Authors: David Peace
Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Police Procedural
Praise for David Peaces
Peaces policemen rape prostitutes they are meant to be protecting, torture suspects they know cannot be guilty and reap the profits of organized vice. Peaces powerful novel exposes a side of life which most of us would prefer to ignore.
A writer of immense talent and power
. If northern noir is the crime fashion of the moment, Peace is its most brilliant designer.
Peace has found his own voicefull of dazzling, intense poetry and visceral violence.
With a human landscape that is violent and unrelentingly bleak, Peaces fiction is two or three shades the other side of noir.
smacks of the stinking corruption of a brutal police force and a formidable sense of time and place.
David Peace is the author of
The Red Riding Quartet, GB84, The Damned Utd
Tokyo Year Zero.
He was chosen as one of
Best Young British Novelists, and has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the German Crime Fiction Award, and the French Grand Prix de Roman Noir for Best Foreign Novel. Born and raised in Yorkshire, he has lived in Tokyo since 1994.
ALSO BY DAVID PEACE
Tokyo Year Zero
The Damned Utd
When a righteous man
turneth away from his righteousness,
and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them;
for his iniquity that he hath done
shall he die.
Again, when the wicked man
turneth away from his wickedness
that he hath committed, and doeth that
which is lawful and right,
he shall save his soul alive.
Ezekiel 18, 2627
Tuesday 24 December 1974:
Down the Strafford stairs and out the door, blue lights on the black sky, sirens on the wind.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
Running, fucked forever the takings of the till, the pickings of their bloody pockets.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Should have finished what he started; the coppers still breathing, the barmaid and the old cunt. Should have done it right, should have done the bloody lot.
The last coach west to Manchester and Preston, last exit, last chance to dance
The John Shark Show
Sunday 29th May 1977
Sunday 29 May 1977.
Its happening again:
When the two sevens clash
Burning unmarked rubber through another hot dawn to another ancient park with her secret dead, from Potters Field to Soldiers Field, parks giving up their ghosts, its happening all over again.
Sunday morning, windows open, and
its going to be another scorcher
, red postbox sweating, dogs barking at a rising sun.
Radio on: alive with death.
Stereo: car and walkie-talkie both:
Proceeding to Soldiers Field
Nobles voice from another car.
Ellis turns to me, a look like we should be going faster.
Shes dead, I say, but knowing what he should be thinking:
Sunday morning giving
a days start, a day on us, another life on us. Nothing but the bloody Jubilee in every paper till tomorrow morning, no-one remembering another Saturday night in Chapeltown
Chapeltown my town for two years; leafy streets filled with grand old houses carved into shabby little flats filled full of single women selling sex to fill their bastard kids, their bastard men, and their bastard habits.
Chapeltown my deal: MURDER SQUAD.
The deals we make, the lies they buy, the secrets we keep, the silence they get
I switch on the siren, a sledgehammer through all their Sunday mornings, a clarion call for the dead.
And Ellis says, Thatll wake the fucking nig-nogs up.
But a mile up ahead I know shell not flinch upon her damp dew bed.
And Ellis smiles, like this is what its all about; like this was what hed signed up for all along.
But he doesnt know whats lying on the grass at Soldiers Field.
Ive been here before.
And now, now its happening again.
Where the fucks Maurice?
Im walking towards her, across the grass, across Soldiers Field. I say, Hell be here.
Detective Chief Superintendent Peter Noble, Georges boy, out from behind his fat new Millgarth desk, between me and her.
I know what hes hiding:
therell be a raincoat over her, boots or shoes placed on her thighs, a pair of panties left on one leg, a bra pushed up, her stomach and breasts hollowed out with a screwdriver, her skull caved in with a hammer
Noble looks at his watch and says, Well, anyroad, Im taking this one.
Theres a bloke in a tracksuit by a tall oak, throwing up. I look at my watch. Its seven and theres a fine steam coming off the grass all across the park.
Eventually I say, It him?
Noble moves out of the way. See for yourself.
Fuck, says Ellis.
The man in the tracksuit looks up, spittle all down him, and I think about my son and my stomach knots.
Back on the road, more cars are arriving, people gathering.
Detective Chief Superintendent Noble says, The fuck you put that sodding siren on for? World and his wifell be out here now.
Possible witnesses, I smile and finally look at her:
Theres a tan raincoat draped over her, white feet and hands protruding. There are dark stains on the coat.
Have a bloody look, Noble says to Ellis.
Go on, I add.
Detective Constable Ellis slowly puts on two white plastic gloves and then squats down on the grass beside her.
He lifts up the coat, swallows and looks up at me. Its him, he says.
I just stand there, nodding, looking off at some crocuses or something.
Ellis lowers the coat.
Noble says, He found her.
I look back over at the man in the tracksuit, at the man with the sick on him, grateful. Got a statement?
If its not too much trouble, smiles Noble.
Ellis stands up. What a fucking way to go, he says.
Detective Chief Superintendent Noble lights up and exhales. Silly slag, he hisses.
Im Detective Sergeant Fraser and this is Detective Constable Ellis. Wed like to take a statement and then you can get off home.
Statement. He pales again. You dont think I had anything
No, sir. Just a statement detailing how you came to be here and report this.
Lets sit in the car.
We walk over to the road and get in the back. Ellis sits in the front and switches off the radio.
Its hotter than I thought it would be. I take out my notebook and pen. He reeks. The car was a bad idea.
Lets start with your name and address.
Derek Poole, with an
. 4 Strickland Avenue, Shadwell.
Ellis turns round. Off Wetherby Road?
Mr Poole says, Yes.
Thats quite a jog, I say.
No, no. I drove here. I just jog round the park.
No. Just Sundays.
What time did you get here?
He pauses and then says, About sixish.
Whered you park?
About a hundred yards up there, he says, nodding up the Roundhay Road.
Hes got secrets has Derek Poole and Im laying odds with myself:
Hes a lonely man is Derek Poole, often bored. But this isnt what he had in mind for today.
Hes looking at me. Ellis turns round again.
I ask, Are you married?
Yes, I am, he replies, like hes lying.
I write down
He says, Why?
What do you mean, why?
He shifts in his tracksuit. I mean, why do you ask?
Same reason Im going to ask how old you are.
I see. Just routine?
I dont like Derek Poole, his infidelities and his arrogance, so I say, Mr Poole, theres nothing routine about a young woman having her stomach slashed open and her skull smashed in.
Derek Poole looks at the floor of the car. Hes got sick on his trainers and Im worried hell puke again and well have the stink for a week.
Lets just get this over with, I mutter, knowing Ive gone too far.
DC Ellis opens the door for Mr Poole and were all back out in the sun.
There are so many fucking coppers now, and Im looking at them thinking,
too many chiefs:
Theres my gaffer Detective Inspector Rudkin, Detective Superintendent Prentice, DS Alderman, the old head of Leeds CID Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson, the new head Noble and, in the centre of the scrum, the man himself: Assistant Chief Constable George Oldman.
Over by the body Professor Farley, the Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Leeds University, and his assistants are preparing to take her away from all this.
Detective Superintendent Alderman has a handbag in his hands, hes taking a WPC and a uniform off with him.
Theyve got a name, an address
Prentice is marshalling the uniforms, going door to door, corralling the gawpers.
The cabal turns our way.
Detective Inspector Rudkin, as hungover as fuck, shouts, Murder Room, thirty minutes.
The Murder Room.
Millgarth Street, Leeds.
One hundred men stuffed into the second-floor room. No windows, only smoke, white lights, and the faces of the dead.
In comes George and the rest of his boys, back from the park. There are pats on the back, handshakes here, winks there,
like some fucking reunion
I stare across the desks and the phones, the sweating shirt backs and the stains, at the walls behind the Assistant Chief Constable, at the two faces Ive seen so many, many times, every day, every night, when I wake, when I dream, when I fuck my wife, when I kiss my son:
Familiarity breeds contempt
Gentlemen, hes back.
The dramatic pause, the knowing smiles.
The following memorandum has been sent to all Divisions and surrounding areas:
At 0650 this morning, the body of Mrs Marie Watts born 7.2.45, of 3 Francis Street, Leeds 7, was found on Soldiers Field, Roundhay, near West Avenue, Leeds 8. The body was found to have extensive head injuries, a cut throat, and stab wounds to the abdomen.
This woman had been living in the Leeds area since October 1976, when she came up from London. It is believed she worked in hotels in London. She was reported missing by her husband from Blackpool in November 1975.
Enquiries are requested of all persons coming into police custody for bloodstains on their clothing and also enquiries at dry cleaners for any clothing with blood on it. Any replies to Murder Room, Millgarth Street Police Station.
Detective Chief Superintendent Noble stands there with his piece of paper, waiting.
Add to that, he continues. Boyfriend, one Stephen Barton, 28, black, also of 3 Francis Street. Some form for burglary, GBH. Probably pimped the late Mrs Watts. Works the door at the International over in Bradford, sometimes Cosmos. Didnt show up at either place yesterday and hasnt been seen since about six oclock last night when he left the Corals on Skinner Lane, where hed just chucked away best part of fifty quid.
The rooms impressed. Weve got a name, a history, and its not yet two hours.
A chance at last
Noble lowers his eyes, his tongue on the edge of his lips. Quietly he says, You lot, find him.
The blood of one hundred men pumping hard and fast, hounds the lot of us, the stink of the hunt like bloody marks upon our brows.
Oldman stands up:
Its going to break down like this:
As you all know, this is number 3 at best. Then theres the other possible attacks. Youve all worked one or more of them so, as of today, youre all now officially Prostitute Murder Squad, out of this Station, under Detective Chief Superintendent Noble here.
PROSTITUTE MURDER SQUAD.
The room is humming, buzzing, singing: everyone getting what they wanted. Me too
Off post office robberies and
Help the fucking Aged:
Sub-postmasters at gun-point, six-barrels in their faces, wives tied up with a smack and a punch in their nighties, only Scrooge wont give it up, so its a cosh from the butt of the shotgun and welcome to heart attack city.
Murder Squadll break down into four teams, headed up by Detective Superintendents Prentice and Alderman and Detective Inspectors Rudkin and Craven. DI Craven will also co-ordinate Admin, from here at Millgarth. Communications will be DS White, the Divisional Officer will be Detective Inspector Gaskins, and Community Affairs and Press will be DI Evans, all based in Wakefield.
Oldman pauses. I scan the room for Craven, but hes nowhere.
Myself and Detective Chief Superintendent Jobson will also be making ourselves available to the investigation.
I swear there are sighs.
Oldman turns round and says, Pete?
Detective Chief Superintendent Noble steps forward again:
I want every wog under thirty whos not married leant on. I want names. Some smartarse said our man hates women hold the fucking front page.
All right, so lets have every fucking puff in your book in here too. Same goes for the usuals slags and their lads. I want names and I want them names in here by five. SPGll round them up. Ladies can go to Queens, rest here.
And I want Stephen Barton. Tonight.
Im biting my nails. I want out of here.
So phone home, tell them youll be out all night. BECAUSE THIS ENDS HERE TONIGHT.