Authors: Michael Fowler
Caffeine Nights Publishing
Black & Blue
A DS Hunter Kerr story
Fiction aimed at the heart and the head...
Published by Caffeine Nights Publishing 201
Copyright © Michael Fowler 2014
Michael Fowler has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998 to be identified as the author of this work
CONDITIONS OF SALE
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher
This book has been sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental
Published in Great Britain by Caffeine Nights Publishing
Cover design by
Mark (Wills) Williams
Everything else by
Default, Luck and Accident
BLACK & BLUE
Where it all beg
Real reviews by real readers.
‘Heart of the Demon is darkish, plenty of gore – swift and interesting.’ –
Theresa de Vance.
‘One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. A real page turner.’ –
‘Couldn’t put this book down, well written, drew me in.’ –
‘Just gets better with each book.’ – Kindelitis
‘An excellent read – convincing, dark and gripping.’ - Annie
‘One of the best police procedurals I have ever read.’ – Elaine Byrne
‘Another compulsive read and cannot wait for the next one.’ – Mrs Lm Ashby
‘So glad I found this book – more please!’ – Caroline
‘Fantastic read – I couldn’t put it down.’ – Janet D
Michael lives in the Dearne Valley area of South Yorkshire with his wife and two sons.
He served as a police officer for thirty-two years,
both in uniform and in plain clothes, working in CID, Vice Squad and Drug Squad, and retired as an Inspector in charge of a busy CID Department in 2006.
Aside from writing, his other passion is painting, and as a professional artist he has numerous artistic accolades to his name.
His work can be found in numerous galleries throughout th
He is a member of the Crime Writers Association.
He can be contacted via his website at
OTHER DS HUNTER KERR TITLES
(A short story e-book from the case files of Hunter Kerr)
This is dedicated to the memory of my Mum and Dad – if only they could see, what, buying me that typewriter, all those years ago, has brought about.
Barnwell is a small part of the Dearne Valley area of South Yorkshire. It is a district steeped in working class culture and one which is slowly recovering from the demise of centuries of heavy industry, especially coal mining. At times it is a demanding area to Police, as its community work hard, and play hard, and it is against this backdrop, in 1991, that we follow Hunter Kerr during his two year probationary period with the Police Service.
With very little life experience, young Kerr – as he was frequently called – was putting a foothold on the possibility of a 30 year career, where his innocence would be put to the test many times
, and where he would be quick to grasp that on more than one occasion it was expedient to bend the rules to achieve a desired result.
Taking refuge in the
doorway of a furniture store on High Street, Police Constable Hunter Kerr gazed out over the sodden street. The rain had halted, but the night sky still rumbled and threatened as the storm of twenty minutes ago petered away into the next valley. The deluge had left behind oily black pools upon which irregular rainbow patterns played along the surface.
In the distance the church bell struck twelve o’clock.
Hunter’s thoughts were drifting.
A hand tapped him on the shoulder bringing his senses back to the moment.
“Come back into the shadows, you’ll never catch anyone standing out like that.” Roger Mills voice was almost a gruff whisper.
Hunter stepped back and brushed shoulders with his Tutor Constable. He said softly, “It’s quiet.”
Roger nudged him with his elbow. “That’s the third time you’ve said that in the last hour. Wash your mouth out with soapy water, young Kerr. You’re risking fate saying that. Believe me once you’ve had a few years of Friday and Saturday night’s under your belt, you’ll saviour moments like this.”
Out of the corner of an eye Hunter took in his mentor’s features.
Craggy-faced with dark short cropped hair, Roger Mills was an ex-paratrooper, who had served in Northern Ireland, before becoming a cop fourteen years ago, and he still paraded himself with all the bearings of a military man. It was his fifth shift with his tutor and he’d already learned from others on his group that he couldn’t have wished to have been teamed up with anyone better.
“It’s usually at this time when I start asking all my student officers why on earth they joined this god-forsaken job
, but then I heard you telling Andy Sharp the other day, that you were going to go to university but changed your mind. What made you do that? You could have joined later and gone into the fast-track system.”
Hunter pulled back his gaze and stared at the glistening wet pavement. “My girlfriend was murdered
.” He felt a lump emerge into his throat. He swallowed. “I promised her parents I’d catch who’d done it.”
Roger was quiet for a moment. Then he said, “
Wow! I didn’t expect that for an answer. When did this happen?”
bit down on his lip “Almost three years ago.”
“And that comment you made about promising her parents you’d catch who’d done it.
It’s obviously not been detected?”
“What was your girlfriend’s name?”
“Polly. Polly Hayes.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Hunter caught Roger whipping his head
sideways in his direction.
I was on that day when the job came in. I was one of the officers who went out searching for her. We found her up near the woods. That was her wasn’t it?”
in the darkness. Suddenly, ghost-like, a vision of Polly drifted inside his head. She gave him one of her mischievous smiles. It was a fleeting glimpse and then she was gone again. The flashes of Polly coming back to visit him were becoming less frequent. He wondered if there ever would be a time when he could no longer imagine her. He stared out across the glistening tarmac. A gush of wind ripped down the street creating small waves across the puddles.
“That must have been a real shocker?”
Roger’s words brought him back from his reverie. “It was. It’s not something you ever imagine happening to you.”
“You still think about it then?”
“All the time.”
Roger was silent for a few seconds then he said, “I wasn’t kept on that job.
Our shift got involved in the initial search, and I spoke to a couple of people who’d been in the vicinity at the time, but that was all. There was no main suspect if I remember.”
“No there wasn’t.
In fact me and my mates got grilled quite a few times over it.”
“You mean as suspects?”
Roger let out a quick laugh.”
“It’s not funny. It was scary. We were only sixteen - seventeen.”
“Who interviewed you?”
“A Detective Newstead. Barry Newstead.”
His mentor gave off another snort.
“I know Barry. I can imagine he gave you a bit of a hard time.”
Have you ever been a suspect?”
“Not in a murder. I’ve been interviewed a few times by The Rubber-heeled Squad when prisoners have made complaints.
That wasn’t much fun I can tell you. Anyway, you’re here now and in the job and you’ve got yourself some focus. Hopefully you’ll be able to keep your promise to her parents.”
Silence passed between them for the best part of a minute then Roger said soft
ly. “It may not be any consolation, but I’ve lost some good friends over the years, especially when I was in Northern Ireland, and although I never forget them, it does get easier with time.” Then his voice took on a more serious note, “The other thing Hunter is you mustn’t let it get to you. Dealing with death is something we do on a regular basis in this job. If after your first couple of deaths you’re struggling, then this is not the job for you.”
turned and met Roger’s gaze.
Cracking a smile Roger said,
“Anyway, young Kerr, enough of my pearls of wisdom, time to shake a few door handles.” Stepping out onto the wet footpath he added, “I’ll check this side, you check opposite.”
Splitting up, Hunter watched his colleague look into
shop fronts and twist several door handles before disappearing into a side alley. It was at this stage he thought that the street was a little spooky with its long gaps between lamps and no activity around.
Shadows appeared to take on a life of their own.
Hunter approached each door with caution, suspicion aroused with every unusual sound, and by the time he had entered his first alleyway his senses had sharpened to a knife-edge.
, he flicked the beam at tangents, picking out every shape as he trod gingerly towards the rear of the shops. Before him he caught sight of piles of boxes and kicked out at them as he went. The leaping of a fleeing cat caused his heart to flutter and he was still shaking when he appeared at the end of the row where a straight-backed and rigid Roger Mills was waiting.
”Everything Okay?” he enquired.
Hunter fiddled with his maglite torch, trying to turn it off. He nodded.
“Right, snap-time then.”
Roger’s quick footfall caught Hunter unawares and he shuffled double-time to catch him up.
* * * * *
Hunter’s stomach felt uncomfortable as he set off out on his second tour of duty. It had felt strange eating a microwave meal in the early hours of the morning – especially when sober. The re-checking of doors and alleyways brought on a second bout of nervousness followed by indigestion, and he vowed that his food choice for the remainder of the week would consist only of light snacks.
The bloated feeling left him
when his radio crackled into life. The operator’s voice had some urgency, and as her message tailed off he felt a nudge in his side.
“Come on, young Kerr, someone’s fallen in the ponds.
We’re the nearest.”
Picking up his pace Hunter
followed close to his tutor’s heels, though he found himself overtaking as they neared the location.
Turning the corner
of a row of terraces Hunter entered the dirt track which led to the fishing ponds and he caught his first sight of the black water shimmering under the clouded moon. He put in a burst and heard Roger’s panting breath falling back. Within seconds he had a full view of the fishing lakes layout and urgently scanned the rippling surface. It didn’t take him long to spy the darkened shape, arms outstretched, floating away from the banking. The figure was inactive and Hunter’s mind began to whirl as an uneasy, yet excited feeling, began to envelop him. Glancing backwards he saw Roger at least a hundred yards away.
“Go on Hunter,” Mills shouted. “I’ll call for back up.”
Hunter’s hat was the first item to be discarded, quickly followed by his coat. With brain pounding he pitched himself into the pond, his feet squelching into thick mud. The shock of the ice cold water took his breath, but the experience was only momentary as he began wading towards the motionless floating body.
The first light of his tutor’s torchlight flicked before him, quickly followed by more lights, criss-crossing, from all sides of the banking.
Hunter was amazed at the quick response from his group.
As he reached out and grasped the bod
y’s sleeve he shuddered. Not with the cold this time, but with an unexpected fear, as he felt the uncanny stiffness and rigidity of the out-flung arm. Turning over the body he realised why everyone had turned out. The plastic face of the half-mannequin stared back with an almost mocking Mona Lisa smile.
Laughter burst out around him.
Spinning around, a mix of anger and embarrassment engulfing him, the dazzling torch lights only ensured he saw blackened and blurred faces. Hunter could feel the cold seeping into his frame again as he listened to the chuckles of his colleagues dying away. Then he heard the distinctive gruff voice of his tutor.
“I bet you won’t say how quiet things are again
.” There was a pause and he added, “Welcome to the shift young Kerr.”
- ooOoo –