DCI Judd Stone is heading for rock bottom. He breaks the rules, he gambles and he’s begun to play around.An unlikely lifeline is thrown Judd’s way when he finds himself catapulted into trying to prevent Rock and Pop sensation Phoenix from becoming the next member of the infamous 27 club – the name given to the list of iconic musicians who die at the age of 27.
Judd’s quest is not made easier when Phoenix’s lifestyle is even more self-destructive than his own – but how can Judd possibly protect someone from themselves?
And who else could be conspiring to benefit from Phoenix’s death? A crazed fan? Birmingham’s ruthless Gangsters? A Secret Society? Or maybe even those who Phoenix believes to be closest to her?
And when Phoenix embarks on an unprecedented tour performing at some of the most wondrous places of the world, the stakes to protect her become even higher.
“My uncle says you can help me, Mr. Stone. He claims that you and your friend Mr. Chamberlain were the best detectives that he ever knew, however, Mr. Chamberlain is suffering from ill health at the moment and shouldn’t be disturbed.”
“Well, that’s very kind of you to say Xanthe, but your uncle is a serving detective. Why can’t he help you?”
“He doesn’t believe what I am telling him, even though I have clearly presented the facts.”
“Believe you? About what?”
“The 27 club. Someone is in grave danger and my uncle told me that if anyone can help them then you can. You prevented a celebrity from being killed before. Your experience and unconventional application of methods are second to none in helping the person in danger and ensuring that the 27 club doesn’t claim another victim.”
Judd noticed how Xanthe spoke elegantly but with a very rhythmic delivery. She still hadn’t made eye contact with him.
“The 27 club?” Judd looked puzzled.
“The 27 club is the term given to the unusual amount of musicians that have died at the tender age of 27. The first recognised member of the club is usually attributed to Alexandre Levy, a Brazilian composer and pianist who died on 17 January 1892. The cause of his death is unknown. Of course, many musicians have died prematurely but the increased amount at the age of 27 is remarkable and beyond coincidence. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Alan ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died within an exact window of three years. Both Jones and Morrison were claimed on the third day of July, 1969 and 1971 respectively. But it didn’t stop there, you will be familiar Mr. Stone of the more recent deaths of Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.”
“Now that you come to mention it Xanthe, I have heard of the 27 club as it happens. However, my knowledge on the subject is far more inferior than your own. I’m quite a fan of Amy Winehouse as it goes.”
“It doesn’t stop with Amy and it won’t ever stop. More recently members of the indie bands Viola Beach and Surfer Blood died at the age of 27.
“Phoenix Easter is arguably the most renowned singer-songwriter of her generation. Her unique talent and reckless approach to life make her a classic candidate to be the next member.”
“You don’t know that for sure, Xanthe,” interjected Ben.
“Oh, yes I do. All the evidence is considerably stacking up to place Phoenix as the next member.”
“Phoenix Easter. Really? She rocks. A local heroine too. How old is she?” asked Judd.
“Twenty-six years of age.”
“I see why you’re concerned. But your Uncle is correct, Xanthe. She could go on performing into her seventies yet. Eighties even.”
“Uncle Ben, will you show Mr. Stone the photographs please?”
Ben pulled a tablet from his jacket pocket which was deep enough to hold the device. “This is where my niece can be very persuasive Judd, and believe me, you are going to find what I’m about to show you quite staggering.”
“Let’s sit down,” offered Judd. “Sorry I should have offered earlier.”
Ben and Judd sat closely together on the sofa so that they could comfortably share the view of the tablet screen, whilst Xanthe chose not to sit. Instead, she walked behind the sofa and stood over the two men oblivious to invading any personal space. To Xanthe, it made perfect sense to manoeuvre to a position where she too could see the pictures that were about to unfold across the screen.
“You’ll have no difficulty in recognising the first picture, Judd,” said Ben.
It was a photo that Judd had seen many times and his anger on seeing it never seemed to diminish. It was the chilling picture that captured John Lennon signing a copy of his album Double Fantasy for the man who just hours later would kill him in almost the same spot.
“The audacity of that bastard still makes me sick while Lennon unsuspectingly signs his album. Lennon was aged forty when he was killed though, where’s the 27 connection?”
“There isn’t one, Judd,” said Ben. “The significance of this photo is the sinister presence of the third party in the photo. He’s very hard to spot in this particular picture and many never spot him at all he’s so inconspicuous. He’s very far away in the distance and the average sizing when this photo is displayed loses him altogether in the diminished pixels, but he’s there. But just hold that thought as a concept as we look at the other pictures that I have.”
Ben swiped the images from right to left and next a very grainy picture appeared. Judd could make out that to the right of the picture was a motorcade complete with a number of people in and around the vehicle. A less amount of people were standing to the left of the picture.
“This photo is from one of the most significant days in history, Judd, but do you notice anything unusual?”
“My guess is it’s the day of the JFK shooting.”
“Yes, it is. This picture was taken just moments before the president was shot. But I’ll ask you again, my friend. Do you spot anything unusual?”
“Are you sure? You haven’t lost your detective skills already have you? Remember this was a very sunny day in Texas.”
Judd concentrated on the picture for a couple more seconds and then he did notice something amiss. “Well fuck me sideways. Why has that guy got an umbrella up?”
“I’m not sure how old JFK was when he was killed but I’m sure he was older than 27.”
“All will become clear Judd. Now let me show you some photos of the recognised members of the 27 club.”
Thank you, Martin Tracey and Zooloo’s Book Tours
About the author
Martin Tracey is an author who likes to push the boundaries of reality. Even when injecting elements of the supernatural, the terror that grips you is very real. Not necessarily a genre specific author, psychological thrills are a plenty. He has a passion for The Beatles & Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Both music and football/soccer often find their way into his stories. Martin lives in Birmingham, UK and is married with 2 daughters.