Hello everyone! Today on the blog, I’m pleased to welcome author friend Val Penny, to share an extract from the fabulous Hunter’s Force… Read on, to find out more:
Hunter by name – Hunter by nature.
Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son. Cameron’s flatmate was murdered. Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?
Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation due to the reorganisation of police services. Hunter’s ability to be involved, however, is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing, and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks?
Meanwhile, Hunter’s team must work closely with the MIT and with or without him, solve the murder in this taut crime thriller.
Mackay called the incident room to order. Although he did wonder whether it was worth the bother. The fact that DS Renwick was joining them as liaison from Gartcosh was greeted with cheers and a round of applause, and the noise in the room escalated fast.
“Calm down!” he shouted. “Good grief, you would think I had said the First Minister was coming to visit.”
“I doubt that would get such a big cheer as my Janey.” Rachael blushed.
“Maybe so, DC Anderson. Now, I think we are joined today by Sergeant Middleton and PC Larkin, who have made some interesting observations.”
Charlie stepped forward to tell his story. He looked every bit as self-important as usual to Mackay.
“When me and Neil were coming down the stairs of the murder flat, we knocked at the first-floor flat. Nobody has been living there for ages, and there was lots of junk mail behind the door. I think those Russian girls could have easily killed the other one and nobody heard them.”
“How very cosmopolitan of you to put it that way, Charlie,” Colin smiled.
Hunter frowned at Charlie. ”We have no reason to believe the other three young women were involved in any way. Two of them were at the club. The other one doesn’t seem either tall enough nor strong enough to carry out such an attack.”
“No motive, for any of them that I can see,” Mackay said firmly.
“Aye well, just as we were leaving, we saw Ian Thomson throw a big man out of his shop. Thomson must have eaten his porridge in the big house, because that fellow is huge. Neil and I saw him coming out of the bank too.”
“Could you hear what Thomson said?” Hunter asked.
“Aye, and he called the big lad ‘Squires’ and shouted something about him not being welcome.”
“That must be Brian Squires,” He’s back in town, is he? Very interesting. He’s always been the muscle never the brains, whatever he’s doing. And he’s definitely trouble,” Hunter said. “And Cameron said a huge man brought Xristina to his flat and gave him five hundred pounds for her keep.”
“That’s useful, Charlie. You’ve included it in your report?” Mackay asked.
“Of course, Sir. And they’re all done. I’m off for two weeks from tomorrow,” Charlie replied.
Tim spoke for the first time. “Boss, this may not be relevant, but Doctor Gillian Pearson has a new head at the Foreign Languages Department of Edinburgh University: Professor Sheptytsky. He’s a noted linguist from Ukraine.”
“Too many bloody funny names in this for my liking,” Charlie grumbled.
“Maybe, Charlie, but there’s more. She also has a PhD student from Ukraine, Xristina Marenko. She was attracted to do her doctorate here because of Professor Sheptytsky.”
“Understandable, if he’s so well-respected,” Hunter nodded.
“This student is normally very diligent, but she hasn’t been around the department for a few days, and Gillian has now had a worried phone call from her father. He hasn’t been able to reach his daughter for a while.”
“Oh dear, I don’t like the sound of that.” Hunter frowned as Tim continued.
“I didn’t like it either, Boss. I know you don’t believe in coincidences, and how many Xristinas can there be in Frederick Street?”
“No, I don’t like coincidences and I don’t like this.”
“I’ve asked Gillian to email me a copy of her Xristina’s photo from the university records. I thought we could show it to Cameron and see if he recognised her as our Xristina.”
“Inspired, Tim!” Hunter said.
“Boss, this might all tie in with what the girls told us,” Rachael said.
“What did they tell you?”
“They said they paid a great deal to get here. None of them have travelled abroad before, and they were excited to come. But the journey was long. They seemed to think they had come through Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany to Belgium. They said it was very tiring. They came by train and bus; it took days. Olena said big a man kept them together. He was not kind to them.”
“Who did they pay, Rachael?”
“Come on, Boss! They have no idea. Money passed up the line by gophers.”
“Predictable.” Hunter shook his head.
Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.
Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.