John Steel Thriller Book 3
After ten years in prison for his wife’s murder, Brian Armstrong is free. When a freak accident with the prison transport gives him and two others an opportunity to escape, they seize it. With revenge in his heart, Brian disappears into the storm-filled city. After an ex-schoolteacher is found dead, Detective John Steel is brought in to investigate. The circumstances are mysterious – just the way Steel likes it. His partner Samantha McCall is convinced the timing between the escape and the death of the teacher are more than coincidence. As they start to investigate, the case becomes more complex than they could have ever imagined. With time running out, can they find the killer and bring him to justice?
lack threatening clouds loomed over the city. A warning of the incoming storm that was coming over the ocean from the East. The heat of the past months collided with a cold front that had come over from Europe. The air on the east coast of the US was warm and humid. Warnings had been issued days ago of the possible storm. The guy on the weather channel hadn’t said hurricane, but people got ready all the same. The year before the Caribbean had been hit hard, leaving millions of dollars’ worth of damage, so now people were conscious of anything that could happen. A strong warm wind hurried down the Manhattan streets, picking up bits of wastepaper, or anything light enough to be swept away in its wake. Steam rose from the vents in the manhole covers, which enveloped the passing cars as they drove over them. The night was calm with few people risking the weather to hit the streets. This was a quiet part of town, all the tourists and party people were blocks away, or they were tucked up at home avoiding the bad weather. But the still of the warm New York night air was broken by loud screams of an argument. The heated words between 1 the husband and his wife were muffled by the restaurant’s red brick walls and half-frosted windows. The people inside the restaurant got front row seats for their fight. Something none of them would forget for a while. As the restaurant’s door swung open, a tall dark-haired woman stepped out onto the empty street. She stopped and bent slightly at the waist as she cradled her head in her hands, letting out a small yell to vent her frustration. The woman turned around and saw through the restaurant’s window, her husband arguing with the manager. The other customers who were watching glanced often at the incensed man. His words were distorted by the building, but it was clear what he wanted. He wanted to leave to check on her, to apologise for being an ass. She could see his face full of regret. But the look changed slowly the more the manager insisted that he had to pay first. A sound argument for rational people, but the man wasn’t being rational. Julie Armstrong had come out for some fresh air and distance; her hope was that he would calm down enough for them to talk. However, the incident with the manager had just made things worse. She didn’t want to fight in the street; hell, that was the last thing she needed to hit the press. High-court Judge Battles with Husband in Street. She wouldn’t be able to try any couples’ cases any more, that was for sure; the lawyers would have a field day, saying she was “objective in her decision.” She knew she had to put some distance between them for a while. He had been drinking a lot of wine, mostly out of anger. Julie looked over the road and spied the perfect place, an alleyway. It looked safe enough, but then she wasn’t going in that far, just enough so he couldn’t find her. Her long hair was carried up by a sudden gust of a chilling breeze as she crossed to the other side of the street towards the mouth of the alley. As she looked back on the fight, she could see his point; he had STUART FIELD 2 accused her of cheating. Seeing it now through his eyes, she came to realise how he had arrived at the conclusion he had come to. The long hours at work, the odd phone calls late at night. The odd look here and there from other men in her line of work. Sure, she was a high-court judge who was close to becoming Chief Justice. She had thrown benefits and parties, anything to attract the right people. Julie had worked hard and rubbed shoulders with powerful and influential people. Hell, she was one step away from that presidential seal of approval, but then he had also been working long hours at the school due to cutbacks and the shortage of teachers. He had left the army and a damn good career so he could spend more time with her, but that never worked out the way they had hoped. Recently, she had become secretive and distant, and for him, that meant only one thing. Julie Armstrong was in her mid-forties and a very attractive woman with a model’s figure that many men had stared at with wanton looks. She looked back with hazel-brown eyes that were red with the sting of fresh tears to see if he had followed her, but the dimly lit alley was empty behind her. Part of her hoped she would hear him call her name, so she knew he still cared, but no sound came. A cold chill bit the air, causing her to pull up the collar on her long coat and arrange the waistband tighter. The temperature was changing; that cold front was near, and the storm with it. Julie Armstrong started to walk back to the restaurant. The cool air had
calmed her down, and she hoped her husband was still at the table, waiting for her. Julie searched her purse for the car keys just in case he had gone. She had wisely taken the keys off him, just in case he decided to drive back. She had seen him down half the bottle of red wine at dinner, probably for Dutch courage. A sudden noise in front of her made her look up to who was there. Julie had thought she had been alone in the alley, but a shadowed silhouette of a man stood before her. BROKEN STEEL 3 “I am glad you found me. Look we need to talk … just please let me explain,” Julie began to say. A look of surprise and pain crossed her face as she felt the large blade puncture the flesh of her stomach. Julie stumbled backwards and looked down at her blood-soaked hands, still trying to compute in her brain the shock of the situation. She wanted to scream, but it was as though her vocals had been sliced. Her mouth moved in hope of some sound coming out, but nothing came. She looked up at the figure with a look of utter confusion and betrayal; why had he done this to her? She stumbled backwards until she fell over a pile of cardboard boxes someone had left there. Julie looked up, and a look of terror crossed her face as her assailant walked calmly forwards with the blood-soaked knife held tightly. The reality of what was about to happen sunk in and she found her voice before the knife quickly silenced her with a slash to the throat.
Thank you, Stuart Field and damppebbles Blog Tours
About the author
Stuart Field, real name Phil Syron-Jones, was born in Wellington in the UK. He joined the 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery at the age of seventeen in 1988 and went on to serve in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Gulf. Phil retired from the army in 2010 and took a security job in Germany, where he still lives and works. Phil decided to try his hand at writing. An idea came to him and he just went with it; Steel and Shadows, his first novel, was born:
“When I left the army in 2010 I joined a security firm in Germany, the German Guard Service, for five years, guarding the bases and I was bored at work one day. This story popped into my head. I wrote it down and showed it to someone and they said it was good and it built up from there.” (Shropshire Star, 2/10/18)
Phil decided to self-publish and met with some success. Under the pen name Stuart Field he later secured a publisher for that first novel, Steel and Shadows (Crime Scene Books, 2018) and is now with Next Chapter publishers As Phil was already publishing his own work, there are already five more Steel stories ready to go. Publishing details are currently being worked out for the next in the series, Hidden Steel. Phil is currently working on a new stand-alone novel.
Despite his time in the army, Phil says that there are “absolutely no similarities” between his life and the life of his main character, John Steel:
“The story is a lot more fun than your usual crime thrillers. Usually they’re very dull and this is a bit more of a cross between James Bond, Castle, Jack Reacher and it’s a lot more fun.”
The knowledge and experience gained through a long military career do go towards the credibility of the novels though.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Steel-John-Book-ebook/dp/B0829MGC5G/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2DVON8XXT6TIR&dchild=1&keywords=broken+steel+by+stuart+field&qid=1588190276&sprefix=broken+steel%2Caps%2C222&sr=8-1