I’m pleased to share an extract today from Forgotten Lives, a soon to be released (10th January) follow on to Ray Britain’s debut novel, The Last Thread.
A single blow of the door-ram smashed the flimsy wooden door from its hinges and had barely landed before heavy boots trampled across it as helmeted, black-clad firearms officers pounded along the hallway shouting out commands as each room was reached, checked for occupants and contained as other officers raced behind them to reach the next room. Behind them, more officers thundered up bare wooden stair treads to secure the upper floor. Every officer carried a semi-automatic carbine rifle. Briefed for a potential confrontation with a skilled killer, the officers’ adrenalin-fuelled breathing filled the interior of the command vehicle a few hundred yards away where Stirling sat watching, waiting.
Stirling listened to the noise pouring from the speakers above him and followed the wildly jerking images being relayed from the officers’ body cameras to the monitors in front of him. Beside him, the Silver Firearm Commander sat with her Tactical Advisor who was managing the communications and recording equipment in front of them as boots crashed open doors to flatten anyone behind it, and bodycams gyrated with the wearer’s movements, accompanied by shouts of “Clear”.
Tensed, his senses heightened and his stomach shifting with every wild lurch of the cameras, Stirling could distinguish between the sweat of the Commander and the TA as they all waited for the outcome of the intervention, control surrendered for the moment to the training and individual judgment of the firearms team.
The briefest glimpse of a figure lying bound on a bed careened across a screen before the camera jerked around the room as it was scoured for other occupants. A window flashed by before the camera turned back and passed swiftly over the figure again. Terrified eyes stared wildly towards the camera and were lost from view again.
A carbine muzzle was trained towards a wardrobe as disembodied, gloved hands tore open its doors and dragged clothes from a rail to check that no one was hiding inside.
Twenty nine seconds had elapsed when a barked report came through the speakers: ‘House secured … One occupant … No casualties … Search continues!’
Discernible after the shouted commands was a muffled, whimpering sound.
A few seconds later came another sharp report: ‘Search complete! Building’s under our control. One female occupant, unharmed.’
About the Book
A man is murdered with quiet efficiency on his doorstep. A strange emblem left behind suggests a gang killing but when more bodies are found with the same emblem, and one of them a cop, DCI Doug Stirling’s investigation takes a sinister turn. But what linked the victims in life, and now in death?
When more deaths are uncovered, miles away and years ago, all with the same emblem left behind, pressure mounts on Stirling. Is it the work of the same person? If so, why are they killing again, and why here? One thing is clear, the killer is highly skilled, ruthless, and always one step ahead of the investigation. Is someone feeding information to them?
Working in a crippling heatwave with too few investigators, too many questions and not enough answers, when wild media speculation of a vigilante at work sparks copycat attacks, demonstrations for justice and with politicians fearing riots, Stirling needs a result – fast!
Meanwhile, Stirling’s private life is falling apart, not helped when Lena Novak of the National Crime Agency is assigned to his team. But is she all that she seems?
Things could not get worse. Stirling takes a call from a retired cop. Things just got worse!
When Stirling closes in on the killer he finds the killer’s trademark inside his home. – he is being targeted.