Authors: Jenny Thomson
(The first Die Hard for Girls Book to feature Nancy
Kerr and Tommy McIntyre)
Hell to Pay is a revenge tale as women lash out at the evil and corrupt men in their lives.
Nancy is a complicated protagonist, torn between her desire for revenge and her own moral compass. When she decides to hurt someone, it’s done with careful deliberation, which both adds to the strength of her character and the horror of the situations she creates.
I enjoyed reading this and felt it was suspenseful and pacy, a real page turner.
, Author of the award-winning Dundee Crime series.
A feral tale of revenge in
Hell to Pay
. Not since
, have we seen a female protagonist so hell-bent on the dish best served cold. Violence, vigilantism, vengeance. Look out, Glasgow, Nancy is about to make your mean streets even meaner.
, Author of
Characters that leap off the page, sparkling, dark, dark writing interspersed with wicked humour, fantastic dialogue, kick-ass female lead and a superb storyline should make this novella a classic on the bookshelf of any Noir fan.
, author of
The Lady Astronomer
A stunning tale of violence and vengeance, fast-moving enough to keep your eyeballs glued to the page but still character-driven enough to give the reader much to mull over. As a protagonist,
Nancy comes across as a living, breathing human, complicated and sympathetic.
, author of
The Bastard Hand
Nancy is not a lady to be messed with and is a really strong female protagonist. You may find yourself having to look away on occasion.
The storyline was unpredictable, clever and enjoyable. Just when I thought it was going in one direction the author does a great job of taking you into another completely different and unexpected direction.
, star Goodreads reviewer
Hell to Pay is the first in Jenny Thomson’s Die Hard for Girls series and it didn’t disappoint! Nancy, the protagonist is definitely not someone to be messed with!
Laura’s Little Book Blog
This is the ultimate book of revenge. This time it’s the woman who’s in control and she knows how to get what she wants. This book is not for the faint hearted and is extremely dark and violent: think of a Scottish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
There’s Been a Murder blog
First published by Sassy Books, 2014
Sassy Books is an imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd., Laurel House, Station Approach,
Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
For distributor details and how to order please visit the ‘Ordering’ section on our website.
Text copyright: Jenny Thomson 2013
ISBN: 978 1 78279 336 6
All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission from the publishers.
The rights of Jenny Thomson as author have been asserted in accordance with the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Design: Stuart Davies
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
We operate a distinctive and ethical publishing philosophy in all areas of our business, from our global network of authors to production and worldwide distribution.
To my dad, Sam, fighting the toughest battle of his life with a smile on his face.
To my partner, John, for putting up with questions that would terrify any man.
To all the people who read the first book in the Die Hard for Girls series, and got it. Not everybody did.
This book is for anyone who’s tired of reading about women being victims of awful crimes and knowing that if the perpetrators are caught (which so often doesn’t happen) that they won’t get a punishment that fits the crime.
This book is also for any woman who’s ever been a victim of crime and never saw the perpetrator or perpetrators brought to justice.
This is the second book in a series I’ve dubbed Die Hard for girls, where the bad guys (and girls) always get their comeuppance and the “victims” their revenge. The first book, Hell to Pay is out now, also published by Sassy Books. The third book, Don’t Come For Me, is coming soon.
This book in no way advocates violence. All of the characters and events are purely fictional. This book is a work of escapist fiction; nothing more.
A message for American readers
Please note – UK English is used throughout this book, which is set in Glasgow. This means there will be differences. For instance, centre instead of center and colour instead of color.
Where the phrase “it’s no” is used, it’s not a spelling mistake. In Scotland, we usually say “That’s no” instead of “that’s not.”
I hope this will not affect your enjoyment of this book and you will enjoy reading this novella as much as I enjoyed writing it.
The third instalment in the series will be coming soon. Keep checking my blog at
and my website at
I can also be contacted via those sites or through my publisher’s publicist at
Jenny Thomson is an award-winning crime writer and journalist who lives on a Scottish island. When she’s not coming up with new ways to kill people (for her stories) she’s going for walks with her partner and rescue dog Benjy.
In her spare time she also likes to come up with ways to survive the zombie apocalypse and she’s the author of Dead Bastards, a very Scottish zombie novel.
She blogs about writing and life’s frustrations at http://ramblingsofafrustratedcrimewriter.blogspot.co.uk/
This is her second novella in the Die Hard for Girls series and book 2 in the Nancy Kerr and Tommy McIntyre series. The first book, Hell to Pay, was published in July, 2013. The third book, Don’t Come For Me, is coming soon.
How Kirsty Gets Her Kicks
, about a one-legged Glasgow barmaid on the run from a gangster with his cash and gun after killing one of his heavies, will be published by the critically acclaimed Snubnose Press.
As the ball gag cut off her cries for help, Diane tried to steady her breathing. If she didn’t, she’d suffocate. She sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow in her head and imagined she was in the kitchen singing along with Kyra as they washed the dishes; little Kyra standing on a stool so she could reach the sink, her wee sleeves rolled up so her top didn’t get wet. But, no matter how hard she tried to tune everything out one thought was trapped in her head: she’d never see her daughter again
“It’s good money,” Traci had chirped as she’d flicked a strand of hair behind her ear. She was platinum blonde today. “All we need to do is put on a girl on girl show, lez it up a bit and we’re onto a big score. It’ll be fun.”
She made a gesture with her hand as though she was counting money. “From what I’ve heard this punter is seriously loaded, and not shy about throwing his cash around either.”
The prospect of a big pay day was tempting, but Diane had never done anything like that before. With her, a blowy down a dark lane and a wee car ride to the back of a disused warehouse was more her usual
She’d never done any lezzy stuff, but she couldn’t afford to turn this job down. Not with her Kyra needing some shoes
Despite the protests in her head, she said, “Okay, sounds good. But
how did you find out about this gig? Do you know the guy?” She’d long since learnt that if something sounded too good to be true, it always was
Traci shook her head. “Nah, but a friend of mine vouched for him.”
“Who’s your friend?”
Her question made Traci smile, but it wasn’t a friendly smile. “If I told you that, doll, what’s to stop you cutting me out and doing the gig yourself?”
There was an implied threat in her words. Diane knew she’d get rag dolled if she crossed Traci. She’d seen her in action enough times; once she’d dragged another girl along the pavement by the hair because she accused her of stealing one of her punters. The other girl had screamed like a banshee, but nobody had gone to help her. You looked after yourself on the streets and never got involved unless you wanted your face
rearranged. That was rule number one
* * *
Traci hadn’t been capable of battering anyone the last time she’d seen her. Her ginger hair (he must have ripped off her wig) had been hacked off. Tufts of it stuck out, reminding Diane of one of the hairdressing dolls Kyra was always playing with. She called it Angel, but it was the ugliest thing she’d ever seen, especially after Kyra had cut off its hair with nail scissors when she’d been out of the room
What Diane wouldn’t give right now to have the doll on her lap whilst Kyra used her best lipstick as blusher
A tear trundled down her cheek. Nobody was ever going to find her
She’d die here, alone in this damp, dark room, with rats that were as big as cats scuttling around. She’d starve to death and then they’d eat her
gnawing on her face first; sharp, jagged teeth tearing into skin and bone. She’d seen that in a movie once. All she’d been given to eat was bread that was only fit for the birds and milk that smelled funny. She’d thought about not drinking it, but with nothing else to drink she was always glad when she saw the plastic cup
When he brought the food, it was the only time he removed her gag
He’d leave her for five minutes then return to replace the gag. If she resisted he’d inject her with one of those needles he always carried. Pain would scream through her veins and then she’d be out of it. She’d wake up with a raging thirst and tendrils of hair sticking to the sweat on her face. But then there were worse things than being injected…
As a division of labour, it didn’t come more unfair than this. As Tommy sat in a comfy car, heater up full bung, sipping a Starbucks and leisurely munching on a cheese and onion bagel (with extra fried onions), I was standing outside, shivering my barely covered butt off, as the wind whooshed up my skirt and the rain came down like nails.
This was summer in Scotland.
Huddled in a doorway, in a scraggy blonde wig, and my best
outfit, I’m already soaked to the skin. And, I know it won’t get any better because there are men who will pull over in their cars and ask how much I charge for a blow job or full sex.
As downward spirals go, this was bad. At least it would have been if I hadn’t been out here to catch a killer and not because I was reduced to turning tricks for a living.
After our last episode together (the word episode’s not mine, it’s Tommy’s; he likes to talk as though we’re on a TV show) we should have been desperate to retreat back into our safe, normal lives. We could start again, bound together by the secrets we shared; secrets that could never get out because they’d land us both in the slammer.
But, neither of us wanted that. Dicing with danger had whetted our appetite for a world where we could get justice for those who’d been wronged (I was once one of those people) and ensure scumbags got what they deserved. Our lack of ties meant we could do that without anyone knowing. There was nobody who was expecting us home at a set time; no family waiting for us. My parents and brother were dead and Tommy’s only close relative, his dad, was in a nursing home with dementia.
Before the worst night of my life set off a chain of events that changed me forever, I’d been rudderless doing a job I hated, designing those awful leaflets for the inserts they put in
newspapers and magazines that nobody wants, advertising all kinds of crap like mobility scooters and over 50s savings plans. I was a mouse trapped on a wheel that wouldn’t stop turning even when I wanted to get the hell off.
Now I’d found meaning and a sense of purpose and it had all been triggered by a news report about missing sex workers. One of those women had been found dead with the finger of another missing woman wedged in her throat as if it were a hot dog she’d swallowed whole. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get that image out of my head or the smarmy newsreader’s dismissive tone as she’d used the word prostitute. The prissy bitch spat out the word like phlegm. So much for the sisterhood.
A car pulls up alongside me and a head comes into view.
“Want some business, darling?”
Scrunching up my face, I try not to laugh when I see that it’s Tommy. “How does a boot to the groin region sound?” A quick smirk. “I’ll even pay you.”
Tommy feigns shock. “Jeez, no wonder you’re making no money. You’re customer service is lousy.”
If I’d had anything heavy to hand, I’d have flung it at him.
“You try standing on Beverley Hills Boulevard here, with a skirt the size of dental floss and see how you do, pal.”
As I climb in the passenger seat, Tommy takes in my outfit. “Doubt I’d look that good in a skirt and fishnets, Nancy.” He pats my leg, swiftly removing his hand when I give him a death glare. “But, I prefer you as a redhead. It suits your fiery personality.”
He was being polite; I’d caught sight of myself in the mirror and I looked like something that had been washed up at sea.
Removing the blonde wig, I shook out my real hair, glad to be rid of that wig. “Do you think Kim’s ever going to show?”
Tommy didn’t reply as the smile on his face dimmed.
There was no point in deluding ourselves. After three nights’ walking the same streets where Kim used to ply her trade before she’d disappeared and then reappeared, there was no sign of her.
It was beginning to look like she’d been spirited away, again. But this time, just like Sheena and the other women, she might never be coming back.
Maybe they’d find her in a dump somewhere with some other girl’s finger in her stomach too; her eyes and nose pecked out by crows.
Finding Kim was the key to everything, because so far she was the only one who’d come back. Somehow she’d managed to escape the fate of the other missing women, at least once. We needed to find out what she knew.