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Authors: Tony Black

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Murder Mile

BOOK: Murder Mile
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Contents

About the Book

About the Author

Also by Tony Black

Title Page

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Copyright

About the Book

In a cold, windswept field on the outskirts of Edinburgh, lies the brutally mutilated body of a young woman. As DI Rob Brennan looks at the tangled mass of limbs and blood, he feels his heart freeze.

Like Fiona Gow five years earlier, this girl has been strangled with her own stockings, sexually mutilated and her eyes have been gouged out. Is this the work of an Edinburgh Ripper? The press certainly think so.

Rob Brennan is determined to uncover the truth – however painful that might be. But truth is hard to come by in a world of police rivalries, media hysteria and copycat crime.

About the Author

Tony Black is an award-winning journalist who has written for most of the national newspapers. He is the author of
Paying for It, Gutted, Loss, Long Time Dead
and
Truth Lies Bleeding
. For more information visit
www.tonyblack.net

Also by Tony Black

Paying for It

Gutted

Loss

Long Time Dead

Truth Lies Bleeding

TONY BLACK

Murder Mile

For Cheryl
(Now I know what all the fuss is about)

Prologue

THE CAR ROUNDED
the bend a little too fast and the tyres aquaplaned on the wet road; it was enough to send the girls on the back seat from giggles to screams. They were not real screams, more for show, silliness. They were the type of screams that presented themselves after a night of hilarity and heavy drinking. The aim was to keep the boys focused; focused on them. It had the desired effect.

‘That’s my hearing gone,’ said Ben.

The girls giggled again, started to scream again.

‘I’m not kidding, that’s me fully deaf now!’

The driver lowered the revs, dropped speed. The night was wet, the rain had stopped but there was a lot of water sitting in potholes and puddles by the side of the road that splashed up every time the tyres made contact.

‘You pulling over?’ said Ben.

‘Eh?’

‘You’re slowing down …’ He had to raise his voice, the girls had started to sing on the back seat now. ‘I’m only saying, if you’re stopping …’

‘I’m not stopping … I want to get home.’ Garry nodded to the pair behind them, singing, and now attempting to dance in the confined space.

Ben turned to face the driver, bunched his brows. ‘Go on, mate, just pull over for a minute or that … I need a slash.’

Garry frowned, ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake, Ben. Can you not wait?’

Headshakes. ‘Want me to pish in your glove box?’

Ben started to fiddle with the handle beneath the dashboard, opened the glove box. ‘Maybe there’s an empty bottle in here; mind you, I was never a very good aim … especially after a few pints.’

Garry snapped, ‘Right. OK.’ He flicked on the indicators, applied the brake. The girls were jolted forward, giggled again as their stretched arms reached out to balance them.

‘Whoa … what’s up?’

‘We stopping?’

The car pulled off the road, into a lay-by. It was a deserted stretch, not another car had been seen for miles on this road. There were no houses, not a barn or any other kind of farm building within sight. They were in the wilds, a deserted place, hidden beneath an inky darkness.

Ben opened his door, ‘Call of nature, ladies.’

More giggles.

As he got out of the car Ben put his foot into a deep declivity in the tarred road. His shoe got wet, he shook it, cursed. ‘Fucking hell.’

‘Hurry up, eh!’ yelled Garry.

‘Give me a minute, I just got out.’ As he went, he looked around. It was cold, much colder than he had imagined it would be. It was darker too, there were no street lamps on the country road. He tensed for a moment, then raked fingers through his hair.

Behind him the girls called for the stereo to be turned up, started singing along to a Rihanna song. They were getting out of the car, beginning to dance as Ben headed to the lay-by’s bourne. When he got to the fence he could make out the girls in the lights of the car; he didn’t want them to see him taking a piss, climbed over the fence. There was a beaten path through the high grass, he followed it.

The grass was wet, soaking. Ben’s trousers started to dampen,
then
he felt moisture seeping through to his shins but he walked on; he could still hear the music from the car, the girls singing along. The night air was cold on his face, each breath he took seemed to chill his lungs. He started to rub at his arms as he walked.

The illuminated hands of Ben’s watch caught the glare of the moon; it wasn’t quite a full moon, but near enough. He could see the outline of the city of Edinburgh – further down the bypass – and the orange fizz of the street lights glowing and flickering like the place was on fire. It was a strange sight; he thought he had seen the city from just about every angle, in every guise, but this was a new one. Ben felt unnerved, uncomfortable in this territory.

The path petered out and he was suddenly walking in heavy, waist-high grass, then he found the incline of the ground subsiding, his shoes slipping. He looked back, he couldn’t see the car any more – it was above his line of vision. The wind raised his hair as he walked. For a moment he wanted to bolt back to the others; he couldn’t explain the feeling – it was like an unconscious fear of the dark. Like when he was a child and he didn’t want the light to be turned out at bedtime. He wondered what was out there, in the blackness.

He shook it off, said, ‘Get a grip, Ben.’

He started to undo the buttons of his fly; the relief was instant.

‘Ah, fucking bliss …’

There was enough light from the reflective mirror of the moon for Ben to see the steam rising from the ground as he emptied his bladder. His arms – bare in only short shirtsleeves – started to feel colder as he stood still. He heard the wind emit a low whistle, then the rustling of branches. He looked around. Where was he? Middle of nowhere. He checked himself, it was a field, some farmer’s pride and joy off some B-road. He didn’t care, though, he just wanted away. He felt spooked there, freaked out. It was too quiet now. Where were the others?

‘Guys?’ he called to them.

Silence.

He stood still for a minute, then quickly gave himself a shake, started to button up.

It was too quiet, they wouldn’t have left without him, would they?


Guys
?’

There was no answer. Thoughts swirled in his mind.

They were taking the piss, they’d have driven off – it would have been Garry’s idea, to put the shits up him – what a laugh, eh.

Ben began to jog towards the path; the place looked different facing the other way. His head spun too. He could feel the effects of alcohol rising in him as he jogged. His stomach cramped, his vision blurred. He upped his pace, but soon realised there was no path now. He knew there had been a path, but he couldn’t find it. It was too dark to see, the moon slinking behind amethyst clouds.

He stumbled.

‘Fucking hell.’

Ben expected to have seen the lights of the car by now, heard the stereo and the girls giggling and dancing, singing along. But he heard nothing.

What was going on? he thought.

‘Where the fuck am I?’

He called out again, ‘Garry … Steph …’

Nothing.

He felt his foot sink into another deep hole. ‘Shit!’

There was a loud squelch as Ben removed his foot from the soggy ground. He tried to shake off the water, the mud, and then he tried to wipe it on the long grass. As he dragged his foot, he looked about; it was pitch dark. The path he had followed was nowhere to be seen, hidden in the blackness. He knew the others were playing games with him; if they hadn’t driven off, then they were sitting with the lights out and trying hard not to giggle.

‘Put the fucking lights on, eh … I’m fucking lost here!’

There was no reply. His breathing ramped.

‘Fuckers.’ As he started off again he continued to curse his friends.
The
ground was wet and treacherous; he wondered if he would be better staying still but immediately brushed the thought aside in favour of keeping moving. He had managed only another few yards when the cloud covering receded and the moonlight came out again. As he looked ahead to the newly lit field, he stopped still. He felt as if he’d been struck in the chest.

‘What the fuck is that?’

There was a pale, white object sticking out of the ground. It looked familiar to him, but in such an unfamiliar setting he couldn’t be sure.

Ben slit his eyes, tried to get a better view. The object remained elusive. He edged a step or two closer, tilted his head towards the light but he still couldn’t see it clearly enough. As he took further paces, another cloud passed over the moon and the light weakened once again. His vision diminished and he was suddenly aware of a heady scent. The smell caught in the back of his nostrils and throat, it was like something from the science labs at school, he thought.

His hand shot up to his mouth, it was an involuntary action. Was he going to gag? he wondered. His stomach grew heavy, he sensed the bile rising. Then the light returned and he was facing two bright yellow eyes.

Ben’s heart stilled.

He screamed out.

The sky brightened some more and the fox he had been staring at took off for the long grass. When he regained his composure he realised the pale, white object he had seen was indeed familiar: it was a woman’s leg.

‘Ben, you all right?’ It was Garry.

‘Ben …
Ben
…’ And the girls.

The car headlights were shone into the field. Ben took another look at the pale, white leg. It was attached to a pale, white body.

He looked away quickly.

Ben’s shoulders tensed, his throat constricted.

As his stomach heaved, he bent over and vomited on the ground.

Ben was still retching when the girls appeared, running towards him through the lit-up grass.

‘Ben … what is it?’

He tried to straighten himself in time, to stop them from seeing what was there, but he was too late.

The girls’ loud, frightened screams were for real this time.

Chapter 1

THE FLUORESCENT GREEN
of the alarm clock stung DI Rob Brennan’s eyes as he awoke, but it was the ringing phone by the bedside that did the real damage. He reached out, knocked it off its cradle and heard it clatter to the ground. His next instinct was to turn round and see if his wife was still asleep beside him, but she wasn’t there; he remembered now.

Brennan eased himself upright, leaned over the edge of the bed and retrieved the receiver; his voice rasped as he spoke, ‘Yes, Brennan.’

‘Hello, sorry to wake you …’ It was DS Stevie McGuire – the lad still hadn’t learned how to handle him, thought Brennan. He didn’t like people who opened conversations with the word ‘sorry’.

‘What is it?’

The line crackled a little. There was a pause, Stevie preparing his words carefully – he knew that much then. ‘Boss, there’s been a call …’

‘There better have been more than a bloody call if you’re getting me out of my kip at this hour, Stevie.’

The DS coughed gently, was he thinking of another apology? ‘Yes, well … There was a call and we had uniform check it out. By all accounts it’s not pretty.’

Brennan’s interest was aroused. He massaged the back of his
neck
with his hand and then he rose from the bed, walked towards the window and stuck his fingers in the blinds. It was still dark out. ‘Go on.’

‘The early reports are a female, looks sexually motivated.’

BOOK: Murder Mile
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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