If Fear Wins, page 1part #3 of DI Bliss Series
If Fear Wins
DI Bliss Book 3
Tony J Forder
To the men and women who do the job for real; who run towards that which we run away from.
Also By Tony J Forder
A Note from Bloodhound Books:
Copyright © 2018 Tony J Forder
The right of Tony J Forder to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by him in accordance Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First published in 2018 by Bloodhound Books
Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, with prior permission in writing of the publisher or, in the case of reprographic production, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Also By Tony J Forder
DI Bliss Series
Bad To The Bone ( Book 1)
The Scent Of Guilt ( Book 2)
Degrees Of Darkness
Scream Blue Murder .
Praise for Tony J Forder
"Forder didn't spare the horses when writing Scream Blue Murder. This book rockets along, a breathless action-packed ride. Perfect reading for fans of Simon Kernick and Jeff Abbott." Matt Hilton, author of the Joe Hunter thrillers.
“An action-packed, twisty thriller. Great stuff.” Mason Cross, author of the Carter Blake thriller series
"This was a heart in mouth, adrenaline-fueled thriller that set off at a relentless pace and just kept going!!" Steve Robb - BookieWookie
"Wow!! What can I say I was totally addicted from the prologue." Jill Burkinshaw - Books n All
"Holy Moly you are in for the ride of your life with Scream Blue Murder. It begins with a bang and just doesn’t relent." Alison Daughtrey-Drew - Ali - The Dragon Slayer
"It’s an excellent beginning to a new series, I could even see a prequel at some point as Bliss’ history was fascinating." Amy Sullivan - Novelgossip
"A good solid crime thriller that will keep you guessing till the very end." Joanne Robertson - My Chestnut Reading Tree
"A pacey, invigorating read that offers plenty of thrills and a solid entry into the genre." Mark Wilson - Author
"Forder is a talented author, who lent authenticity to every word that was written." Jane E. James - Author
"Forder has created well-rounded main characters - I warmed to Bliss immediately with his non-nonsense approach and also his rapport with his partner, DC Chandler." Clair Boor - Have Books Will Read
"This is a well told tale that has been thought out, several threads coming together with excellent descriptions." Misfits Farm - Goodreads Reviewer
"I found this to be a compelling yet gruesome read. Great praise to this author." Philomena Callan - Cheekypee Reads And Reviews
"An absolutely brilliant page turner that will give the reader much to think about." Jill Burkinshaw - Books n All
"Degrees of Darkness is an engrossing and haunting thriller!" Caroline Vincent - Bits About Books
"This is an awesome read that for me that put it on a scare factor alongside Stephen King and Thomas Harris."Susan Hampson - Books From Dusk Till Dawn
"Beginning with such a petrifying opening chapter, Tony J Forder sets the tone quickly for a chilling and claustrophobic thriller." Kate Noble - The Quiet Knitter
"Had me hooked from the outset. Strong characters and no-nonsense descriptions kept the story rolling. Chilling and wonderfully suspenseful" AB Morgan - Author
"Dark, brutal and sinister that will have you avidly turning the pages." Yvonne Bastian - Me And My Books
"The novel builds to a crescendo in the final few chapters, and I found myself holding my breath as the tension was almost impossible to bear!" Kate Eveleigh - Portable Magic
"If you're looking for a well-written police thriller then I highly recommend you set time aside and devour these books." Philomena Callan - Cheekype Reads And Reviews
"The Scent of Guilt may be an intriguing mystery with superb characterisation and riveting action but it's also a contemplative examination of what makes somebody evil." Karen Cole - Hair Past A Freckle
"The murders are gruesome, the case is cleverly weaved together, some great twists and it kept me guessing." Dash Fan Book Reviews
"A cleverly woven, complex, and highly intense novel which will leave you with your eyes prised open and your jaw dropping low." Kaisha Holloway - The Writing Garnet
"Brilliantly written and a fascinating read that, in my opinion, could happily stand shoulder to shoulder with works from the likes of Rankin and Connelly." Steve Robb - BookieWookie
"I think the story is very well written and left me guessing all the way through and the final scenes were really dramatic." Simon Leonard - Black Books Blog
"It had my breath caught, my brain hooked and my senses in overdrive; twists and turns will keep you hooked til the very last page. Read it!" Sharon Bairden - Chapter In My Life
"...fast-paced, great plot -another brilliant book and another of the author’s that I have given 5 stars!!" Donna Maguire - Donnas Book Blog
"This is a fabulous read again, with heart in your mouth moments that just seal the deal on this little beauty. Loved it!" Susan Hampson - Books From Dusk Till Dawn
"There are some thrilling twists in this story along with tense and dark situations that had me gripped throughout." Rachel Broughton - Rae Reads
Once Bliss turned off the A1(M) just ahead of the A47 junction, it was actually a pleasant short drive. First, across the stone bridge at Wansford, which had spanned the river Nene for more than four hundred years, past the fine houses and working fields, and then along a narrow road with trees, undergrowth and wild hedgerow forming a natural rim on both sides. At times the oak, beech and horse chestnut combined to create a tunnel effect as their branches intertwined high above. A watery sunlight flickering through the trees cut a dappled constant movie across the Insignia’s windscreen. All was still and peaceful for a few minutes until the action became visible the moment they rounded a blind left-hand curve, causing Bliss to ease off the accelerator. To their left, the yawning entrance to a sizable industrial plant. To the right, a short driveway leading to a steel gate beyond w
The fresh spring air still carried a chill with it, so Bliss pulled on his jacket. His partner did the same.
‘Shit,’ Chandler said as they left the car behind and approached the scene. ‘I can smell it in the air still.’
‘Crispy Critter.’ Bliss remarked.
Chandler blanched and nodded. ‘I’m just glad we didn’t get around to eating first.’
Bliss nodded his agreement. Dead bodies came in all shapes and sizes and inhuman forms at times. Bodies left in water were awful sights, bloated by gases and covered in waxy adiopocere, and there was never anything pretty about a human form torn apart by either blunt or sharp objects – a human body was supposed to remain intact and anything other than that was a horrific sight. But burned bodies did it for Bliss, turning his stomach every time. You had to keep reminding yourself that you were looking at the remains of a real person and not some Hollywood movie creation cast from latex. But when you did that you ran the risk of reminding yourself of the pain and suffering endured by the victim.
His choice of language was purely a defence mechanism. As an investigating detective he could not allow himself to get too emotionally attached to any victim. At times it was difficult, on occasion impossible. But some detachment was essential, both in order to remain sane and removed enough to concentrate. Bliss operated on the notion that if you got too wrapped up in the individuals, you did more harm than good. It made him a better detective than it did a human being. At least, that was what it felt like.
There was no one posted at the tape sealing off the scene, so Bliss hoisted it for Chandler before ducking beneath it himself. A dozen paces shy of the canvas tent erected over the body they both had to flash their credentials and sign a sheet to record their attendance.
‘Rough morning?’ Bliss said to the young female constable tasked with recording the comings and goings. Her face was pale and there was a downward turn to her lips.
The uniform nodded. Her eyes were heavy-lidded, as if she wanted to close them but feared what she might see inside her mind if she did so.
‘Do yourself a favour and ask around to see if anyone here has a flask of sweet tea,’ Bliss suggested. ‘Some old-stagers bring one along just in case they need a boost or in the event of shock. Get some inside you if so.’
‘Thank you, sir. I may do.’
‘Did you bring one with you, boss?’ Chandler asked, taking her turn to sign in.
‘You were with me. Did you see me stop, grab a flask and fill it with tea?’
‘No, but since you mentioned old-stagers…’
The young constable forced a smile. Bliss winked at her. ‘You’ll be fine. Get that drink inside you as soon as you can.’
A balding, squat man of average height had been watching their approach, and he stepped forward to greet them. The man had the most bulbous forehead Bliss had ever seen. He nodded but did not offer his hand. Detective Inspector Ken Sullivan introduced himself warmly enough, but Bliss noted the wariness in his eyes. The careful scrutiny of a man who had not yet decided whether he wanted the case, but that if he did was perfectly willing to fight tooth and nail for it and wanted Bliss to realise that.
Bliss understood, though his mind was still elsewhere. He had just got back to the Thorpe Wood station from court when his DCI had caught up with him and Chandler in the corridor and given them the word on this.
‘How did it go?’ Edwards asked.
‘Pretty much as expected.’ His curt response was reflective of the anger he had felt earlier.
A prisoner, already serving life for killing his pregnant wife with a spade, had bludgeoned his cell mate to death with a clock radio whilst out of his head on the volatile drug known as ‘rice’. His defence was that he only started on the drug when the new cell mate introduced it to him, knowing the kind of aggression and paranoia it could induce. The judge was known to be a hand-wringer, and to Bliss’s disgust had suggested the sentence would reflect the defence claims.
Detective Chief Inspector Edwards had nodded, her smile as false as the capped teeth it displayed. ‘Tough luck, Inspector. Can’t win them all. Anyway, we have a body for you out near Kings Cliffe.’
‘That’s Northants area, not Cambridgeshire.’ Bliss barely paused, crabbing sideways now in an effort to both meet Edwards’ gaze and keep on the move towards his office.
Edwards tilted her head and scrunched up her face. ‘That’s… debatable, Inspector. The border edges are blurred, apparently. Northants were called in, first, but Superintendent Fletcher wants someone out there to act for this county whilst other people discuss the precise geographical location of the victim.’
Her words having halted his escape, the DCI took a step closer to hand Bliss a slip of paper on which she had hurriedly scrawled a few details and the approximate location of the crime scene. Bliss hoped it was hurried, at least. If this was her natural writing then she might well have been better off entering the medical profession. Before he had a chance to argue further, Edwards strode away with her usual swagger. Bliss followed her with his eyes. In other circumstances he might have been attracted to the woman, but her personality in no way lived up to the promise of her physical looks.
Less than twenty minutes later and Bliss was now here with his partner, sizing up the opposition and deciding he would rather traipse back to HQ empty-handed.
‘So how about we decide this body is within your jurisdiction and call it quits,’ he said amiably.
Sullivan hesitated for a few seconds, perhaps attempting to figure out what angles were in play here. Bliss decided to help him out. ‘Between you and me, Ken, even if it’s a few yards on our side of the boundary line, I have no objections if you want to shuffle the body and the tent along so’s it becomes a Northants case.’
The expression of horror and disgust that appeared on the DI’s face told Bliss he had miscalculated. Sullivan might not be entirely certain about claiming the case, but he was evidently a stickler for the rules and what Bliss had just suggested was anathema to him.
Looking to cover his slip, Bliss laughed and winked at Sullivan, clapping the man on the arm. ‘Just kidding, Ken. My dumb attempt at lightening the mood. Apologies if I shocked you there for a moment. So tell me, do we have any word yet as to when there might be a decision on the boundary lines?’
Appearing more than a little disconcerted, DI Sullivan from the Corby serious crimes unit frowned and shook his head. ‘Not yet, no. I have someone talking to the county council right this minute. It would appear as if we are in a real grey area here.’
Bliss could understand why. Corby was little more than ten miles away, its centre a fraction closer than Peterborough’s. The affluent village of Kings Cliffe was on the north-east tip of Northamptonshire, rubbing up against the north-west reach of Cambridgeshire.
‘For what it’s worth, I think this one is ours,’ Chandler said, drawing disapproving glares from both Sullivan and her own partner. She shrugged and gave a tight smile. ‘Sorry, but I know this area pretty well and I’m reasonably sure that this part of Kings Cliffe Road falls under Peterborough.’
‘It would be unseemly to fight over this poor man’s awful murder,’ Sullivan said, absently smoothing down his maroon tie. ‘However, I think for the sake of any future prosecution we owe it to the man to be absolutely certain before we proceed any further.’
His forehead glistened, and Bliss found himself distracted by it.
Chandler was busy playing with her phone, both thumbs beavering away. Within a few seconds she was showing them the screen. ‘That’s the pharmaceutical industrial complex that you can see beyond the trees and steel fence across the road. It has a Peterborough postal code.’
It was hardly a signed and sealed clarification document f
‘Does that at least get us inside the tent?’ he asked.
Sullivan nodded, his disappointment and reluctance writ large across his face. Bliss thanked him and proceeded to the scene. A fair amount of rubbish had accumulated in the nearby undergrowth; discarded wrappers, paper coffee cups, plastic bottles and drink cans. This particular blot on the English countryside never failed to infuriate Bliss, and he made a note to direct a voluntary agency in this direction. Though not quite yet.
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