Fancy reading the first five pages of a crime thriller I’m working on?
Honest feedback and constructive criticism welcomed.
Six Year, Six Days – copyright: Dawn Hinsley
~ CHAPTER ONE ~
3pm: The woman clung to the black iron railings as heavy rainfall drenched her green jumper, rendering it cumbersome and coarse. Black mascara streaks veined her blushing cheeks. She trembled from violent terror but not the cold. Looking skyward at the grey density of the afternoon’s canvas she whispered the name: “Sophie.”
3.10pm: “I can’t be a part of this case,” said Dr Josephine Copeland-Black, staring through the one-way glass and not taking her eyes off the man slouching down in a plastic brown seat in the interview room opposite. Black trousers. Jeans weren’t his thing. Never had been. And then there were those short sleeve shirts he’d always preferred.
Detective Chief Inspector Gabriel Fitzpatrick tilted his head and raised an eyebrow at the somewhat stunned profile of the criminal psychologist stood next to him. Turning, with a bewilderment that made Fitzpatrick troubled and fractious in equal measure, Copeland-Black left the observation room.
3.21pm: “I think you owe me an explanation?”
Copeland-Black looked up from her desk where she wasn’t working. Fitzpatrick hadn’t bothered knocking. He swung the door back as he entered. It nearly slammed. Almost.
“There is a personal conflict of interest. I can’t work this case. That’s it.”
“This man is wanted in connection with dozens of armed robberies, fraud, gang-related crime. Without a doubt murder. I need you on this one.”
“Find someone else.”
“That’s all you’re getting.”
“I could take this higher.”
“As you wish.”
He’d never seen her like this. Distracted. In the two years they’d now worked together, Fitzpatrick couldn’t recall a single instance where Dr Copeland-Black had refused to meet his gaze with that unflinching self-assurance she had; the look that could make you believe she knew what you were thinking before you did. Now he found himself in limbo. Fitzpatrick made a retreat. Murky waters all around him.
3.22pm: “Hey. Chief.”
Gabriel Fitzpatrick, still lost in thought as he closed the door to Dr Copeland-Black’s office, turned and saw Detective Sergeant Isaac Maloney striding towards him, waving a beige file.
“What is it?”
“This dude’s a clever bastard. Doc Cop say anything?”
“She’s not working the case. And don’t call her that.”
“What? How long have we wanted this man to wander into our patch? He’s a slippery fish. We’ve been looking for a bite on this character for years.”
“There’s nothing I can do. We’ll have to work it without her.”
“That might be difficult. He’s not saying much about anything. That’s where Copeland-Black comes in. Usually.”
“Like I said. It’s just us.”
Maloney frowned so hard he developed a thick, dark unibrow. But the Sergeant knew where the line was when it came to pushing his boss. No-one crossed it.
“Well, do you want to take a turn in the ring with him?”
Fitzpatrick was distracted.
“Yes. Fine. Listen, I have no doubt you can handle this one.” Fitzpatrick placed a reassuring hand on Maloney’s upper arm.
“Sure. If that’s what you want.”
Maloney watched Fitzpatrick withdraw. He turned and saw Dr Copeland-Black at her desk through the glass-fronted office. She sat, tapping a Bic pen rhythmically on her table, staring at a desk calendar. Now, thought Maloney, something must be wrong if the Doc Cop was daydreaming.
Maloney’s feelings towards Dr Josephine Copeland-Black had zigzagged across a broad spectrum of reaction ever since she joined the team, but always remained firmly in the ‘find objectionable’ camp. Or, so he liked to believe. His first dealings with the psychologist, on the day she arrived in the department, was a dressing down in front of his colleagues. She’d stormed into Fitzpatrick’s office, where they were in the middle of a debriefing, and tore Maloney down to size after watching him rip into a young suspect in the interview room. It turned out this youth had been drugged and forced to watch helplessly as his friends were murdered. He was a victim. Copeland-Black had been right. But the way she’d handled it? Completely out of line.
In time Maloney had come to appreciate her uncanny abilities. He’d watched her induce confessions from the worst of the worst as victims threatened to drop charges through absolute dread. But he hated the bureaucracy which often meant Dr Copeland-Black could do exactly as she pleased. The chain of command was hazy. She technically had different employers. She could be a law unto herself in many ways.
And then there were her outfits. One time, Maloney remembered, she’d come to work in a bowler hat. Somehow, to DS Isaac Maloney, it seemed totally inappropriate. But, Maloney found it impossible not to notice other details. Copeland-Black was nearly six foot tall. One of the few women who could level him with her gaze. She had lots of curves as well. And very large, almost black, eyes; which were always rimmed in dark smudgy charcoal pencil.
5.30pm: Charlie placed his hands over his ears but he could still hear them shouting in the kitchen. He wished he could have stayed at granny’s house. Granny’s house smelled of hazelnuts and washed pillow cases. Granny was sat on the sofa next to him. Charlie thought she looked like ‘she’d seen a ghost’ – someone said that on the telly once.
“Why the bloody hell weren’t you watching her?” that was daddy yelling.
“She was just in the back garden,” mummy replied.
“And she just vanished?”