00. A Deadly Vice_LR.jpg


There’s no fate worse than inheriting a dead man’s debt.

Jake Tanner, a trainee detective constable with Croydon CID, is eager to impress his bosses. So when a body is found face-down in the city’s farmlands, head crushed, split in two, Jake jumps at the opportunity. 


The victim is soon identified as Zeke Harrison. A successful businessman and philanthropist. A man who had it all. 


But, as the investigation into his death develops, it becomes clear that Zeke had more secrets than success. 


And he had his debts - debts that got him killed.


But now they've been passed on to someone else. And Jake must find out to whom before history repeats itself.


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13 October 2006, 09:01

As Jake Tanner entered the HSBC Bank along Oxford High Street at nine that morning, he felt a wall of warm air hit his face, a welcoming change from the heavy drizzle outside.


The bank had just opened, and there were already two other people ahead of him in the queue. Elderly people. One with a walking stick, and the other dressed smartly in a shirt and tie, a regimented formality likely so engrained in his everyday life it had never been replaced.


Beside Jake was his girlfriend, Elizabeth. Her eyes were bloodshot and dark shadows hung underneath; her hastily applied make-up was unable to mask her lack of sleep the previous night.


‘I don’t know why we’re doing this so early,’ she said as they entered through another set of doors that crossed the threshold into the bank.


Jake took her hand and squeezed it tighter. ‘I’ve already told you.’


‘I still don’t see the point.’ She hesitated. ‘Could you not have done this alone?’


Jake frowned at her. ‘Buying our first car together should be something we do just like that: together.’


‘Even if it is your choice of car and your name that’s going down on the insurance and not mine?’ Elizabeth sighed.


Jake ignored the comment. He was excited. He had every right to be. An Austin Mini Cooper, the car Jake had wanted ever since he was a child and watched The Italian Job for the first time, had come up for sale on eBay. The buyer’s location: Oxford, eighty miles away from their newly rented one-bedroom flat in the south of London—the place where Jake had lived his entire life. And they were

offering a price too irresistible to miss.


Two ugly ATMs sat right in the middle of the floor, obstructing the pathway to the tills at the back of the room. Not enough technology to bury them in the wall, then? Jake mentally scoffed. On the right-hand side was a wall of offices. Floor-to-ceiling glass. Bright, harsh, fluorescent lights. A thin layer of translucent coating preventing customers outside from looking in.


The two elderly people stood in front of Jake, patiently waiting their turns. A teller arrived. Female; bobbed chestnut hair; a large wart on the bottom of her chin; visible whiskers sprouting from her upper lip. The first customer approached her and was greeted with a warm smile, much like the one that Jake had given so many times to people who insisted on being the first in the clothing shop near campus where he worked part-time during university.