Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Brotherhood by @DavidBeckler1 @SapereBooks #NewRelease #MasonAndSterling #Thriller #Series #Manchester

Brotherhood by David Beckler


An ex-Marine is forced to confront his troubled past…

Manchester, England, 1998

When Byron Mason’s estranged nephew, Philip, rings him out of the blue in desperate need of help, he knows he must put his personal feelings aside to protect his family.

A teenage boy has been murdered, and Philip is one of the suspects.

Worse than that, the dead boy was the nephew of Ritchie McLaughlin – a local thug who Byron has clashed with in the past – and Philip has now gone missing.

Desperate to clear Philip’s name, Byron enlists the help of his old friend Adam Sterling to track down the real killers.

Is Philip in danger? Can Byron and Adam find him before the police do?

Or has Byron’s violent past with McLaughlin come back to haunt him…?


The loud click from the speaker above the hatch into the kitchen announced another fire-call and Firefighter Adam Sterling groaned with frustration. He wanted to be busy, but this was the fourteenth shout of the night and he still hadn’t finished the evening meal he’d started six hours earlier. He wolfed down another mouthful of chilli, now a congealed mess following several trips to the hotplate and rushed to the engine house as the piercing notes of the siren faded away. The others waited on the first pump.
“Come on, slowcoach,” Station Officer Reid said.
“Sorry, Boss. I had to have food, I’m bloody starving.”
“Gannet,” Mal observed, to laughter.
The pump lurched out of the engine house and Adam stepped into his boots before pulling up his leggings. The vehicle raced round the first corner and Adam braced himself, glancing across at Mal, his partner for the night. With over twenty years’ service, Mal was ‘senior man’ and the team leader. Adam noticed he’d already dressed and was struggling into the straps of his breathing apparatus set.
“You’d better hurry, Adam. It’s just around the corner.”
A rush of adrenaline energised Adam and, thrusting his arms into the sleeves of his tunic, he fastened the zip. The two pumps made their way through deserted streets, and blue lights reflected from windows as they glided past. The brakes hissed and the pump came to a stop. Eager to see what awaited, Adam slid across the bench seat and followed Mal out onto the pavement, the heavy cylinder on his back making him clumsy. Just behind them, thick black smoke poured out of an opening above the front door of a terraced house. A mixture of excitement and apprehension made Adam’s pulse race.
“Okay, lads. Go under air. Mike, check round the back. Pete, get the sledgehammer,” Station Officer Reid said, his voice calm.
Adam started up his set and the comforting flow of cool air passed over his cheeks. He pulled the head-straps tight and took a deep breath before putting on his helmet and following Mal along the line of hose which had sprouted across the pavement. Mal reached the end and picked up the branch plugged into it, releasing a blast of water into the gutter. Adam seized the tail of hose and concentrated on trailing Mal. The voices and sounds of the pumps merged into the background. The splintered remains of the door lay beside the front steps and Mal crouched in the doorway.
Behind Adam, Reed hovered, trying to see past his men. “Check for missing floorboards, Adam, and look out for needles. These houses are popular with junkies. Find the electrics and knock them off.”
Adam listened to these instructions, his mind on what awaited them, and he ran through what he’d learned in the last three years and countless hours of training. Mal blasted the ceiling ahead of them and a shower of debris fell. When this stopped, he led Adam into the house. Thick, viscous smoke engulfed them when they stepped through the front door, absorbing the beams of their lamps. Adam kept low, but within seconds heat infiltrated his flash-hood, forcing him lower. Dragging the hose he followed Mal into the smoke. Mal blasted the fire and the hose jerked in Adam’s hands, like a serpent coughing. The water hit the flames, generating clouds of steam which enveloped the two men. Intense heat penetrated Adam’s clothing and sweat poured off him. He panted, using up precious air.
Adam went even lower, trying to burrow into the floor, searching for the cooler atmosphere. He ignored the lumps of debris jabbing him through his leggings and crawled into the house. The sounds of another team came from behind, and their shuffling steps on wooden treads told him they were going upstairs. He found it hot enough downstairs. It would be worse for them, fighting their way through the layers of heat.
Mal grabbed his shoulder. “The main fire’s in the back room. Do you want to take it?” he said, his voice muffled by the facemask.
He thrust the branch into Adam’s hands and moved aside to let him pass. Adam tucked the hose under his arm and Mal dropped in behind him, keeping a hand on his shoulder. Flame showed under the smoke and leaning forward, Adam fired off a blast of water. More steam enveloped him and he could see nothing. Then it cleared and the flames returned, smaller and less bright.
He advanced and sprayed them again. Mal disappeared, giving Adam a moment’s anxiety until sounds of his colleague searching the adjacent room reassured him. He crouched in the doorway and blasted the ceiling of the room beyond until bits of it stopped falling.
Mal returned. “Let’s go in.”
Adam moved into the room attacking the flames each side of the doorway. They died as he hit them and the heat reduced. Centimetres at a time, they advanced, knocking down the fire.
“Hole in the floor on our left, Adam.”
Prompted by the call, he checked each step but soon reached the far wall. A scan of the room confirmed he’d extinguished the fire.
“Give me a hand here?” Mal’s voice came from his left and leaving the hose, Adam shuffled across to join him. “Window’s got a security grille.” Mal gripped Adam’s sleeve and directed his hand to a smooth piece of metal. “This end feels loose at the top. You’re taller, can you knock it out?”
He hit it with the heel of his hands until the end popped out, creating an opening at the edge of the board. Adam pushed the panel, widening the gap. Smoke and steam rushed out of the top of the opening and cool clean air replaced it. After more pushing, another anchor point gave way and working together, they removed the metal plate, leaving a wide hole. The air cleared and Adam’s torch illuminated the back room. Broken kitchen cabinets lined two walls and, in the gap for a cooker, stood a wheelie bin.
“We’ll use the bin to put the crap in,” Mal said, then the radio on his set crackled.
“Station Officer, come in.” The sub officer’s urgent tone made Adam pause.
“Go ahead, Mike.”
“Geoff, we have persons reported.”
The news sent a jolt through Adam. Although he knew they should treat every building as if it might contain casualties, he hadn’t seriously thought they’d find someone in here.
“Say again, Mike?”

D Beckler image
David Beckler

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
Brotherhood Blog Tour (1)

#PublicationDay Q&A with @heatherbwriter #BornBad @Aria_Fiction

Born Bad by Heather Burnside


Book 1 in this new, gritty Manchester crime trilogy. When your enemies get close, family loyalty is all you can trust.

Brother and sister Peter and Adele Robinson never stood a chance. Dragged up by an alcoholic, violent father, and a weak, beaten mother, their childhood in Manchester only prepared them for a life of crime and struggle. But Adele is determined to break the mould. She studies hard at school and, inspired by her beloved grandmother Joyce, she finally makes a successful life for herself on her own.

Peter is not so lucky. Getting more and more immersed in the murky world of crime and gangs, his close bonds with Adele gradually loosen until they look set to break altogether.

But old habits die hard, and one devastating night, Adele is forced to confront her violent past. Dragged back into her worst nightmares, there’s only one person she can turn to when her life is on the line – her brother Peter. After all, blood is thicker than water…


Q) For the readers can you give a summary of yourself and your latest release Born Bad?

A) I have been writing for 18 years since I started studying for a creative writing diploma. During that time I have been involved in many aspects of writing, from having articles published in popular national magazines to running a writing services business for a broad range of clients. Nowadays I mainly focus on my books and in 2014 I had my first novel, Slur, published, which was book one in a trilogy of gritty crime novels.

Born Bad is the first book in a new gritty crime trilogy based in Manchester. It features Adele and Peter Robinson, the children of a violent, drunken father and an inept, beaten mother. As a result of their turbulent upbringing Peter drifts into a life of crime.

Adele, on the other hand, studies hard to better herself, encouraged by her beloved grandmother, Joyce. Adele and Peter have each chosen a different path in life and this eventually drives a wedge between them.

But, one devastating night, Adele is forced to confront her violent past and events spiral out of control. Worried and desperate, she turns to her brother for help. Their shared secrets and tortured past bring them closer once more. But perhaps even Peter can’t get her out of this particular fix. With no-one else to turn to, Adele puts her trust in her brother and hopes that he will help her find a way out of her dilemma.

Q) The synopsis sounds intense and the main protagonist Adele comes across as relatable and realistic. Can you tell us more about Adele?

A) Adele is basically a good person with a conscience but she is also a troubled soul because of her unstable upbringing. At times her temper gets the better of her and she sometimes acts out of character. This is usually because she is hitting back at the way she is treated by adults and life in general. However, she then gets an attack of conscience and often regrets her actions.

Q) Adele is raised in a childhood marred by alcohol and violence. Yet she has a resounding desire to create a different life for herself. What was the inspiration behind Adele’s life story?

A) Having spent my teens on a tough council estate and having seen quite a few bad home situations, I was interested in how some children manage to break the chain. For the majority, the cycle seems to be repeated but there are a few who change their lives.

I think that adult influences can play a huge role, which is why I have introduced the positive influences of Adele’s grandmother and her school teacher. Because of her intelligence she is encouraged by them to better herself and she achieves this to some extent. Her brother, on the other hand, doesn’t receive any encouragement and he drifts into a life of crime.

However, another aspect that interests me is how, even for people who have escaped their past in a physical sense, the emotional effects can be far more damaging. Do they ever really escape the mental anguish brought about by a turbulent childhood or does it stay with them for the rest of their lives?

Q) The novel also features a brother/sister dynamic, which I found unusual within the genre. I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters myself, so I think this is a brilliant concept. As there is nothing stronger than the bond between siblings. What made you choose a brother/sister relationship as the driving force of the novel?

A) I was the only girl with four brothers and I am particularly close to two of them. I agree with what you say about there being nothing stronger than the bond between siblings. It is a unique relationship as you have so much shared knowledge and experiences. There are certain situations that nobody would ever understand as much as a sibling. My brothers and I even have our own wacky sense of humour, which nobody else really gets.

My own son and daughter are also very close. I’ve no experience of what it’s like to have a sister but I do know what it’s like having siblings. I really wanted to show the close bond between siblings and, with four brothers, it was more natural for me to choose a brother/sister situation.

Q) I can see the easy comparison to Martina Cole or Marnie Riches, with the specific type of genre. How do you feel about the comparison to other authors?

A) I’m very flattered to be compared to Martina Cole and Marnie Riches. However, when I started writing novels I didn’t consciously try to emulate any other authors. I had only read one or two books by Martina Cole at that time and I can’t remember having read any other books by authors in that genre before the comparisons began.

In the past I mainly read sagas and thrillers. One reader compared my style as Catherine Cookson meets Martina Cole and that comparison rang true with me. I like the strong characterisation and emotional depth that you get with many sagas so I try to include that in my writing.

I mainly draw influence from things that are happening around me and news articles. In the 90s gang crime regularly hit the news headlines in Manchester and a lot of it was a bit close to home. I therefore wanted to concentrate on these topics and try to see behind the headlines; to the families that are affected by gang culture.

Q) I noticed on the Amazon page, Born Bad is book 1 in a trilogy. What is next to come in the series?

A) I am already working on the second novel which follows Adele and Peter into adulthood. This is when Peter becomes established as a big name in the Manchester gangland scene. I can’t tell you too much about Adele without spoiling the second and third books for readers but the violent events of book one make a major impact on her throughout books two and three. Her damaged childhood also has a huge influence.

*Huge thanks to Heather Burnside for taking part in a Q&A on my blog. I wish you all the best with the release of Born Bad.

HB: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure. Thank you too for giving me the opportunity.

Heather Burnside
Authors links:
Born Bad Universal Amazon link:
Amazon Author Page:
Twitter: @heatherbwriter

*Happy publication date to Heather Burnside, Born Bad is available from today via Kindle Ebook at just £2.48 🙂
Happy Saturday reading!