#blogtour – Innocent Lies by Chris Collett @crime_crow @books_n_all #extract #CrimeFiction
I’m very pleased to be on the blog tour today for Innocent Lies by Chris Collett. Thanks to Jill Burkinshaw for the spot on the tour. I have an extract from chapter 1 to share with you but first here’s what the book is about:
Two teenagers go missing on the same day. Just a coincidence?
They are from very different backgrounds: Yasmin is the talented, grammar-school-educated daughter of devout Muslim professionals. Ricky disappears after storming out of his council house after an argument with his mum’s latest boyfriend.
DI Mariner knows Ricky’s mother from his days in uniform. He is furious when his superiors take him off Ricky’s case and reassign him to the more politically sensitive investigation. The press — and his bosses — are convinced that Yasmin’s disappearance is a racially motivated abduction. Her family have been the target of a far right group.
But Mariner soon discovers that Yasmin is far from the innocent victim her parents think she is. Can he get to the bottom of a perplexing case where no one is what they seem?
Find out the answers in this crime mystery full of stunning twists and turns.
‘Delta one to all units.’ The car’s radio, tuned to the NPU wavelength, cut through his maudlin train of thought. ‘Request for urgent assistance at 34 Clarendon Avenue, Harborne; informant an unidentified female.’ It was just a few streets away, on this same patch.
Under normal circumstances Mariner would have ignored the call. It was one for uniformed patrol and, in any case, he’d been off-duty for hours. But he was in no hurry to go home and, judging from the lack of any other audible response, there was no one else nearby. Resources tonight would be concentrated around St Andrews, keeping the rival fans apart and diverting any trouble. Like the comforting glow of a distant refuge, Mariner felt himself drawn towards the secure predictability of work. He’d take a small detour to check whether the incident was already attended. If it was, he would simply drive on by. Making a second circuit of Five Ways traffic island, Mariner peeled off in the direction of Harborne.
Almost immediately the nervous energy of Birmingham nightlife melted away into silent darkness, taking with it Mariner’s own anxieties. Typical of Birmingham’s mongrel suburbs, Harborne had its rough patches but was inhabited in pockets by university professors and consultants from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, their relative affluence reflected in the sprawling detached houses that were set in immaculately tended gardens.
Clarendon Avenue was easy enough to find, but locating the house itself was a different matter. Here the properties were modest and compact, but set back from the road, hiding behind hedges and wrapped in swathes of ivy and wisteria, making individual identification in the dark almost impossible. There was no outward indication of any disturbance or any sign of a police presence at any of them.
Picking out a number at last, Mariner counted along, hugging the kerb as he went. Thirty, thirty-two, thirty-four . . . that was it, a mock-Georgian detached, ablaze with lights and standing out like a bloody carnival float. Then Mariner noticed the eight-year-old Porsche with a dented boot parked on the drive, and a sudden draught stirred the hairs on the back of his neck.
Mariner got out of the car and walked up the gravel driveway, past the Porsche and stepped into a narrow porch. From inside the house he could hear the babble of a TV, mainly because the front door swung slightly ajar. It was not a good sign. His warrant card at the ready, Mariner advanced cautiously along a bare, parquet-floored hallway, alert to any possibility. ‘Police!’ he warned, easing open the nearest internal door, already visualising the brunette cowering in a corner, her face bruised and bloodied. But in the event there was no blood, only a sterile and unnatural calm.
And do check out the other blogs taking part in the tour.
Chris Collett grew up in a Norfolk seaside town where she worked in a boarding house (now defunct) a local bakery (closed down) and a crisp factory (razed to the ground). Graduating in Liverpool, Chris has since taught children and adults with varying degrees of learning disability, including autism. She is now a university lecturer, with two grown up children, and lives in Birmingham; DI Tom Mariner’s ‘patch’. She has published short stories, taught creative and crime writing and is a manuscript assessor for the Crime Writers Association.
The first five DI Tom Mariner books will be released in revised editions on Kindle and paperback by Joffe Books in 2017/2018.