The Red And The Grey – Chapter 1

The Red And The Grey is a novel plotted by Patrick Wilson and written by Mark Wilson and Patrick Wilson. Coming autumn, 2019.

The following excerpt is unedited and is copyright to Mark Wilson and Patrick Wilson Copyright, 2019.

red moon during night time

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

 

Chapter 1

 

Hitting The Target

 

“Like this, Alfie.”

Shifting the young squirrel’s hold, Brielle loosened his right hand, rotating his entire grip, and then his left, pinching his fingers tighter around the bark cradle of the hand-made catapult.

“Try it now,” she instructed him gently.

 

Taking a step back, she whispered to him, willing the small kit on. “Breathe, and release.”

A second later she watched the Alfie’s chest deflate and his forearms tense as he drew tension into the weapon.

Alfie had already attempted seven shots, compared to three that most of his classmates had taken, to hit the target. Small for his age, he had crafted a gorgeous catapult from willow twigs and stretchy vines. One of the finest Brielle had seen for a kit his age. His hands, despite dogged hours of practice, still struggled to summon the strength needed to make best use of his superb weapon.

Brielle held her own breath willing the kit on. Alfie’s gaze narrowed.

Clunk.

His class mates, cheered and all tension disappeared from the small kit’s body. Ears twitching, he turned to look up at his teacher.

“Thanks, Mrs Tearmann,” he grinned.

 

Brielle offered him a smile of her own. Placing her arm around him, she drew him closer that only he might hear her words.

“Determination, Alfie. And focus,” she whispered. Behind her, Brielle’s own children mouthed the mantra, affectionately mocking their mother.

 She had repeated the mantra to the group countless times over weeks. Weeks in which the little kit had steadfastly practiced despite so many failures.

Alfie nodded silently. Basking in his little victory.

 

“Not bad for a runt!”

Brielle whipped her head around to admonish the owner of the gruff voice.

Locking her eyes on their guard, Lars, she bored them into the Grey.

Beside her, Alfie’s little body sagged, his elation at his small triumph crushed.

“Mind your own business, Lars,” Brielle instructed the Grey.

She bobbed a nod down at Alfie. “Any one of these kits is a better shot than you are.”

Lars, lounging on a mossy tree stump beside his partner, waved her off lazily. “Greys don’t need those ridiculous weapons. “Above it, we are,” Lars grinned.

Infuriated by his casual disdain, Brielle felt heat rise in her cheeks and ears.

“Incapable, is what Greys are,” Brielle replied.

 

Lars rose to his feet, covering the ground between them faster than Brielle could follow the movement. Finding the large Grey stood over her, pressing his bulk against her chest, Brielle ignored her instincts to back away. She lifted her chin and pushed right back with her full weight.

The kits in her class gasped. “You’ve no right to…”

Lars silenced her with a lightning fast slap to her cheek that sent the Red sprawling to the forest floor.

Dazed, Brielle struggled focus her eyes, but sensed that Tod had placed himself between her and the Grey. Forcing her eyes to obey, Brielle cast her glance over the kits in her class. Most of them had stayed back. Her eldest daughter, Chase, stood, her arms wide, corralling and comforting the younger Reds. Chase’s little sister, Bendis, amongst them.

Lars, on his hind legs, had risen up to his full height, assessing Tod as he stood glaring up at the Grey. Eyes darting from Brielle to Tod, Lars’ face broke into a mocking grin.

“Brave for a Red, boy.”

Enraged, Tod dashed at the Grey, right arm cocked to deliver a blow.

Lars laughed loudly as he delivered a brutal right fist into the kit’s face.

Tod’s nose crumpled under the grey’s fist. Flung back several feet by the impact, the young Red landed on his back next to his mother.

“Or simply stupid,” Lars sneered, looking over his shoulder for approval from his fellow guard.

Glor, an older grey on duty with Lars, who remained laid on the tree stump, showed only a passing interest in Lars’’ scuffle, offering the junior guard a half-hearted smile.

Still partly-stunned, Brielle rolled Tod over that she might see her son’s face. Moving Tod’s hands from his nose, Brielle found her son bloodied; his eyes tear and hate-filled. The kit was furious, but he was also petrified.

Placing both of her hands on his cheeks, she told him, “Calm, Tod. Today’s not the day.” Observing him, Brielle watched the fire in his eyes dim slightly.

Rising to her feet, she rounded on Lars.

“He’s only ten years old, for maker’s sake!”

The same disdainful grin playing on his lips, Lars cocked his head, regarding the young downed Red.

“Big for a ten year old,” he noted with amusement. “Big enough square up to a Grey, he’s big enough to learn that it’s a bad idea,” he informed Brielle.

Moving his eyes down Brielle’s body, Lars cocked an eyebrow. His expression, playful, his eyes bottomless in their scorn.

“You darker Reds think that just because you resemble us, you can take liberties. Remember your place. You’re beneath us.”

Lars jutted his chin toward Tod. “Teach your kit some manners. Or I’ll do it for you.”

Waving her off with a hand, Lars turned away from the teacher, returning to his spot on the tree stump.

Staring after the Grey, Brielle took several moments to rein in her anger, before turning back to her son. Crouching on one knee, she helped Tod to sit up.

“Pinch your nose here,” she instructed him, placing his fingers at the correct spot. “It will clot in a few minutes

Brielle’s eyes flicked up to meet those of her eldest daughter. Well doneshe nodded, silently conveying her thanks to Chase for caring for the younger kits in her class.

Returning her attention to Tod, she helped the young Red to his feet.

“Steady….”

 

A chilling scream-bark broke into her intended words.

Lars and Glor shot to their feet. Noses sniffing at the gentle breeze, ears rotating to locate the direction of the scream.

“Pine martens, Lars” said, his voice low. Glor nodded once and both Greys tore up the bank of an oak, leaving the group of Reds alone in the clearing.

 

Instinctively, Brielle’s class of Reds gathered around her and Tod. Tod pinched harder at his nose with one hand, the other subconsciously, uselessly wiping at the blood on his chest fur.

 

Assisting Chase in gathering her class around her, Brielle whispered, “They smell the blood.”

 

 

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Alice in Anger (Tequila Mockingbird 2) -Preview

The following excerpt is from Alice in Anger, the follow up to Ice Cold Alice under my pseudonym, CP Wilson. The excerpt introduces Sam, who will drag Tequila from her settled life in France and be her main adversary for the book.

It is unedited:

Alice

Abigail lifted her chin. Biting carefully, she removed a strip of steak from her fork whilst she assessed him. The candlelight danced in her eyes. Soft music he’d been unaware of drifted into his awareness, coating the moment in a soft perfection.

Leaning across the table, Sam laid his hand over one of Abigail’s.

“You look great, Abbie.”

She bobbed a tight nod. I know.

She did know, they both did.

Sam grinned watching her empty the last of a dark red from her glass. Holding the glass to the side of her body, she tilted it slightly signalling the serving staff. In moments, an eager waiter refilled it, basking in her smile as she thanked him. Waiters always seemed attentive when Sam dined with Abbie. Her dark hair, skin and very green eyes, combined with her athletic frame, drew many looks of admiration. Over the decade or so he’d been married to Abbie, Sam had become accustomed to the attention his wife received, for the most part.

Leaning back Sam waited until his wife’s attention returned to him.

“It’s been so long since we’ve had time together like this, Abbie.” Sam said kindly.

Abigail’s eyebrows lifted and her lips thinned accusingly. Sam could’ve kicked himself. He could easily interpret her taut expression, it was one she’d worn often. And whose fault is that? It asked of him silently.

Sam improvised a transparent gloss-over.

“It’s nice,” he added quickly. “No kids, just us. Time to talk, to relax.” He watched Abbie decide to let it go and relaxed into his seat a fraction.

“Yes… it is,” Abigail replied tartly. Her tone signalled an end to the thread of the conversation, such as it was.

 

Their waiter returned; tidying away plates and glasses as the couple exchanged comments and traded tales of their kids’ week back and forth. The busy server, rewarded by another of Abigail’s appreciative smiles, stepped quickly in his duties. Sam shoved a prickle of mild annoyance away.

“Hard to believe that they’re getting so big, isn’t it?” Sam said. Abigail’s eyes glazed slightly. “I suppose so,” she offered distractedly.

Keen to avoid another argument, or any frostiness, Sam decided a break was needed.

Shoving his chair back, Sam jabbed a thumb over his shoulder. “Just going to the loo, love.” Abigail shrugged with one shoulder, then leaned over to offer her glass for refill once again. Passing the obliging waiter en-route, Sam turned aside from the man’s smirk. The waiter’s attitude was hardly a new experience for Sam. Even his friends habitually made a standing joke of asking how he’d got a wife as beautiful as Abigail, when he himself was just a pretty average specimen. I’d be happy to look after her while you’re on your next tour, Sarge. It was a soldier’s joke, and a common one, but seemed to possess more intent, a sharpened edge when said of his wife.

A notion tugged at Sam’s subconscious, causing him to look back to the table from the other side of the dining room.

Abigail’s glass was once again full. Pressing the edge to her mouth, she looked over its lip, sharing a joke with the waiter. The young man, clearly at ease in her presence, rested his rear end against their table before leaning in to exchange whispers with Abigail. Observing them huddled closely, their cheeks pressed together, Sam felt something akin to anger rise in his chest. He was not a man controlled by jealousy or by his emotions. Recalling his training, Sam composed himself. Straightening his back, he forced himself to feel a levity that didn’t come naturally, or easily.

A smile almost came to his mouth. He almost shrugged off the moment… and then he saw the waiter’s hand reach for and squeeze his wife’s thigh. Abigail returned the gesture, her hand roaming high on his thigh. Sam’s perception of the world around him reddened and vanished.

 

A series of heavy strides carried Sam to the table. With an iron grip, he grabbed at the waiter’s shoulder from behind. Pulling hard at the man, he crashed the waiter’s rear torso down onto the table shattering the glassware. Sam pinned the waiter to the table with his left hand, holding him in place effortlessly whilst his right began pummelling hammer strikes into the prone man’s nose. Blood and snot exploded from the young man’s face. Sam shifted his grip. Grabbing the waiter by the back of his neck he forced him to sit before slamming him back downwards once again with a vicious elbow strike to the bridge of his nose.

The waiter folded into a defensive embryo curl, exposing some deep wounds from the table’s glassware in the flesh of his back.

Somewhere far away, Abigail shouted at Sam and beat his upper back with her fists. Sam, barely aware of her blows, stepped forward to further punish the young waiter. Abruptly he was dragged backwards by several strong hands. Landing on his spine heavily, Sam’s awareness began to return as three waiters pinned his arms and torso to the carpeted floor.

A thread-bare tendril of conscious control was all he possessed, but it was enough with which to rein himself in, to extinguish the savage intent that had effortlessly carried him to act so brutally.

Laid there on the restaurant carpet, the room around him began to seep in once again. A young couple stood with their backs pressed to the wall, arms around, shielding each other from the madman who had spoiled their evening.

A toddler screamed. Her mother was glaring at Sam whilst trying futilely to comfort her.

I’m sorry, I’m a father myself, part of him pleaded pathetically.

The young waiter he had attacked still lay on the table top, the restaurant owner, the kid’s father, tended to him. He bled profusely from greying face and from his punctured and shredded back. From Sam’s newly adjusted perspective, the injured waiter suddenly looked very young. The waiter’s father locked eyes with Sam. Fury and outrage surged through the angry father. Several of his staff held him as he surged to his feet.

At length, blue lights flashed and danced across the windows and ceiling. Sam let go of a breath he hadn’t been aware he’d been holding and the final remnants of his spent rage, sagging to the floor. Turning his head to the right, he watched Abigail’s heels depart the room.

 

Ice Cold Alice, from Bloodhound Books, is available now at Amazon.

Alice in Anger will be published soon. 

The Revelation Room by Mark Tilbury – Review

Review:

Dark intent? Check. Religious irreverence, bordering on satire? Check. The blackest of humour tinged with biting dialogue? Check. I’m all in for the revelation Room.

Told in third person-past tense throughout, Tilbury’s Revelation Room is a hugely enjoyable slash across the veneer of decent society, exposing some of the grimmest and most graphic insights into the depths of the human soul and capacity for denial, cruelty and for goodness.

Our main protagonists, undercover in a cult, are beautifully-rendered, fully fleshed-out leads possessed of solid motivations and are the perfect creations to guide the reader through Tilbury’s tantalising and tightly plotted story.

In the Revelation Room, we find a writer who is absolutely on-point with his use of dialogue to expose intent and characterisation. Tilbury’s use of short, snappy sentences contrasted by longer monologues, succeeds in conveying the emotion or urgency of the particular scene. Excellent structure. The characterisation is a particularly strong element in this work.

 

At times the novel feels surreal, occasionally dangerous and often cutting in its darkly humorous moments and cutting observations.

A confident, swaggering, unapologetic fiend of a novel from a writer to watch.

 

 

Rev-room cover

Book blurb for The Revelation Room:

Ben Whittle’s father, a private investigator, has been taken captive by a cult whilst investigating the case of a missing girl. When Ben receives a desperate call from his father asking for help he is drawn into a dark underground world. As Ben retraces the last known steps of the missing girl he discovers his only option left is to join the cult and rescue his father from the inside. The leader of the cult, Edward Ebb, is a psychopathic egocentric who uses his position to control his small group of followers in The Sons and Daughters of Salvation. When he initiates Ben into the group it soon becomes apparent how sick and twisted Ebb is. Ben must find his father and the missing girl, but the odds are stacked against him and time is running out. Can Ben rescue his father and the girl and escape with his life? And what is the gruesome secret concealed in the Revelation Room? The Revelation Room is the first in a new series of psychological mystery thrillers.

 

Author bio:

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams, published, and The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused re-launched, by Bloodhound Books. When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

You can find Mark and his books at Amazon

 

 

Brick by Conrad Jones – Review

Review:

Conrad jones has crafted a tightly-plotted, confident and solid offering with Brick. Several plotlines run throughout the book, the complexities of which this seasoned writer handles with ease. The dialogue is mostly excellent and moves the story along nicely at some crucial points.

At times I felt the novel suffered from large exposition dumps, particularly in Bryn’s early chapter, but this is a minor quibble, mostly a personal preference, and one that readers of this genre won’t find off-putting.

Jones’ strength, in this particular novel, is his ability to convey a very real sense of danger, horror, fear and conflict. His prose is descriptive, often graphic but never wantonly so. Each atrocious act or event is entirely justified and in keeping with the plot. Jones’ eye for detail is impressive, as is his descriptive skill, which aids in immersing the reader in the constantly-shifting, precarious world he presents them with.

It’s always nice to see social media utilised in a modern novel. Aside from making the story feel current…fresh, the use of social media is inspired in this case and a skilful tool for moving this story on, and for heightening the realism (ironically) and the urgency of the scenes.

 

An often dark, sometimes gruelling, and hugely-entertaining offering from a confident writer.

 

brick cover

Book Description:

When a teenager is the victim of an unprovoked attack while walking his dog, a murder investigation begins. A cruel twist of fate makes his innocent family the targets of a vicious campaign of terror. As the detectives of Liverpool’s Major Investigation Team try to contain the violence, several key members of an organised crime family begin to topple, causing shockwaves across the world. 

Why was the teenager attacked?

And will the villains be brought to justice?

 

Author bio:

 

I am Conrad Jones a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

In March 1993 I was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank`and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’.

 

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 17th novel, SHADOWS, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain

 

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 17th novel, SHADOWS, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelley and his Harry Bosch Series.    

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/conradjonesauthorpage/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conrad-Jones/e/B002BOBGRE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1493730391&sr=8-1

https://twitter.com/ConradJones

jonesconrad5@aol.com

Bad to the Bone by Tony Forder – Review

Review:

Bad to The Bone is a competent police procedural in the ilk of recent TV series ‘Unforgotten’. Written in third-person, past-tense  (an inspired choice of narrative for this particular plot), the novel is pacey whilst managing to maintain a suspenseful edge throughout. Forder’s characters display some nicely-timed humour to bring a touch of lightness when it’s needed most. The dialogue in this novel is good, particularly from Bliss, who I liked immediately as a lead character,

Forder does, however, employ a little too much telling rather than showing for me. At times I felt the background relayed in chunks of exposition could’ve been conveyed more imaginatively but this didn’t detract from the flow of the novel, the quality of the writing, or the pace. The characterisation was unfailingly and consistently excellent, a particular strength for Forder actually, and there’s plenty of evidence of a writer who is developing a new skill-set by the novel’s end, which was particularly strong at it’s reveal.

A pacey, invigorating read that offers plenty of thrills and a solid entry into the genre.

 

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Book Description:

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

 

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported. 

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media. 

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost? 

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

 

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Author Bio:

On 1st February 2017, Tony signed to Bloodhound Books, who will publish his new edgy crime thriller Bad to the Bone this spring. It is the first in a series. Later this year, Tony’s second novel for Bloodhound Books, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, will be published. This year Tony has been inspired by new ideas, and has been working hard on two new books, both of which should be completed in 2017. In the meantime, he hopes you enjoy Bad to the Bone, introducing DI James Bliss and DC Penny Chandler.

 

Links:

Facebook

Twitter

 

Bad to the Bone is available at Amazon and from Bloodhound Books now

Kill or Die by Ann Evans – Review

This book has been my surprise of the year so far.

A first in the genre from Evans, Kill or Die is nonetheless a fine display of skill and confidence from a seasoned writer who makes smart choices in her prose and choice of narrative. Evans’ immersive and descriptive prose excels in engaging the reader and in stimulating a cascade of very vivid images of the setting and her characters.

Well-crafted, and natural-feeling dialogue, utilising a mixture of long and short sentence structure, augment the already good characterisation. Combined with Evans use of Body language to covey intent and emotion, this elevates the characterisation to another level and places it amongst the most skilled I’ve read in a while.

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A third-person, past-tense narrative throughout suits the plot and propels the characters and their deeds along at a fair old clip. Kill or Die is seeped in suspense, eliciting a deep sense of unease and conflict throughout. The novel is permeated with a measured tension that I really enjoyed. With her choice to place Julia and her daughter front and centre, Evans appears to effortlessly tap into the subconscious fears all parents harbour and suppress and asks her readers to explore their own unease.

How far would you go to protect your child? Answer: As far as you had to.

A great new addition to the publisher’s catalogue and yet another declaration of Bloodhound’s intent to continue to develop quality books and writers.

 

You can find Ann and her books at Bloodhound Books and a Amazon

Beautiful Liar by Louise Mullins – Review

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Mullins’ Novel is an uneasy read. Shedding many of the characteristics of the bog-standard ‘psychological thriller’ Beautiful Liar flips back and forth between past and present, gradually revealing the path to the murder the reader encounters in the book’s opening pages.

The first-person, present-tense narrative works well enough, mostly because the alternating between Joel and Erica’s segments is startling due to the stark differences between the characters’ personalities. So much so that perhaps using different POVs or tense may have been overkill.

Joel is skilfully manipulative, in the way that many controlling men and abusers can often be. Mullins has done an admirable job of conveying his presence, without ever resorting to moustache-twirling.

Despite the situation she is placed in, and my sympathies with Erica, as well as my support for her dispatching of her husband, I didn’t always like her, which made me like the book more than I might have had I found a Mary-Sue.

I’m unsure whether this is Mullins’ debut novel or not, it certainly doesn’t read like one, rather it shows a writer who is well along in her development and demonstrating her skill.

 

Beautiful Liar is available now from Bloodhound Books and at Amazon