Book Excerpt – Victim of Compromise by Luke Johnson

November 27, 2018

The naked body of a young woman lay face down on the double bed like a discarded doll, a towelling cord wrapped tightly around her neck.

            “Dressing gown cord,” explained Donovan.  “The ‘otel supplies gowns for their guests.  The room’s been checked and photographed.  Mr Wallace said everything should be left as it was found till you arrived.  The doctor’s been and gone, and Forensic are waiting to move in when you’ve finished.”

            Ray had no idea why he had been summoned.  He had only received news of his promotion a month ago and was due to take up his new post in the Serious Crime Squad in two weeks.  The previous night he’d been out with the lads from the Flying Squad celebrating his promotion.  The evening had started well, then some bastard had put something in his drink.  Now his head was pounding and his tongue felt like an old dish-rag.  He had no track record of leading a murder inquiry.  However, investigating a suspicious death was part and parcel of police work, and he’d seen far too many corpses in his career – more than he cared to remember.  At least this one was relatively fresh and thankfully there was no blood.

            “When was she found?” he asked

            “About nine o’clock this morning, by the cleaning maid.”

            Ray looked at his watch.  It was one p.m.  He bent over the body, hoping he gave the impression he was an expert.  The girl was a brunette with short straight hair, cut in a bob, and may have once been pretty, but the blue and swollen face had changed all that.  He checked her fingers.  There was a silver ring containing a semi-precious stone on the right hand.  Her left hand showed no sign of jewellery, past or present.

            “Has her next of kin been informed?” he asked.

            “Yes, sir.”

            “Was she married?”

            “I don’t think she was.  We’re checking ‘er background – boyfriends etcetera.  The room was registered in the name of Mr and Mrs Roberts.  The receptionist says the register was signed by a man who was probably in ‘is forties.  She thinks she recognised him from somewhere but can’t think where.”

            Ray straightened up, glad that the examination was over and he had not felt sick.  He surveyed the scene.  A pile of clothing lay in an untidy heap on the floor.  His eyes registered a smart-looking black dress, black tights, black bra and pink panties.  He knew better than to touch anything.  They were in a double bedroom, expensively furnished with oak panelling, matching furniture and a marble en-suite bathroom.  In the bathroom, the towels were neatly folded and it looked unused.  The weather outside was hot, the hottest spring ever recorded, but both rooms were cold and he found himself shivering.

            Donovan noticed.  “I turned the air-conditioning up.  The doc suggested it – we didn’t know when you’d get ‘ere.”

            Ray nodded, relieved that it wasn’t the proximity of death that chilled the air.  He spoke quickly to maintain his air of professionalism. “Okay, tell me what you know.”

            Donovan opened his pocket book.  “The victim, as yet not formerly identified, is thought to be Mary Rayner, a twenty-two-year-old white female – up until the end of December, last year, she was a Detective Constable here at Wellstone.”

http://amazon.com/dp/B005HFLB4C

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Last Words

October 18, 2012

A best selling writer of fiction will often strive to end a narrative with some memorable sentences in an attempt to entice the reader to come back to his or her work for more.  But the ending of a novel very often does not stick in the readers’ mind.  They might reflect that the story turned out well or there was a sad conclusion.  However, it is not unusual for a story to be inconclusive and in that way it may reflect life itself.

I know one reader who likes to read the last page of a book before buying it.  But like many people I hate it if the ending is given away.  Fortunately it is often impossible to understand the full significance of last sentences.  Some examples can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8181000/8181968.stm

I was planning to cite some examples from the published works of Peatmore Press but for the reasons given above thought it may be counter productive to give too much away.

Perhaps the best way to understand whether the last words of a narrative should have any bearing on a story is to look at the final utterances of real people.  Often they are banal and even humorous but it is questionable if they truly reflect a person’s life.  To find examples click on http://listverse.com/2007/08/22/20-famous-last-words

No one novel can give everyone a satisfying reading experience so finally to fully understand the frustration that can result from a story not having a proper ending click on the link below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5WIBZBSbAQ


Peatmore Press Marketing

October 5, 2012

To celebrate launch of 2 new social networking sites at http://tinyurl.com/9zr7zf7 & http://tinyurl.com/8s53xcd Peatmore Press offers free ebook at http://peatmore.com


Rebirth of the Short Story

August 22, 2011

Once the short story was all but dead; mainstream publishers were reluctant to publish them with the excuse that they did not sell.  However, the arrival of the ebook has changed all that.  Authors may now self publish in a variety of digital formats which can be made readily available through online stores or the writers’ own websites.

A number of portable electronic platforms such as the laptop, notebook, tablet, smart phone and kindle are now available so readers can download text while on the move.  Short stories are ideal for this purpose as they can be dipped into while on a train, at a station, airport or during breaks in the working day.  Text to sound features make it possible to become engaged behind the wheel of a car and also enable written stories to be more accessible to the visually impaired.

The short story allows the reader and writer to explore single themes in a condensed style which can focus the interest of the busy traveller in a way that novels with their intertwining plots and subplots can not do.  In this way the reader and writer are able to enjoy the craft of story telling in much the same way as it was when first formed in the oral tradition when tales were passed from parent to child or to one and other by the evening firelight.

Peatmore Press has published its first anthology of short stories.  It is available on the Amazon Kindle Store or at http://peatmore.com/crimeandpassion.htm.  The short story has returned and is back in a big way.