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Authors: Nick Oldham

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Psycho Alley

BOOK: Psycho Alley
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Table of Contents

Cover

The Henry Christie Mystery Series

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Friday

Chapter One

Saturday

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Sunday

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Monday

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Tuesday

Chapter Nine

Wednesday

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Thursday

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Friday

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Saturday

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

The Henry Christie Mystery Series

A TIME FOR JUSTICE

NIGHTMARE CITY

ONE DEAD WITNESS

THE LAST BIG JOB

BACKLASH

SUBSTANTIAL THREAT

DEAD HEAT

BIG CITY JACKS

PSYCHO ALLEY

CRITICAL THREAT

SCREEN OF DECEIT

CRUNCH TIME

THE NOTHING JOB

SEIZURE

HIDDEN WITNESS

FACING JUSTICE

INSTINCT

FIGHTING FOR THE DEAD

BAD TIDINGS

PSYCHO ALLEY
Nick Oldham

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

 
 
 

First published in Great Britain 2006 by

SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of

9–15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.

First published in the USA 2006 by

SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS INC of

595 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022.

eBook edition first published in 2013 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited

Copyright © 2006 by Nick Oldham.

The right of Nick Oldham to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

Oldham, Nick, 1956-

Psycho alley

1. Christie, Henry (Fictitious character) – Fiction

2. Police – England – Blackpool – Fiction

3. Detective and mystery stories

I. Title

823.9'14[F]

ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-6383-6 (cased)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4483-0100-3 (ePub)

Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.

This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland

For Belinda

FRIDAY
One

T
he last thing Henry Christie needed to be doing on a bitter, wind-chilled Friday evening was traipsing from pub to pub around Fleetwood town centre. Not that he had a problem with Fleetwood, though it did seem to be over-populated by surging masses of extremely inebriated young women, many of whom appeared to be pregnant, with a desire to fight, and could well have been descendants of fishwives; nor did he have a problem with a pub crawl. In fact, that was one of his favourite pastimes.

What was bothering him was the fact that a three-month major crime investigation he'd been heading had come to this: trawling through dens and dives in an effort to root out a suspect, and only a suspect at that, who had constantly been eluding him. ‘Clutching at straws' was the negative phrase which kept whirring through his grey matter. And on top of all that, because he was on duty he could not drink any alcohol
and
he was in the company of someone he would rather have avoided.

‘Don't see him in here,' Henry said. His eyes scanned the faces in the Trawlerman public house situated at the top of Lord Street, Fleetwood's main shopping thoroughfare. He had spoken both for the benefit of the person he was with – she was much smaller than he and his height gave him an advantageous viewpoint – and the tiny microphone affixed to his bomber jacket, connected to the personal radio (PR) covertly fitted under the jacket. This was transmitting on a frequency exclusively allocated for the use of his team of cops dotted around other Fleetwood pubs in this farcical search. The bar Henry was surveying was throbbing with hundreds of sweaty Fleetwoodians and the ear-bursting din from the house DJ whose equipment was set up at the far end of the room, playing thumping music which sounded like mobile phone ringtones to Henry's uneducated ears.

He sipped his iced mineral water, then blew out his red cheeks as a wave of exhaustion swept over him. He had been heading this investigation for over eleven weeks without a proper break, often toiling twelve hours a day, and he needed some respite. He decided that if tonight's search was negative, he would take a minimum of three days off. Put some charge back into his lifeless batteries.

‘You all right?'

Henry turned to look at Detective Inspector Jane Roscoe standing next to him. ‘Yeah, why?'

She shrugged. ‘Looking a mite peaky.'

‘I'm OK.'

‘Sure he isn't here?' Jane was a good head shorter than Henry and was forced to stand on tippy-toe to get any sort of view. She was therefore having problems seeing through the crush of bodies.

‘As eggs,' Henry said.

‘Ever seen him in the flesh?' she asked, having to compete with a classic record sung by a crazy frog.

‘Nope.'

‘So how can you be sure?' Jane quizzed him, as was her way with Henry these days. He was always on the ropes, a legacy of their past intimate relationship.

He paused, blinked, sighed impatiently. ‘I'm sure.'

Jane's tut of disbelief was carried away by the shrieking laughter of a gaggle of noisy women. One of them staggered drunkenly into Jane, only to be heaved away and subjected to one of her fleeting, but killer, put-down glances.

If there was one thing Henry Christie was certain of, it was his ability to pick out someone he might only have ever seen in a photograph, recent or otherwise. His aptitude to recognize faces was one of the few ‘gifts' he considered he had as an investigator. Though he had never come face to face with his elusive suspect, George Uren, predatory paedophile of this parish, he was convinced he could pick him out of a crowd.

‘If you're so sure, shall we move on?' Jane shouted into his ear. ‘This place is doin' my head in and the people are horrid.' She looked disgustedly at the group of women.

‘Let's.' Henry emptied his glass, ice-cubes clattering against his teeth. He yanked up the zip of his jacket and turned to leave. Jane slotted into his slipstream as he threaded his way out between revellers. On reaching the double exit doors, he became aware that Jane was actually not at his heels. He looked back. Squinting through the cigarette and cannabis smoke he saw she was head to head with a scantily-clad female who wore a miniscule skirt, had fat thighs and acres of tubby belly-flesh on display. The woman was making broad, aggressive gestures towards Jane, her face twisted into a menacing snarl, the like of which Henry had often seen associated with alcohol.

‘Shit,' he uttered and pushed his way back.

He recognized the woman as the one Jane had propelled away and been the subject of one of Roscoe's ‘looks' moments earlier. Obviously she had taken umbrage and was now challenging Jane in the best traditions of Fleetwood, something confirmed by the first words Henry heard when he emerged from the crowd.

‘Come on, you stuck-up, snooty old bitch!' she was yelling insanely into Jane's impassive face. ‘Who the fucking hell do you think you are, pushing me – me! – and giving me a look like I was shit on your shoe?'

Jane stayed cool, passionless. ‘Sorry,' she said sensibly, aware it was probably the best tactic to back down, though without losing face – and get out in one piece. To stand up to her would have meant being torn to shreds by a pack of hyenas, as the woman's group of friends hovered dangerously, expectantly, hoping for a fracas. Jane knew of too many people who had ended up with a broken glass gouged in their face in A & E because of a ‘look'; she also realized that her warrant card would offer no protection in these circumstances.

If only she could extricate herself.

Unfortunately, her apology wasn't good enough. The woman was on the scent of blood.

‘Sorry, you ancient bitch?' she wailed, which was rich coming from someone aged somewhere between forty and forty-five, dressed twenty years younger than was sensible, with a fast-expanding midriff, tattoos, and an array of cheapo golden jewellery adorning her. She also had a bottle of WKD in her right hand and Henry's eyes were fixed apprehensively on it as he approached from downwind. ‘You will be, you stuck-up cow!'

To her credit, Jane remained chilled.

Henry edged into a position where he could easily grab the drunk from behind if necessary.

Then it happened very quickly. The woman's right arm arced through the air, bottle in hand, aimed at Jane's head, accompanied by a scream. Jane ducked. Henry lunged for the woman, his left hand grabbing the neck of her skimpy tee shirt, his right trying to stop, deflect or otherwise interfere with the trajectory of the bottle heading towards Jane. He yanked her off balance as Jane did a neat side-step and the bottle whizzed harmlessly through mid-air and Henry discovered he now had a tigress in his hands … and another one on his back as one of her friends launched to her defence, scratching, kicking, kneeing, trying to rip off his ear with her teeth.

Henry roared, spun round, threw the original assailant to one side, tearing her tee shirt as she went, exposing a large, floppy bosom – whilst doing his utmost to dislodge woman number two from his back, who was riding him for her life. She seemed capable of clinging on there, like a lioness on the back of a zebra, despite his attempts to shake her off.

The whole pub erupted with a roar of delight.

Henry and Jane found themselves in a vortex of punches, kicks, screams and beer glasses being thrown everywhere. Henry was the recipient of numerous, but ultimately useless, boots, thumps and slaps, and he caught a quick glance of Jane stumbling under the weight of two women who had piled into her.

It seemed that the whole of Fleetwood was up for a fight that night, and it was a long time since Henry had witnessed such fun.

However, though he rode his assault without too much pain, he was worried that one of the hands at him might be holding a knife and he knew he had to get himself and Jane out of there quickly. He surfaced mightily from beneath an avalanche of blows, bellowing as he found the inner strength of self-preservation. He grabbed hold of Jane's arm – the one she wasn't using to punch another woman's lights out – and howled, ‘Let's do a runner!'

Out of the corner of his eye he'd caught sight of a trio of black-suited bouncers elbowing their way fairly nonchalantly, but effectively, through the crowd. Best to get a move on, he thought, tugging hard at Roscoe.

At that precise moment, Henry took a punch delivered by he knew not who. It landed smack-bang on his left cheekbone, jarring something at the back of his head and behind his eyes, sending a pulsating shockwave through his brain, spinning him backwards between several women. As he fell he saw once more the floppy breasts of the drunken female who'd started it all, followed by the flashing disco lights whizzing past his eyes, then he landed hard on his coccyx and caught the back of his head on the edge of a table.

BOOK: Psycho Alley
5.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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