Billed as  having the suspense of Jeffery Deaver, the tension of Thomas Harris and the gruesomeness of M. J. Arlidge, The Mayfly is a breathtaking debut that will have you leaving your lights on all night. Have a read of this exclusive extract, and ask yourself if you’re brave enough to read more…

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two.

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly – a secret society that people will kill for.

As Priest races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?

Priest opened his eyes and for a moment there was nothing. Just the sound of blood rushing past his ears.

Pritchard had retired three years ago. The uniform was real but the man wearing it hadn’t been. Priest should have guessed earlier. He’d been wearing a helmet. The nearest police station was three miles from here. Helmets were what beat officers wore—officers who travelled in cars wore peaked caps. There was no way this guy had walked three miles in a helmet carrying a compendium of Priest’s old stuff.

Bloody idiot. Burning the fish was bad enough…

At first Priest couldn’t detect anyone else in the room but he was sure the fake copper was still there, somewhere. He had been dumped in a chair. His wrists were tied to the chair arms with cable ties, as were his legs. The plastic cut into his skin. Some involuntary movement while he was unconscious had drawn deep lacerations across his ankles. There was duct tape wound around his chest, binding him to the chair. He could move his head a little but not much else.

There was a wet tea cloth on his head, restricting his view. He could have been anywhere but the stench of burnt fish told him he was still in his own kitchen.

He tested the restraints around his wrists and pain seared up his arm in response. He wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry. So far, the upper hand was with the man in blue. Priest figured he had a few minutes at the most to turn the tables. On an even footing, a confrontation would have had only one outcome. The fake copper was under six foot and didn’t look like he was carrying much underneath the uniform. Priest was six foot three and weighed fifteen and half stone, most of which was muscle. Knocking him out had been more luck than judgment, too.

He sat, immobilised, for what seemed like an age, although he guessed it was only a few minutes. A few minutes in which Priest couldn’t think of anything but the buzzing in his head and the bastard smell of fish.

The towel was suddenly whipped away and Priest’s kitchen came into view, spoiled by the figure of the grinning policeman.

“Gotcha!” the fake copper announced.

Priest didn’t say anything, just stared at the intruder as neutrally as he could.

“Why so upset, Priest? Should have seen it coming?” The fake copper threw the towel aside and took a few steps back, folding his arms and grinning. “This uniform cost me two grand. So don’t feel too bad.”

He was probably telling the truth about the price. Getting hold of a replica that good wasn’t impossible, but it was very expensive. Priest started to wonder about his chances.

The fake copper continued, “Ah, it was worth it. Guessed you wouldn’t open the door to any other type of visitor. The concierge downstairs was also very helpful.”

“What do you want?” Priest asked.

“Just a chat. For now. Little chat. So you can get to know me a bit better.”

“And you know me?”

The fake copper smiled. “You’re Charles Priest but everyone calls you Charlie. Divorced. No children. Forty-three years old. Cambridge First. Joined the Met in 1994, did two years on the beat. Fast tracked through CID to DS in 1997 and then DI in 2001. In 2004 you left the Force under a cloud and retrained to become a lawyer. You worked in the commercial litigation department of an international firm before setting up your own practice in the city specialising in fraud investigation. Now you earn half a million a year and rank pretty highly in the Legal 500 as one of the most respected solicitor-advocates in the UK. Your parents are dead but you have one sister, Sarah Boatman, thirty-nine years old, a co-owner of a PR agency and one brother, William Priest, forty-six years old, currently residing at Her Majesty’s pleasure in a secure psychiatric hospital outside the city having been declared criminally insane five years ago. You suffer from dissociative disorder, which means you constantly feel detached from reality, occasionally experiencing fits in which you descend into a state of complete disassociation, much like an out-of-body experience. Shall I go on?”

 

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