DI Kelly Porter is back. But will this new case push her beyond her limits?
On a peaceful summer’s morning in the Lake District, a woman’s body is discovered outside a church. She’s been murdered and a brutal, symbolic act performed on her corpse. DI Kelly Porter is in charge of the team investigating the crime, and is determined to bring the killer to justice. But as more deaths occur it is clear this is the work of a disturbed, dangerous and determined individual. Can Kelly put the puzzle pieces together before the danger comes closer to home?
Don’t miss this gripping crime thriller featuring an unforgettable detective. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Patricia Gibney and Robert Bryndza.
The cardiac ward at The Penrith and Lakes Hospital was utterly depressing. Old people, smokers for years, hacked their lives out of their chests, and others wheezed and rattled around the corridors. The ward wrapped around a courtyard, and each patient had their own room. Wendy Porter was dozing. Kelly looked at her mother and felt regret. They were close in some ways but not in others. Kelly knew from DS Umshaw that being a mother was a tough job and children often believed that you were taking sides. The moment offered Kelly room to breathe and she watched as her mother’s chest rose and fell gently. She looked peaceful in sleep. An urge to take her hand gripped Kelly, but it passed when she heard the carping voice of her sister. She rolled her eyes.
Kelly knew that she had to move out of her childhood home, and she made a note to herself to try to squeeze in a viewing tomorrow. But even as the thought came and went, she knew she wouldn’t have time. Already the case was taking over. Damn it, she had to make time.
There had been a time when Kelly had worried about why she always seemed to disappoint her mother – to the satisfaction of her sister – but now she had more important things to consider, such as finding a house of her own, so she didn’t need to listen to it. As well as needing her own space, Nikki had a key to her mother’s house and barged in unannounced, whenever it pleased her, and Kelly felt suffocated. And now Kelly was public enemy number one. She’d not only put Dave Crawley away for fifteen years, but his father had been found guilty and sent down, only to spend the last pathetic days of his existence in the prison infirmary, being tended to by palliative care nurses. He’d died merely two months into his sentence. Of course it was all her fault, rather than the fact that they were both fucking toe rags. It still pained her that she’d shared a bed with Dave. She still felt unclean.
Nikki had lived in Penrith all her life; she’d never left. She finished college here, married a boy from here, and now she was raising kids here. Maybe that was the problem. Kelly had known for years, all the way through college and university, that she’d leave The Lakes one day. It wasn’t that she didn’t love the place, not at all – it was more that it made her feel trapped somehow. Before London, all she’d ever known was lakes and mountains; the same boys, marrying the same girls, and the same conversations around the same bars and the same nightclubs. Kelly wanted more, that was all, but Nikki called her arrogant and selfish. London did its job: Kelly found the life she’d craved, the freedom, the spontaneity, the vastness and the anonymity; they all intoxicated her, and when she came back, her sister was exactly the same. But with a vicious edge. Kelly hadn’t known what to make of it, and had tried to comfort her sister, thinking the cause of her annoyance to be grief over their father.
She was wrong.
And now she’d rocked the boat on a monumental scale. Nikki’s best friend was Dave’s wife, and was finding life on the knuckles of her arse, without the trappings of Dave’s extra-curricular activities, challenging.
Now, Nikki made it clear that she blamed her sibling, not only for not being there when their father passed away, but for the fate of one of Penrith’s greatest families. The irony was lost on her, and when the sisters clashed, it was never pretty.
Kelly followed the noise and found Nikki berating a male nurse with a clipboard.
‘Nikki, Mum wants you,’ Kelly lied.
Nikki spun round and the nurse slipped away. Kelly turned to go back to the room, ignoring anything her sister might have had to say. Nikki turned back to where the nurse had been standing and, realising they’d gone, tutted indignantly. Kelly couldn’t help smile as Nikki clacked towards their mother’s room in her impossible heels. It must be exhausting being that pissed off all the time, Kelly thought.
Their mother was now awake, and having her vitals checked by the young male nurse who’d been debriefed by Nikki, just a moment ago. Nikki glared at him. Kelly wondered what on earth he might have done wrong. Offence; everyone is so easily offended, she thought. Kelly found the nurse polite and efficient, but then Nikki wouldn’t be happy unless there was a problem. Kelly folded her arms, accepting that she’d have to share space with her sister for a while, and examined her. She wore black leggings, high white boots, and a baggy sweatshirt with some logo on it, several bangles around her wrists – which jangled infuriatingly – plenty of makeup, and a sullen expression. Her dyed hair was piled high on her head and she chewed gum. She stood in a strop, arms folded, glaring at the nurse.
‘How are you feeling, Mrs Porter?’ the nurse asked.
‘Better now. You’re very handsome,’ Wendy said.
Kelly found her mother’s blunt honesty (a result of the drugs she was taking) hugely amusing: it left her with no filters, and stuff simply fell out of her mouth. The nurse laughed, used to the effects of the drugs. But Nikki was appalled.
‘Mum!’ Nikki said. The nurse left.
‘It’s true,’ Wendy said.
About the Author:
Rachel Lynch grew up in Cumbria and the lakes and fells are never far away from her. London pulled her away to teach History and marry an Army Officer, whom she followed around the globe for thirteen years. A change of career after children led to personal training and sports therapy, but writing was always the overwhelming force driving the future. The human capacity for compassion as well as its descent into the brutal and murky world of crime are fundamental to her work.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Rachel Lynch and Canelo for providing me with an excerpt for my blog today!