Saturday 30 November 2013

Death to Bankers

It's taken me longer than I'd hoped to get my latest book published, but here it is at last.

Death to Bankers is the sequel to The Minerva System

Death to Bankers. Simple, brutal and horribly real – the three words that form the calling card of the gang murdering their way across the City of London.

Anarchists taking twisted revenge for the financial crisis or is the story more complex? City trader Will Stratton is caught up in a fatal vortex of corruption, violence and terror. The clock is counting down the seconds of his life and time is running out…

The Kindle version is available from Amazon and the paperback will be out shortly. Keep an eye out on KDP for a giveaway offer on The Minerva System

Here's a taster from the first chapter:


Chapter One          

The young man stopped walking, turned and listened: no footsteps now, nothing but a distant swish of tyres on wet tarmac. Closer at hand was the ever-present sound of the river. Must be hearing things, he thought. Get a grip. Peering into the darkness, he wiped the rain-streaked lenses of his glasses, straining to see if there really was someone back there keeping pace with him, but the world beyond the little pools of light on the Thames-side path was lost in shadow. He smiled nervously to himself at the thought of anyone following him. After all, why would they? And yet the doubts nagged still; after all, it wasn’t the first time.
The last time it had happened was on the walk home from the Tube station a week earlier. He’d dismissed it as coincidence, at worst a mugger looking for an easy mark but put off by the chance appearance of passers-by. Tonight, not five minutes after leaving the Waterman’s Arms and feeling a little unsteady on his feet, he’d heard footsteps close behind him. When he stopped, so did they: when he moved on they continued, closer now. This wasn’t even his part of town, not somewhere he’d ever been before. To him London was a city of islands, patches of firm ground, stitched together by the fine thread of the Underground and surrounded by uncharted waters such as these.
He set off once again, walking more quickly as the path followed the Thames in a wide loop around a scrubby patch of grass and weeds bordering the back fences of the terraced houses which pressed against the river. Ahead was a stretch of boardwalk, better lit; and on a lamp-post was a sign pointing inland to the Tube station – another half-mile. Maybe I’ll get a cab, he thought as he approached the fork in the path.
Suddenly, movement in his peripheral vision caught his attention. A dark figure detached itself from the shadows. Then a hand gripped his arm painfully hard. ‘So you don’t want to talk to me? You don’t like me?’ The man spoke with a continental accent – Italian, probably, he thought, turning to face him but making no effort to shake free. He’d heard the voice before. Their faces were now inches apart and under the stark light from overhead he recognised the man he’d spoken to briefly in the pub. He let out a sigh of relief. ‘God. You made me jump, creeping up on me like that. What do you want?’
‘You know what I want.’
‘Look, I told you. I have to go home. I’ve got work tomorrow,’ he said to the stranger. Then lowering his eyes, ‘We could meet again if you like. Maybe come to the Waterman’s Arms again?’
‘Yes, I’d like that,’ said the Italian. ‘But surely, just five minutes? There’s nobody around.’
He released himself from the stranger’s grasp. ‘No. I told you. I’m going home. It’s late. Too wet and cold. Not tonight. Not here.’
‘Is true. You don’t like me do you?’ the stranger said, his tone becoming petulant.
‘It’s not that,’ he said, raising his hand to touch the man’s face. ‘Let’s do this properly. You know, another time. Somewhere comfortable, warm and dry.’
He felt the hand clamped round his arm again and heard the voice say, ‘No. I want you now.’
The Italian jammed something into his ribs and when he looked down, he saw to his horror that it was a semi-automatic pistol. He gave a nervous laugh: this has to be a joke. Play along with him. ‘Look, there’s no need for that… if there’s somewhere we could go, but not here, not outdoors.’
‘Good. Walk a little with me. By the river.’
‘But you’re going the wrong way, I need to get home –’
‘I said I want you to walk with me,’ the stranger’s insistent tone once more backed up by a dig in the ribs with the pistol. They walked on in silence through the persistent drizzle until they came to a gate in the fence and a sign saying “Gilmore’s Stairs – Port of London Authority”. The Italian released his grip. ‘Stop here,’ he said, putting his arms on the top rail and staring down into the black water. ‘We should talk a little.’ He slipped the gun back into his outside pocket.
The young man joined him, the rain on his glasses transforming the lights of the far bank into diffuse blobs and smears of brightness. ‘What is there to talk about?’ he asked, his nerves slowly calming and the fear caused by the appearance of the gun now replaced by a delicious frisson of anticipation.
‘Your friend?’
‘He need never know.’
‘I am pleased,’ said the Italian.
The young man remained leaning on the railings and seemingly oblivious to the weather, for a moment turned away from him, gazing towards the distant lights of Canary Wharf, apparently deep in thought. ‘He won’t know,’ he said once more. As he did so, the Italian slid his hand into a deep pocket, sewn into the inside of his coat, and his hand closed around the handle of a hammer.
He never knew what hit him, nor did he even feel it, so savage was the initial blow to the base of his skull. Ignoring the fine aerosol of blood that spattered his face, the Italian allowed him to slump to the ground and rolled the inert form face downwards. Six more well-aimed blows to make sure and the job was done. The Italian wiped the excess blood off the hammer on a patch of wet grass: the rain could take care of the rest. Then, opening the gate, he pulled the body down the stairs and into the darkness below.
To be continued....

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