A DEADLY VICE: A JAKE TANNER PREQUEL NOVELLA
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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Blackness. Everywhere. His senses distorted by the sound of an engine roaring in the distance, and thick, muscular bodies bouncing either side of him like passengers in a turbulent airplane. The thin, abrasive material over his head rubbed against his face and caused the back of his head to itch. But with his hands tied behind his back, a set of cable ties gnawing at his skin, it was a sensation he was unable to relieve. The stench of dense sweat rose through his nostrils, as though the hood had been recycled from a previous abduction. Tiny dust motes crawled down his throat, making him gag and cough.
No reference points. No idea where he was, nor where he was going. No one to help him. He was alone.
But there was no time to be scared, petrified, paralysed with fear.
There was no time to think or do anything.
The vehicle gradually slowed to a halt. The door beside him opened and a strong hand grabbed him by the shoulder and hauled him out of the seat. His legs scrambled for a solid surface, but only found the chilled, wintry air that had crept along the streets of Croydon in the past few weeks.
The hand released him, and as the ground came up to meet him, his body landed on gravel and dirt, a jagged stone digging into his hip.
‘Up, ya sack a shit!’
This time, two pairs of hands dragged him across the uneven surface, the skin on his knees and belly catching the worst of the stones. After a few feet, the coarse ground made way for grass. It was wet, damp, and instantly seeped through his entire body, chilling his thighs, stomach, shoulders, and one side of his face. Without any way of propping himself up, he was forced to surrender himself to the numbing sensation that was now spreading through his body like a virus.
The cloth was yanked from his head and, in his haste, his abductor pulled out some of his hair along with it. Before he yelled in agony, all pain disappeared as his eyes adjusted to his surroundings. He was on the ground, that much was clear. A few feet from him was a large pond – big enough to drown him in – bordered by thick rows of reeds. A brilliant circle of white light reflected off the surface of the water, which was kicked up into ripples by the wind. Out the corner of his eye, he noticed he was ringed in by four men, their features masked by the shadows cast by the moonlight.
But there was no need to see their faces. He knew exactly who they were. The men they shouldn’t have pissed off, but had.