Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Edge Blitz

The Edge
Jim McGhee
(DI Barney Mains, #5)
Publication date: February 28th 2024
Genres: Adult, Thriller

DI Barney Mains blames himself for the grotesque murder of a top banker in France.

He’s obsessed with the belief that he allowed a near-mythical assassin to escape certain death to kill again.

And when a duplicate murder is reported 1000 miles away in Barney’s home town in Scotland, the guilt drives him ever closer to the edge.

How many more must pay the ultimate price for his failure?

But then death comes closer to home. He is left with no choice but to face his demons, before a shocking confrontation which will change everything…

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Barney controlled his breathing as he stepped into the room. Wary of sending shadows across that blind, he shone his phone torch onto the floor and started to step carefully around the perimeter of a worn carpet.

There was a small kitchen area on the wall to his right and a fold-down bed on the facing wall. He stopped and dared raise his torch a tad. The bed was empty and neatly made.

He moved around, past an open toilet door, and relaxed a little in the knowledge that this looked like a studio flat, which meant there were no other rooms to check, no need to risk staying too long.

He continued to step into the pool of light until he reached the third wall. He stopped dead. Why the hell would anyone take up this much space in a small flat by installing a bloody great chest freezer? And how could someone who’d been reduced to living in such mean accommodation afford to fill the bugger anyway?

Barney thought these were very interesting questions. But there was another. Why had he fitted a padlock to it?

Well, of course there was a logical explanation. Maybe the man who lived here made his living buying and selling meat. There were so many food shops and restaurants in the area that the logic was inescapable and Barney wanted to like it.

Breaking into a flat was one thing but breaking into a freezer full of meat would be just plain silly. And he badly needed to be gone.

He flicked the patch of light along the floor to the fourth wall, the one with the window. There seemed to be a desk and chair here. He looked closer. Yes, a desk, or rather a make-up table, with a trio of fixed mirrors. He felt that chill run down his back, the one which knew things before he did. It was the kind of table he’d seen Jack use when transforming himself into a movie legend. The Ghost too was said to be a master of disguise.

Had Barney, by going to an AA meeting then following its worthy Leader to this place, discovered the dragon’s lair? But why here and why had he been a regular at such meetings? Unless he was quite simply hiding in plain sight, where no-one would think to look for him. He could return here as Alec and leave as whoever he chose for his next commission. But if so, why would he let the Leader come and go so freely?

Barney knew he was staying too long. He needed to get out before someone returned. And yet, the mystery of the freezer intrigued him.

In such a room, in such a place, a locked freezer?

He took a big breath and realised how tense he was. But he’d come this far and rightly or wrongly he sensed that the freezer was significant.

The thought made him so cold that he might have been inside that big white box. Was he really going to add this next crime to drink driving and housebreaking?

‘Ach, what the hell,’ he said out loud for courage, then pulled out his lock picks again. Now, all he had to do was lift the lid and confirm the contents as lamb chops and steaks before making his escape and laughing at himself as the complete fool that he was.

He paused. He felt both disoriented and exhilarated; shitting himself and screaming inside with some crazed sense of liberation. He was in the forbidden land, beyond the laws he’d spent his adult life enforcing.

The scariest thing, he realised as he pulled open the lid and rested it against the wall, was that he liked it.

At first glance, it looked like the opaque plastic sheet could very well cover nothing more than the stock products of a meat trader.

He reached across to his left to grab the far corner then carefully drew it towards him so that he could put it back in more or less the same position.

He shone his torch. Shit! His gut clenched. A human face stared blankly back at him from within a clear plastic bag.

Barney pulled the cover all the way to his right.

The man, maybe aged around forty, had no obvious injuries and was dressed like half the world, in faded jeans, denim jacket and trainers. He had clear plastic bags over his hands.

But it was that stony, bloodless face like porcelain which drew him. For this could, after all, be the face in the sketch, the face which haunted him.


Author Bio:

Jim McGhee's a former award-winning environmental journalist.

Formerly based in East Lothian, near Edinburgh, Scotland, he is now mainly to be found in Nice in the South of France, the main setting for his DI Barney Mains series.

After a full-on career as a campaigning newspaper reporter, he and wife Jean launched their own recruitment company in central Edinburgh and for twelve fun-packed years worked closely together alongside their brilliant team - without spilling a single drop of blood.

The Alpes-Maritimes and Var departments, on the other hand, have provided a host of dramatic locations just perfect as inspiration for the odd spot of fictional gore.

Locals, blessed with scenery ranging from unspoilt mountain villages to the classic palms-and-marinas coast, claim that they can be swimming one moment and ski-ing a little over an hour later. It's a claim not yet put to the test!

Besides, when not writing or travelling, Jim's more likely to be off on a hike in the hills with his ever-ready buddy, Jack the Irish Terrier.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Bookbub


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