While I’m waiting on feedback on the manuscript, here’s a short teaser, the new opening to the novel, which sees Greg tracking down a serial killer, the Divine…
Greg had never been armed before. As a psychologist, his job was to help people, not shoot them. But everyone else was tooled up, and this was his call, so… He used a small pocket light to check the safety was on and tucked the standard issue SIG Sauer P226 into his jacket pocket. Last thing he wanted to do was accidentally shoot one of his police colleagues in the darkness, or his own foot.
Everyone was on edge. This was The Divine they were hunting. Four murders in as many days, all gruesome depictions of death scenes from the bible, all involving young teenage girls initially knocked out with chloroform, all found with the same signature message. A countdown. Day Seven, Day Six, Day Five, and Day Four. Greg hadn’t worked out the pattern of the murders yet, but he had a hunch.
The past three days it had gone quiet, with no more bodies turning up. Greg reckoned the killer hadn’t stopped – they simply hadn’t found the corpses yet. Today was Day One. Greg had predicted that if they didn’t find the killer now, he would vanish. The Head of Criminology at the Yard, Rickard, had tried to overrule Greg, saying that his evidence was flimsy, based on gut feel more than formal analysis. But Donaldson, who outranked Rickard on these matters, had decided to trust Greg’s instincts.
And so here they were, with a dozen armed police quietly surrounding a small mansion at the end of a country lane backing onto a cemetery. Greg had two goals. The first goal, the official one, was to find, arrest and incarcerate the Divine. The second, his personal priority, was to save the last teenage girl. He presumed it was already too late for Day Two and Day Three. All the girls they’d found so far had been killed at midnight.
It was 11:47pm.
‘Go!’ Donaldson whispered loudly across the VHF channel. He nudged Greg forward, and they ran across the damp lawn, avoiding the gravel driveway, up the stone steps to the front door. Greg spotted two groups of Kevlar-vested police circle around the back. Two men in front of Greg made quick and silent work of opening the front door, and they all stole inside.
It was dark, but not completely. Candles here and there. Donaldson held up a flat palm, telling Greg to stay put, while he and the two other officers fanned out, checking the ground floor, room by room. Greg’s gaze was drawn to the wide staircase, candles lighting the way like a trail of breadcrumbs, and he understood. The Divine wanted to be found. Maybe for fame, or some other reason. It didn’t matter. Day One. She mattered.
Greg slowly climbed the stairs.
The radio taped to his left shoulder crackled. ‘We’ve found one! Holy Christ! She’s…she’s dead, God, at least I hope she is!’
Greg guessed how bad it would be because serial killers were his speciality. He also predicted that Days Two and Three would be on the lower floors. The Divine would be at the top with the final victim. Greg switched his radio to silent, and crept upwards.