Today I’m delighted to share an extract from the second edition of crime writer Val Penny’s novel, Hunter’s Revenge, published yesterday by Spellbound Books (and available via this link: geni.us/a13c)
Hunter’s Revenge Extract
Linda has found the body of the victim in his porch when she tried to deliver a book. DI Hunter Wilson and DC Tim Myerscough examine the scene and discover the corpse is the body of their friend George Reinbold.
DI Hunter Wilson and DC Tim Myerscough pulled up just behind the ambulance. Hunter liked spring: he could almost smell the world waking up. The freshness of the air encouraged crocuses and daffodils to decorate flower beds, and buds of leaves to appear on trees. Edinburgh had a beauty in every season, but he found his city especially lovely in springtime. However, today was not one of those fine, balmy spring days. It was bright enough, but sharp and cold. Hunter did not like chilly days like today as much as the warmer days he hoped April would bring.
He and Tim got out of the car. The detective constable dwarfed Hunter by an easy five inches, but as Hunter stood and took in the scene with a serious face and intelligent piercing blue eyes, it was clear that he was the man in charge. Hunter quickly identified the girl sitting on the wet grass as the source of a loud and blood-curdling racket that offended his ears. He looked from the girl to Tim and back again.
“You deal with her, young Myerscough. It’s far too early for me to be coping with weeping women. Try to get some sense out of her, and get her to be quiet, will you? I can’t think with that noise going on.”
“Yes, Sir.” Tim took two strides and crouched down beside the young woman. “Hello, I’m DC Tim Myerscough. What’s your name?”
“Linda Maguire.” She stopped crying but was still sobbing hard.
“So, Linda, it was you who found the body, was it?” Tim asked.
She looked at him as if she thought he was crazy. “Well, I don’t get this upset just because there’s nobody home. I don’t get paid enough for this. It’s awful. Have you seen it? Don’t look. The place is all blood and brains. The back of his head’s gone. I can’t un-see that, you know.” Linda started weeping again as Hunter shouted.
“Tim! Tim! DC Myerscough. Here. Now.” Hunter’s face was grey. “Tim, you won’t believe who the victim is. It’s George Reinbold, shot in the head.”
“What? Oh No! Not our George Reinbold? Head of the Crime Scene Investigations?”
“Not any more he’s not.”
“No, it can’t be. It must be a mistake, he’s just an old man. Who would want to kill him?”
“Don’t take my word for it. Feel free to look but hold on to your breakfast.” Hunter watched as Tim went over and stuck his head around the door and withdrew it quickly.
Linda was right, you can’t un-see that.
“Boss, that’s been close range. Tiny hole in the forehead, but they’ve blown the back of his skull right off.”
“Hmm. Bloody awful. It’s got to be a professional job. But the murderer would surely be hit by some spray from the blood.” Hunter grimaced.
“Definitely. This is surely a case of mistaken identity? Nobody would want to hurt George?” Tim’s questions asked for the reassurance that Hunter could not give.
“We’ll need to find out what he’s been working on recently. It could be a targeted attack. And I certainly don’t want our CSIs working on this; it would be too traumatic. I’ll call Glasgow and get them to send a team over. PC Angus McKenzie can stay at the door to restrict access while I get DS Jane Renwick to gather a team to organise door-to-door enquiries. One thing is for sure, somebody saw something or heard the gun.”
“Yes.” Tim paused “Will Doctor Sharma be able to do the post-mortem?”
“I doubt she would allow anybody else that honour, but it won’t be easy for her. She liked George and respected him greatly. You stay here and take the witness statement from that girl. When Meera Sharma and the CSIs are finished, I want you and me into that flat as soon as possible to find out everything we can about George and why he was murdered.”
Tim turned back to Linda and walked slowly across the grass. He saw the young delivery woman was now dry-heaving as hard as she was weeping. It must have been a terrible shock for her. He took out his notebook in a vain effort to try to divert her attention. He smiled at her as she lifted her head. His smile seemed to work as a better diversion.
He was aware of her looking up at him. He watched as she swept her hair behind her ear, glanced into his eyes and she allowed her glance to rove from his eyes to his hair, smile and shoulders. For some reason he became self-conscious about his broken nose. This was silly. He blushed and realised that she had stopped sobbing.
Tim looked at her more closely. Under all the thick layer of make-up and dribbles of snot, she was pretty.
He took down her personal details and then they discussed how Linda’s morning had been going before her shocking discovery.
“What were you delivering to Mr Reinbold?” Tim asked.
“A book. The label just says a book.”
“But it also says it’s insured for £25,000. That’s some book,” Tim said, looking at Linda’s delivery list.
“I didn’t notice that. It’s an awful lot.”
Tim looked around for help and caught sight of DS Jane Renwick, who had joined Hunter talking to the paramedics. Tim wondered how Jane always looked so elegant, as though she had just walked off a magazine cover.
“Sarge? Sarge, can you help with this?” Tim called to Jane.
“What’s up, Tim?”
“Linda here has on her manifest that the parcel Mr Reinbold was expecting was a book, but I’ve noticed it’s insured for £25,000. That seems a great deal for a book.”
“It certainly does. Do we know where the parcel is?”
Linda pulled it out from underneath her. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to sit on the grass. It’s wet,” she said by way of explanation.
Jane looked at the girl and sighed. Then she held out her hand and, in the presence of Linda and Tim, opened the parcel.
“It is indeed a book. A signed first edition of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. My goodness. It’s amazing! Include this in the statement, Tim, and give Linda a note to say that we now hold the book. I’ll take it back to the station. We’ll need to get a proper valuation.”
“Wow! All that for a kiddies’ book.” Linda finished her statement and agreed to come down to the station to sign a typed copy whenever Tim phoned her to tell her it was ready. He caught her allowing herself one more gaze into his eyes before they stood up. Tim was over a foot taller than her diminutive five foot two inches.
“Thank you for all your help today, Linda,” Tim said.
“It’s all right, but I suppose I better get on with my deliveries. I’m ever so late. It would be me who found the bloody body.”
Hunter by name – Hunter by nature.
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is a loyal friend and a fair leader. He is called to the scene of a murder in Edinburgh where the corpse has been fatally shot. He is dismayed to find the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Hunter must investigate Reinbold’s murky past in Germany to identify George’s killer.
At the same time, Hunter is tasked with looking into a previously undetected criminal gang supplying drugs from Peru. There seems to be no connection between the murder and the drug supply until Hunter unexpectedly secures help from inmates of the local jail.
Hunter’s investigations are hampered by distracted members of his team and unobservant witnesses.
Reinbold was not the quiet, old man Hunter believed him to be and his killer bore their grudge for a lifetime.
Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.
Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction, and novels. Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.