A man is murdered with quiet efficiency on his doorstep. A strange emblem left behind suggests a
gang killing but when more bodies are found with the same emblem, and one of them a cop, DCI
Doug Stirling’s investigation takes a sinister turn.
But what linked the victims in life, and now in death?
When more deaths are uncovered, miles away and years apart, but all with the same emblem left
behind, pressure mounts on Stirling. Is it the work of the same person? If so, why are they killing
again, and why here? One thing is clear. The killer is highly skilled, ruthless, and always one step
ahead of the investigation. Is someone feeding information to them?
Working in a crippling heatwave with too few investigators, too many questions and not enough
answers, when wild media speculation of a vigilante at work sparks copycat attacks, demonstrations
for justice and with politicians fearing riots, Stirling needs a result – fast!
Meanwhile, Stirling’s private life is falling apart, not helped when Lena Novak of the National Crime
Agency is assigned to his team. But is she all that she seems? Things could not get worse. Stirling
takes a call from a retired cop. Things just got worse!
As Stirling closes in on the killer he finds the killer’s trademark inside his home – he is being targeted.
A murderous dance.
Stirling spun round to see the man coming towards him in a fighter’s crouch, his lips drawn back in a
silent snarl as he swiped the blade ahead of him in short, vicious arcs. Stirling pushed Novak out of the
way roughly to put himself between her and the blade. In the dark, narrow street, a slow murderous dance
began inside the short pool of light.
Although small, Stirling recognised in the man’s lean muscled figure and cunning expression an
experienced street fighter who knew he had the advantage. The man started circling while jabbing the
knife viciously to unbalance Stirling, to induce a fatal mis-step and expose himself to a fatal lunge. Stirling
circled with him, fists raised, moving on the balls of his feet, ready to strike or to parry. Unable to take his
eyes off the blade, Stirling could only hope that Novak would keep out of the way.
The man made a sudden feinting dancing step forward and scythed the air in front of Stirling’s face,
close enough to feel the air part. The man stepped back and grinned coldly, his confidence growing.
Stirling readied himself to move quickly and forced his eyes off the blade to watch the man’s eyes,
searching for the slightest “tell” that would signal the next attack.
When it came, it came swiftly. Stirling saw the fighter’s eyes narrow and his body tense as he drew his
elbow further back and dart forward with a killing lunge. Stirling stepped outside the blade and smashed
his fist into the man’s face with every ounce of strength he possessed, lifting the man from his feet to slam
heavily against a brick wall where he slumped to the ground and lay with his chin on his chest, the knife
on the ground just beyond his fingers.
Stirling stepped forward, kicked the knife out of reach and waited to be certain he was no longer a
threat. Unable to see the man breathing, Stirling knelt and felt for a pulse, not expecting to find one. He
grunted with relief when he found a low, steady beat.
Outside the bar the collection of men who had watched everything from a safe distance were becoming
animated. A couple of them looked as if they wanted to intervene, looking at the others for support.
Thank you, Ray Britain and Love Books Group
About the author
Ray Britain’s second novel ‘Forgotten Lives’ follows closely on from ‘The Last Thread’ (2017) with a
new investigation for DCI Doug Stirling, the toughest of his career.
As a police Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) Ray led specialist investigations. He was also a Hostage
& Crisis Intervention Negotiator – a voluntary role – responding to hostage situations, many firearms
incidents and numerous suicide interventions, not all of which ended happily. His roles took him to
the USA, India, Europe, Australia and elsewhere, receiving Commendations in recognition for his
Ray’s real-world experience puts the reader at the heart of a complex, fast moving investigation with
all of its uncertainties, stresses and frustrations, and of the dark, bitter sadness’s of people’s lives.
Ray also worked with the Serious Fraud Office and the Home Office, London, and with the City of
London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate.
When not writing, Ray might be found mountain hiking, following rugby, skiing, reading, sailing, or
generally keeping fit..
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3fvjmtg
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kYeT3u