m really excited about Vengeance, as I’ve added a political element too, parts of which may be construed as controversial, we’ll have to wait and see.
Please stay in touch via the usual ways, my various links are at the bottom. You can also join my mailing list if you wish via my Blog at: https://goo.gl/7nrI44 and receive a free short story. I’ll then send you the occasional newsletter and include further giveaways and promos too.
Roger, thanks for being such a fab guest, it has been so very interesting. I know you will have lots of questions and comments to deal with. I look forward to them also.
Thanks again for having me, Jane, and thanks to you all for stopping by.
INTERNATIONAL AMAZON BUYING LINKS FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
FREE TO READ SHORT STORY
© Roger A Price 2016
Roger A Price has asserted his rights under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
First published 2016 by Roger A. Price.
‘I’ll remind you inspector that you are talking to the deputy governor of this prison and not one of your DCs,’ Small said.
‘Oh, I’m glad you pointed that out, I’d have never had known, thanks,’ Vinnie Palmer replied.
‘You’ve not been in central Manchester CID for too long have you?’
‘If you mean the A division, no, but I don’t see what that’s got to do with the matter in hand.’
‘I have a very good working relationship with Eric, the uniform super at your nick.’
Now Vinnie’s blood was really up. He wondered how long it would take this spineless desk-jockey to try a stunt. ‘I’m glad you added “working”; as he’s a married man you know,’ Vinnie said, immediately regretting the remark.
‘Now look here—’ Small started.
With his hands in the air, Vinnie interrupted, ‘Ok, the last jibe was a cheap shot, but quite frankly you asked for it. Let’s agree to disagree.’
‘About the fact that we don’t like each other; but that aside, let’s get back to the matter in hand.’
‘Ok, but I don’t see what more my officers could have done.’
Vinnie didn’t particularly have an issue with the over-worked prison officers at the prison; he was more troubled by what he saw as a lack of strategy and poor leadership at the senior level. If he was going to make any progress, he knew he would have to soften his approach. ‘Look, I’m not here to cause you unnecessary problems, and I know the problem with overcrowding is—’
‘My turn to interrupt you,’ Small said, continuing, ‘you have no idea the difficulties we face on a daily basis. We put that lad in with Crayton for just one night; he was to be moved into a more appropriate cell the following day.’
Vinnie knew that they had managed to find a place on the segregation wing for Crayton, soon enough after the incident, and voiced his thoughts, adding, ‘Why couldn’t you have put Crayton on segregation for one night prior to, instead?’
‘We try and run this place mainly by consent, if we’d had moved Crayton as you suggest, he’d have kicked off, big time. And he gave his personal officer an assurance that he would leave the lad alone.’
‘Well, we both know how that ended up. Funny a con not keeping his word.’
Vinnie could see that Small – whom he thought had a very apt name, even though he was tall – about to erupt again, so he threw his arms up for a second time. He knew he was being disrespectful, but the number of times the prisons called in the police to investigate offences, of which, most could have been avoided, seemed to be on the rise. Plus, his heart went out to the victim, who should never have been imprisoned in the first place, not that he could blame Small for that.
The lad in question just loved his cars; or to be more accurate; other peoples. He was a serial joy-rider who at eighteen probably thought he would only get another slap on the wrist. But the local magistrate had clearly lost patience with him, and on his fifth conviction for taking someone else’s pride and joy for a spin, he sent him down. He must have thought his world had come to an end when he received an eight week sentence. Which in real terms only meant four weeks; but to an eighteen-year old, who’d never been locked up before it must have come as a great shock. But not as much as the shock of meeting his new cellmate on the first night of his incarceration.
Crayton was a lifer, who had been sentenced many years ago to serve a minimum of twenty-five years for a double-murder. His earliest release date kept getting put back due to his fondest of sexually assaulting fellow inmates. So, to put an eighteen year old vulnerable first-timer in with him must have seemed like all his birthdays come at once, for Crayton, that is. And the youth’s worst nightmare.
The poor lad had only been in the cell for ninety minutes before Crayton had pounced. What had particularly bothered Vinnie was the lad’s apparent mental state when he’d interviewed him. He was terrified and not in a good place, whereas the monster that was Crayton, wasn’t bothered in the slightest. All he’d said on interview was that the act had been consensual. One word against the other. In fact, it wasn’t even that. The lad had clearly been got at, he’d told Vinnie what had happened, but refused to sign a statement of complaint. Vinnie couldn’t really blame him, so that was that, job knackered. All Vinnie could hope to achieve was to try and ensure that the same mistakes weren’t repeated, which was why he purposely set about Deputy Governor Small in the way he had.
‘I hope you’ve got him on suicide watch?’
‘But of course, fifteen minute checks.’
‘Where is Crayton?’
‘Still in segregation but we’ve padded him up with someone else in there.’
‘I hope he’s not another vulnerable eighteen year old first-timer?’
‘Far from it. Another lifer called Daniel Moxley; and before you ask; he’s worse than Crayton.’
This didn’t paint a pleasant thought in Vinnie’s mind, but it sounded as if he’d got some of his point across, he thought, before saying, ‘You know I’ll have to file a report to the home office?’
‘What will it say?’
‘I’d like to be able to say that such a similar miss-matching of inmates in the same cell will never happen again.’
Small just nodded.
‘And that Crayton will remain on seg for the foreseeable future.’
Small nodded again.
‘And that the youth will be moved immediately to a Cat C prison.’
Small sighed this time and then said, ‘As of tomorrow. Is that soon enough?’
It was Vinnie’s turn to nod now, and then he added, ‘I’ll also then be able to add that I’m satisfied that senior management have put sufficient policies in place to prevent any further crimes of this nature occurring in such circumstances.’
They both nodded this time and Vinnie knew the meeting was over, he’d pretty much got what he’d hoped to achieve, no point in aggravating Small more than he needed to. He bade his farewell and headed towards the door out of the deputy governor’s office. As he reached it, he stopped and turned back towards, Small, and said, ‘You said this Moxley you’ve padded Crayton up with is of similar ilk.’
‘Worse,’ Small replied.
‘And should anything go off between them, then I guess they would probably deserve it, whichever way around it was to happen.’
‘Granted, but shouldn’t we be better than that? Instead of fostering an environment which promotes this sort of abuse, albeit between “scum” as you put it; shouldn’t you keep both men separate?”
‘Goodbye inspector, you’d do well to stick to the issue in hand and let me worry about running this place.’
Vinnie realised he gone as far as he could expect to with Small, but felt duty-bound to make his observations known to Small, nonetheless. ‘One last thing?’
‘What?’ Small snapped.
‘Have you arranged any support for the victim, or spoken to his family?’
‘I put the phone down on his irate brother; Ben, I think his name was, earlier on, and as for support? Being moved to a Cat C will be all the support he’s getting. Now, if you don’t mind?’
Vinnie let the door swing too behind him without saying another word, and shook his head as he walked down the corridor towards the first locked gate on his way out of the prison. Granted, he couldn’t image some of the difficulties Small had alluded to, but the man was part of the problem, not the solution. Men like Crayton and Moxley should be in solitary confinement as far as he was concerned, and Small was in the wrong job.
One thing was for sure though, this wouldn’t be his last official visit to the prison, that, he was certain of.
It was gone six by the time Small decided he’d had enough for the day. The arrogant cocky detective inspector had got under his skin. He must think they are running some kind of hotel. He couldn’t give a damn what the likes of Crayton and Moxley got up to, just as long as they helped keep order in the prison. That was the real reason he turned a blind eye to much of their socialising. They were forceful characters who commanded respect, and fear among the other inmates. A strategy that, the likes of that DI Palmer would never understand. He would be having a word with his boss Eric at the next lodge meeting. And as for the lad, who’d been attacked, whose name he’d already forgotten – collateral damage to help keep Crayton happy. Just so long as Palmer’s report wasn’t too scathing, all would be well. As for the lad, he’d be on his way to a Cat C the following day. He could have had him shipped to Kirkham open prison on the other side of Preston, about forty miles away; it’s a Cat D as well. After all it’s not as if the lad with no name was a flight risk, but he’d chosen a Cat C in the Midlands instead. Just because he could.
Small knew that resources were always a problem, but not in this case. With the help of people like Crayton he could keep control, and who knows Small may end up running the place one day, after all, the current governor delegated most of the day-to-day stuff to him as it was, and retirement wasn’t too far away for him. Hopefully, he’d be sitting pretty.
Thirty minutes later, he pulled up outside his trendy townhouse in north Manchester, but was annoyed to see his usual parking place taken. It was supposed to be ‘residents only’ parking and he was sure that the shitty white Transit van occupying his space wasn’t local. He looked around but could not see any free spaces; he’d have to hunt for one around the corner. But as he passed the van he noticed a hooded person sat in the driver’s seat, but he’d gone past and now had someone else up behind him. He turned left and parked on the edge of the corner. It would do for now while he had a quick word with the van driver and tell him to move. He walked the short distance back to his house and as he approached he saw the interior light in the van’s cab illuminate as the driver got out. The hooded driver walked towards him, but before Small could start to remonstrate, the driver spoke first.
‘You Mr Small?’
‘I’ve got a delivery for you and didn’t want to leave it on your step, so I thought I’d give it five.’
The attitude left Small now as he arrived and confirmed who he was.
‘Round the back mate, I’ll need a signature.’
Small looked up at his house but could not see any sign of life, she was obviously not in. He just wondered what the hell she’d been buying online this time. He followed the driver as he arrived at the back of the van and opened one of the two doors. The driver then stood back and Small strained to see inside in the half-light. Then he heard and felt two things at the same time. A buzzing electrical sound, like something out of Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory, and a sharp deliberating pain which shot through his back in all directions. It stopped almost as soon as it had started, but he felt like every muscle in his body had tensed and locked at the same time. He didn’t feel the shove in his back that must have followed, but he landed hard face-down on the floor of the van. The rear door slammed shut, and just as he was starting to regain his motor responses, he was thrown on to his side by the motion of the van being driven off at speed.
Vinnie Palmer had just finished giving the uniform super, Eric, an update from the prison when his phone announced the arrival of a text. He glanced at it, it was from his wife, Lesley; “Are you planning on coming home tonight?” he ignored it as he turned back to face Eric.
‘How did you find the deputy governor, Kenneth Small?’
Vinnie told him and didn’t hold back, and he included the “lodge” remark.
‘Cheeky bastard,’ Eric started, ‘I’m not in any lodge, but I’ve no doubt that he is.’
Vinnie wasn’t too sure whether to believe him, but it was more important to note that he clearly didn’t like, Small.
‘We have to get on with them, but I’m expecting a warts-and-all report from you, Vinnie, though I’ll need evidence in it to back up any misgivings. At least then I can approach the governor with any issues; I get the impression that he leaves too much of the day to day running of things with Small. So, if things are going to improve, it’s only right we raise it with the governor first, before we threaten to take any concerns to London.
It was a fair approach Vinnie knew, but he just hoped he didn’t find himself back at the prison too soon, looking into the face of another vulnerable inmate-turned-victim.
‘Fair enough, boss, but I won’t bet against the odds of being called back there in the near future.’
The super Eric nodded and both men bade their farewells. Vinnie sighed as he pulled his phone from his pocket as he walked out the super’s office, time to text Lesley back.
The van came to a stop and Small could tell they were on uneven ground. Then the rear doors were opened and he could see that it was fully dark now, and wherever they were, there was little light about. A pair of gloved hands pulled him out of the van and he realised it was the hooded driver again.
‘Look, I don’t know what you want, I’ve no money on me—’ Small started to say before the back of one the gloved hands connected hard with his left cheek. The blow shocked him as much as it hurt.
‘Listen in you little shite, and listen good,’ the driver said.
‘You run that prison like your own fiefdom, and you couldn’t give a shit about the likes of Worthing.’
Worthing, that name rang a bell, Small thought.
‘You’ve forgotten him already?’ the driver said.
Small didn’t answer.
‘I know what goes on in there, I have ears on the inside,’ the driver said, as he pulled a flick knife out of his hoodie pocket, and then made the blade spring out of its handle. Now Small was really scared.
‘The way you protect the likes of Crayton and his like has to stop. And Worthing gets moved to a local open prison, not some shithole the other side of the country.’
Small knew who Worthing was now, and he was pretty sure the driver was his brother Ben; the one he’d put the phone down on earlier. He was about to say “I know who you are, and you’ll not get away with this” but for once common sense silenced his loose mouth. He just nodded.
‘If not I’ll pay you another visit and next time you won’t be so lucky’, the driver said as he produced a Taser from his other pocket and held it in his free hand. It was obviously what he had used on him earlier, but it wasn’t gun shaped and yellow like the ones the cops had, more like a black torch. He stood facing him, a knife in one hand, and the Taser in the other.
Then the driver lunged at him, and in that split second he couldn’t be sure which hand was flashing its way towards his chest. The van was immediately behind him giving him nowhere to go. Not that it would matter, the driver was too fast.
This short story tells its own tale but it is also a prologue to ‘NEMESIS’ my new crime thriller which is out now in paperback and as an e-book. I hope you are tempted to try it, kind regards, Roger.
NEMESIS – BACK OF BOOK BLURB.
The body count is rising…
When psychopath Daniel Moxley makes his escape while being escorted to Broadmoor high security prison, he sets off on a trail of bloody revenge, leaving police forces throughout the north of England floundering in his wake. Moxley’s paranoia has him seemingly selecting victims at random. The only thing they have in common is the gruesome nature of their killings. Police, prison warders and even old ladies have been the target of Moxley’s cold-blooded murder spree.
When Detective Inspector Vinnie Palmer is assigned to the case, Moxley decides that he too must die, but not before he has led him from one blood-soaked scene to another. Among his victims is Vinnie’s offsider, Detective Constable Rob Hill, who he discovers has his own dark and destructive secret that rips Vinnie’s life apart.
With the help of Moxley’s psychiatrist, Vinnie delves deep into the man’s criminal past and uncovers a history of corrupt police, sexual coercion and gaol brutality. But when Vinnie closes in on Moxley and takes the law into his own hands, he ends up suspended and stripped of his police powers. Determined not to let Moxley escape justice, Vinnie continues his pursuit of the maniac as a private citizen. He teams up with determined television reporter Christine Jones and together they pursue Moxley north to Scotland and back again.
But the killer always seems to be one step ahead, leaving a trail mutilated bodies in his wake. Lured on by Moxley’s taunts, Vinnie discovers that it is his own wife – a fellow police worker – who has been an unwitting aid in Moxley’s deadly deeds. As a result, his suspension is lifted in time for him and Christine to gain full police support and finally confront Moxley in a terrifying final encounter.
But is it too late?