The Fragility of Poppies
Police procedural with strong relationship theme
'You won't forget me, Richard. I know where you live. I've seen your pretty wife. I've got friends, good friends that will carry on for me.' How much death and violence can a man witness without it destroying him? ? And how do those who love him cope as they watch him change?
Four years ago Detective Inspector Rick Evans had it all: a successful career, a comfortable home in southern England and, above all, a happy marriage to a beautiful, talented woman whom he adored. Rick's contentment ended on the day he discovered the bodies of three murdered girls in a hut in Elmwash Woods and disintegrated totally with the violent suicide of the prime suspect, Ernest Clift. From that time Rick's life and his marriage started to fall apart. Annie, his wife, tried to reach him but, as time dragged on and their marriage crumbled, she ended up taking refuge in her career as an artist and art lecturer, while Rick turned to alcohol to numb the pain.
Four years later, an act of drunken violence threatens to end their relationship and Annie, hurt and frightened, moves out of their home. Then another child goes missing and the silk poppies left under her garden swing echo the flowers left at the places where the three girls found in Elmwash Woods were last seen. Rick's superiors believe that their predecessors got it wrong and Clift was innocent. Rick has to face the possibility that he helped to hound an innocent man to death and the Elmwash killer is still out there. He knows he has to discover the truth, no matter what it costs.
'You'll find that's the way it is with love, it looks like it's so easy to destroy but it always comes back, just like the poppies.' Those words of wisdom were spoken by Annie's father shortly before his death from a heart-attack while they were walking in the countryside, when she was still a child. Since that time, for Annie the poppy has always been a poignant symbol of loss and survival and, as an image, has featured prominently in her art. Now Annie has to put her father's promise about the resilience of love to the test and must fight to discover within herself the strength and courage to return to Rick and try to save their marriage and his health and sanity.
With so much in their professional and personal lives to preoccupy them, it is not surprising that neither Rick nor Annie comprehend another danger that is close at hand – until it's upon them and threatens both their lives.
The Terminal Velocity of Cats
Police procedural from the viewpoint of a CSI
“I’ve got a skull with modern dentistry. Which means you’ve got a Scene of Crime.”
Archaeologist turned Scene of Crimes Officer Mia Trent is summoned by Detective Inspector Oliver Sutton to examine a pit of bones discovered on a building site in Bridge Road. The area had been the site of a medieval plague pit and Mia expects to find an ancient burial, but she swiftly realises this victim has died within the last few years.
Intrigued by the strangeness of the burial, Mia helps Sutton to identify the dead man and discover the brooding malice behind his death. The case is soon resolved but Mia's presence in Bridge Road has provoked the attention of a dangerous and deeply evil man. Mia is being stalked by a killer who has already murdered three women in the town.
The police identify a Prime Suspect but before they can arrest him he disappears. Can Mia and her colleagues track him down before he strikes again? Or will Mia have to live the rest of her life in fear?
About the Children
Police procedural from the viewpoint of a senior detective
"We've found something you ought to see, sir. In there." Tyler took the torch and hunkered down to peer inside a child's makeshift den. He stood up. His face was grim. "So now we know," said Tyler. "The missing child is a toddler."
Two children and three adults have been shot in a quiet suburban park. Detective Superintendent Kev Tyler is the head of Saltern's Serious Crimes Team and, in his twenty-five years as a cop he has seen many terrible things, nevertheless the murder of the two young boys outrages him and his team. The pressure increases when the police realise another, much younger child was present at the crime scene and has now disappeared.
Tyler and his newly appointed second-in-command, D.I. Gill Martin, struggle to find the motive behind the apparently random killings. Who were the intended victims? What lies behind the evil legends of Stone Park? And can they find the missing child in time? About the Children is the latest tense, fast-moving, police procedural by the author of The Terminal Velocity of Cats.