Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract A Cold Flame by @ConwayRome #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Rome #DetectiveRossi #Series @KillerReads #AColdFlame

177095-FC50
A Cold Flame by Aidan Conway
Review to follow
Synopsis:

Play with fire and you get burned…

A gripping crime thriller, from a new star in British crime fiction. Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin.

Five men burnt alive.

In the crippling heat of August in Rome, a flat goes up in flames, the doors sealed from the outside. Five illegal immigrants are trapped and burnt alive – their charred bodies barely distinguishable amidst the debris.

One man cut into pieces.

When Detective Inspectors Rossi and Carrara begin to investigate, a terror organisation shakes the city to its foundations. Then a priest is found murdered and mutilated post-mortem – his injuries almost satanic in their ferocity.

One city on the edge of ruin.

Rome is hurtling towards disaster. A horrifying pattern of violence is beginning to emerge, with a ruthless killer overseeing its design. But can Rossi and Carrara stop him before all those in his path are reduced to ashes?

Extract:

One
The few flowers left in the chipped vase had withered to dry brown stalks in the searing August
sun.
“You’re still sure this falls within our brief?” said Carrara as they stared at the cold,
charred remains of the ground floor flat. All the bodies had now been removed but their
presence lingered.
“It’s another fire, isn’t it?” said Rossi. “Probably arson. Why not?”
It was not the first fire in the city to bear the hallmarks of foul play, but it was the first
fatal one since they had been moved off their normal duties.
They were standing in the welcome shade of the elevated section of the tangenziale
flyover, on a side street off the busy, grimy Via Prenestina. It was hot, cripplingly hot. Thin
rivulets of sweat were meandering down Rossi’s neck despite the shade.
“Even if there’s a file on this one already?” said Carrara. “A file that’s as good as closed.”
Rossi shook his head and continued to gaze into the blackened ruins.
“It’s August. You can get away with murder in August. Who was on it again?”
Carrara leafed through the case notes.
“No one I know. A guy called Lallana. Had a racial homicide’s brief. Seconded to us in
June and then transferred out again, at his own request, now buzzing all over the place with
Europol. I got hold of him by phone but he wasn’t keen on talking. Says it’s all in the reports
and he’s got nothing more to add.”
“Giving you the brush-off?”
Carrara shrugged.
“He had it down as a hate crime – seems the victims were all foreigners – but not a single,
solid lead. No witnesses, just the one guy who survived it.”

“A survivor?” said Rossi.
“Was. Dead now. Had 60 per cent burns. Should have been long gone but somehow hung
on for nearly a week.”
“And all while I was on holiday,” said Rossi.
“You can’t be everywhere, Mick,” said Carrara glancing up from the notes. “I mean a
break was merited, after Marini.”
Rossi’s thoughts turned then to the events of the previous winter but as his shoes crunched
on the ash and scorched timbers he was still struggling to comprehend the present horror.
Shooting, strangling, stabbing – that was one thing – but burning to death. They must have
been locked inside when the fire started. Some might have woken but had been unable to get
to a door or a window, the security grilles put there ostensibly to keep them safe from intruders
thus consigning them to their fates.
“But why wasn’t anyone able to get out?” said Rossi. “Because they locked their room
doors every night?”
“Correct,” said Carrara. “Normal practice in bedsits, but no keys for the security grilles
were found, not even after a fingertip search.”
“What about the front door?” said Rossi. “Couldn’t they have got out with their own keys?
They all had one, right?”
Carrara took out a blown-up scene-of-crime photo.
“The lock. Tampered with, the barrel and mechanism all mangled up. Some debris was
found inside. It could have been someone forcing it – an attempted break-in – or it could have
been sabotage. The occupants might have been able to open it from the inside to escape, if they
had managed to reach the door, but the bolts were still in place. Nobody could get in until the
fire guys arrived and then it was too late.”
“And their forensics?” said Rossi.

“Well,” said Carrara, “significant traces of ethanol – one version of the facts is that there
was a moonshine vodka operation – and they did find the remains of a timer switch next to the
burnt-out fridge. Lallana maintained it could have been foul play, or just as easily some home
brew electrical set-up that shorted. He didn’t exactly go all out for the former theory. In the
absence of a clear motive and witnesses the coroner delivered an open verdict. Have a look for
yourself.”
Carrara handed Rossi the relevant report.
“Open?” said Rossi noting now with near contempt the irony. “Someone locked those
poor bastards inside.”
“Like I said, no keys for the window bars were found but no one lived long enough to tell
any tale.”
Among the scorched masonry and fallen timbers, one of the grilles lay across the small
desert of debris, like the ribcage of a once living and breathing being strewn across a bleak
savannah.
“Any names?” said Rossi.
“Just the one,” said Carrara. “The tough nut. Ivan Yovoshenko. He was found in the
communal bathroom and had dog tags from his conscription days. But for them he would have
been a zero like the rest. It seems he had at least tried to get out, got severely burnt in the
process and maybe finally sought refuge in the bathroom. He could have struck his head and
collapsed. Judging from the amount of alcohol they found in his bloodstream, he had to have
been blind drunk and wouldn’t have realized just how hot the flames were. It was enough for
him to survive as long as he did.”
“And nothing on the others?”
“Nothing,” said Carrara.

“Well, they can forget checking dental records,” said Rossi. “These guys could probably
just about afford toothpaste.”
Carrara pulled out another sheet for Rossi.
“Presumed missing persons in Rome and Lazio for the last six months, but no matches
with this address. The word on the street is that they were five single men, probably illegals,
but anymore than that …”
“Sounds familiar,” said Rossi. “But no friends, no workmates?”
Carrara gestured to the desiccated blooms and a brown, dog-eared farewell note or two.
“Paid their respects then made themselves scarce, I suppose,” said Carrara. “If it’s a racial
hate killing they were probably thinking ‘who’s next’?”
“But a landlord?” said Rossi, sensing an opening. “Tell me we have an owner’s name.”
But Carrara was already quashing that hope with another printout from the case folder.
“Flat sold to a consortium two months ago as part of a portfolio of properties, a sort of
going concern with cash-in-hand rents through an established ‘agent’ who hasn’t been seen
since the fire.”
“That’s convenient,” quipped Rossi.
“Says here they always sent an office bod to pick up the cash in a nearby bar and the go
between got his room cheap as well as his cut. No contracts. No paper trail. No nothing.”
“And no name for the agent?”
“Mohammed. Maybe.”
“That narrows it down. And the bar? Anyone there remember him’?”
“Nada.”
“A description?”
“North African. About fifty.”

“Great,” said Rossi. “Well, it looks like the late Ivan’s our only man, doesn’t it? Let’s see
what the hospital can give us.”
“And then a trip to the morgue?”
“You know, Gigi, I was almost beginning to miss going there.”

AC
Aidan Conway
Website
Twitter

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Blog Tour - cold flame 3

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Perfect Dead by @JackieMBaldwin1 #CrimeFiction #NewRelease #DIFrankFarrell #Series @KillerReads Sometimes perfection is worth killing for. . .

cover1
Perfect Dead by Jackie Baldwin – DI Frank Farrell #2
Synopsis

Sometimes perfection is worth killing for…

The second gripping crime novel in an exciting new series. Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell finds himself on the trail of a vicious killer in rural Scotland. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.

Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.

Ex-priest DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?

The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective’, a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.

And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to home…

Extract:

7th January 2013

DI Frank Farrell glanced across at Mhairi as the police car slid and bumped its way along an icy farm track towards a small stonewashed cottage. It was 10.10 a.m. and the sky was bright with a pale wintery sun. A young police officer who worked out of Kirkcudbright stood in front of the blue and white tape and walked towards them as they parked alongside the SOCO van.

Farrell exited the car with a feeling of dread in his stomach. In his time as a practising Catholic priest, suicides, in particular, always had a profound effect on him. The thought that someone might be driven to die at their own hand was unfathomable.

‘SOCO nearly done in there, PC McGhie?’
‘Yes, sir, they reckon it’s fairly cut and dried. The police surgeon is in there too. Didn’t exactly have to look for a pulse. Blood and brains everywhere.’
Farrell quelled him with a look.
‘Do we know the name of the deceased yet?’
‘Monro Stevenson, according to the opened mail, sir.’

Silently, Mhairi and Farrell suited up in their protective plastic coveralls and overshoes. Even if it was suicide, care had to be taken not to contaminate the scene, just in case.
‘Right, let’s get this over with,’ said Farrell.
He opened the door and entered with Mhairi.
A middle-aged man in a tweed jacket and cords was packing away his stethoscope in a brown leather satchel in the hall. He straightened up as they approached. Farrell noticed that he had an unhealthy greyish tinge to his face and that his hands were shaking.

‘Morning, Doctor. DI Farrell and DC McLeod.’
‘Dr Allison. Cause appears to be suicide. A terrible business,’ he said. ‘A patient of mine, as it turns out. He was only twenty-seven.’
‘It must be difficult when you know the deceased,’ said Mhairi.
‘Yes, if only he had come to me. I could have got him some help. Anything to avoid this,’ he said, gesturing towards the other room.
‘Any chance you can give us an indication of the time of death?’ asked Farrell.
‘Well, as you know, my role here is restricted to pronouncing life extinct. However, given that rigor is at its peak, I would hazard a guess, strictly off the record, that he died somewhere around fifteen hours ago. However, you’ll need to wait for the preliminary findings from the pathologist for any degree of certainty.’
‘Thanks, Doctor,’ said Farrell. ‘I appreciate the heads-up.’

The doctor turned to leave. Farrell approached the two experienced Scene of Crime officers, Janet White and Phil Tait, who were gathering their stuff together at the rear of the hall.
‘Janet, what have you got for us?’
‘It looks like a suicide,’ she said. ‘Gun placed in the mouth and trigger pulled. We lifted prints from the gun. Gunshot residue on the right hand of the deceased matches that scenario.’
‘There’s a note,’ Phil said. ‘It’s in a sealed envelope. We’ll get you a copy once we’ve done the necessary checks back at the station. We’ve also removed the gun for ballistics analysis.’
‘What was it?’
‘A PPK 380 mm. We recovered the bullet from the wall behind the chair.’
‘How on earth did he get hold of one of those in this neck of the woods?’
‘Your guess is as good as mine,’ shrugged Phil.
‘A suicide note,’ said Mhairi. ‘That means it’s unlikely to be a murder?’
‘Unless he was coerced, or it was staged,’ said Farrell.

JB
Jackie Baldwin
Twitter
Website

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Banner final