Book Jacket

 

rank 285
word count 92971
date submitted 30.03.2010
date updated 18.02.2014
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Popular Culture,...
classification: moderate
complete

24 Hours From Tulse Hill

Fran Hiatt

Can a Scotland Yard detective recover from a bullet-shattered hip, damaged reputation, broken heart and his mid-life crisis? Does Bournemouth hold the answer?

 

Rob Trent is frightened, insecure, intolerant, vulnerable and a bit of a drama queen; just normal then for a bloke pushing forty.

Parting from his soul mate Sarah makes life unbearable for Trent, as well as for the people who have to work with him in New Scotland Yard's Bloc-Busters squad. Self-pity leads to neglect of himself and his work, and he is shot during a warehouse raid .

Convalescing in his seaside home town of Bournemouth, he tries to rid himself of his demons as well as his crutches. The local CID boss thinks Trent's salvation will come through helping his own depleted squad.

Soon Trent is leading the investigation into the killing of a musician in an ABBA tribute band. Three women are also murdered and a fourth missing, sparking fears of a serial killer at large.

A corrupt detective inspector convinced that Trent is agent provocateur plans his escape with his ill-gotten gains, but his long-suffering wife discovers the cash and runs off.

Trent's multi-tasking malaise isn't helped by a middle-aged detective constable trying to re-invent himself, and a policewoman who thinks he's Mr Right.

 
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abba, acton, beach, bournemouth, chain ferry, christchurch, corfe castle, corruption, detective, dorset, ducati 916, fiat 500, glamour model, good cha...

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Prologue

    The fallen tree had disrupted the whole neighbourhood on that morning after the storm. The few men not already at work had tried in vain to ease its trunk over to the side; they just needed enough of a gap to get a car through. Despite the weather people still had to get into work, mothers had to drive their kids to school and Trent had to go to college for an important exam. There was no way he was going to walk the seven miles through the drifting snow, but the tree was seemingly immovable and the small cul-de-sac remained blocked.

    'What about Phelan’s pick-up truck?'  Trent suggested. 'It's got a winch on the front and we could just drag the thing out of the way.'

    The others looked at him, then down at the tree. Almost in unison they turned their heads in the direction of Phelan’s 1960s bungalow with its crumbling stucco, paint-peeled woodwork and shut-tight shutters making it look like an abandoned shack. The only sign of habitation was the brand new bright red Toyota pick-up truck standing proudly on the frozen driveway, wearing a fresh cloak of iced snowfall.

    'I don't think he'd appreciate us disturbing him this early,’ said Mr Stevenson, the American ex-airman who managed Drakes shoe store in town. ‘He came home pretty wasted last night. I heard him a- hollerin’ and that started my dog a-howlin’ like a lone wolf.’

    ‘You can say that again,’ said Gillan. ‘He woke Mrs Gillan up and so she woke me up to complain about it, and I didn’t get back to sleep until after four.’

‘Maybe we could draw lots,’ said Andy Warren. ‘You know, to see who’ll wake him up.’

‘I don’t know if we should wake him at all.’ said Stevenson in his southern American drawl. ‘I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him unnecessarily. Iffin’ y’all know what I’m tryin’ to say here.’

    Everyone knew what he was trying to say here, and there was an uncomfortable silence as if each man was calculating the odds of drawing the short straw.

‘I’ll go,’ said Trent, throwing down his shovel.

Stevenson placed his gloved hand gently on the young man’s forearm.

'Are you sure, kid?'  Stevenson said, with a genuine look of concern. 'I mean, I’m fifty six but you're just a teenager with your whole life ahead of you.'

‘He’s just a man with a hangover,’ replied Trent. ‘How bad can that be?’

They stared after the young man as he hurried across the road to Phelan’s place. He stopped by the driver’s door of the Toyota, scraping some of the frost from the side window to peer inside.

‘It’s a shame he didn’t leave the keys in the ignition,’ Trent said loudly, almost shouting over to the men. ‘We could have borrowed it for ten minutes and he would’ve been none the wiser.

‘Why not holler a bit louder, Rob,’ said Warren, in a hoarse-sounding whisper. ‘I don’t think they quite heard you over on the far side of town.’

  The triple-glazed front door of Phelan’s place was coated in powdered snow, and the opaque glass resembled patterned ice frozen in a moment. Trent moved away from the concrete step and trod carefully along the icy path running down the side of the property towards the small rear garden. The red paint-flaked kitchen door was a few inches ajar, jutting inwards and seemingly wedged open. It needed a hefty push before it would open any further, and its warped wooden frame juddered as it rubbed against the outside step.

  Trent stepped inside the house as quietly as possible, listening for any sign of its disagreeable tenant. He knew it was too early in the day for Phelan to be awake, way too early. He’d rarely seen him up and about before noon; usually getting into his truck before dashing off somewhere at break-neck speed.

The kitchen looked sparse and almost devoid of white-goods gadgetry and home comforts, but it seemed clean enough. A 1970s yellow Formica-topped pine table stood in the centre of the chessboard-patterned tiled floor, with four matching chairs neatly tucked-under like polite dinner guests. The American-style larder fridge looked even older, standing tall and wide and looking like someone had whitewashed a jukebox. Its long chunky chromed grab-handle tempted people to take a peek inside, and Trent pulled at it to reveal wire shelf after wire shelf of empty space. The moulded baby-blue plastic door pocket held a carton of milk and a bottle of fresh orange juice and below an opened pack of whole herring stared up at him from a broken salad drawer.

  Trent pushed the door shut with a muffled thud, and moved cautiously into the hall, his eyes darting everywhere hoping to spot the Toyota’s keys hanging from a hook, or nestling in something used to dump things in. He put his head round the half-open door leading to the next room, which was illuminated by the gloom of the new day and smelled of stale beer, Indian takeaways and yesterday's socks. Trent caught the unmistakable whiff of a freshly lit cigarette and stopped dead as a grey-blue haze rose slowly towards the low ceiling from the antimacassar on an old-fashioned armchair, facing the window.

'She's in the bedroom,' a gruff invisible voice stated matter-of-factly.

'Who is?'  

'The girl, who d’you think?' 

The figure belonging to the voice rose from the chair slowly, expelling a hard plume of cigarette smoke as he turned to face Trent. A double barrelled shotgun was cradled his arms like a sleeping infant.

'Don't worry, I'm not about to blast a cop to death for the sake of it,’ the figure assured him. ‘Especially not one who looks like he's just left school.'

Trent was just about to correct the man on this clear case of mistaken identity, when a strong natural leaning towards self-preservation kicked-in.

'What girl?'

'I gave into temptation, always been my trouble,' said the man softly, before sucking on the cigarette as if his life depended on it. 'The bitch was giving me all the chat and signalling like a set of traffic lights, so I brought her back here.'

'In your truck?'

'We were hardly going to walk here through that blizzard.'

'Who is she?'

'Clara Frayne of course.'

The fifteen year old had been reported missing two days before following a row with her parents. According to TV news reports she'd been sighted in London, Brighton and even Benidorm but none had been confirmed. Police had been concentrating the search a little closer to home with both parents hauled in for questioning, along with her twenty year-old step-brother.

'So why d’you need the shotgun, Mr Phelan?'

'I was thinking of using it on myself,' he said with a wistful half-smile. I’ve been thinking about nothing else since I found her dead, but it’s not easy.'

'What would be the point?' said Trent, feeling unusually bold. ‘Why not just put it down, you’re making me nervous.’

‘I think I’ll keep hold of it for the time being.’

‘Well at least point the thing down at the floor.’

‘Okay, but don’t try anything clever, these things have a habit of going-off.’

‘If the police know you’re armed, Phelan,’ warned Trent. ‘They might decide to bring in marksmen.

‘Not with a hostage in tow, especially not one of their own.’

Trent stared at Phelan blankly for a moment or two, wondering why the man was so convinced that he was a police officer.  He thought about pointing out to him that he was just a humble student, but as the gunman tightened his grip on the weapon the young man decided to keep his mouth shut.

'Is it okay if I see the girl?'

‘In the spare bedroom down the hall,’ said Phelan, sounding almost cheerful. ‘But don’t get any ideas about running off, I’ll be right behind you.'

A nude Clara Frayne lay on her back upon the bare blue-pinstriped mattress on a tatty-looking double divan. Trent’s legs trembled and his forehead burned hot as he looked down at the lifeless form. He wanted to do was to rush from the room and out of the house, but a glance over his shoulder confirmed that Phelan was true to his word. Standing in the doorway with the shotgun wavering in his grasp, he shook his head and sobbed

‘They can’t blame me for thinking she was old enough,’ he said, almost choking on a smoke-filled whisper. ‘I mean, look at her. How old would you say she was?’

‘If you knew it was Clara then you must have known her age.’

‘Yes, but I didn’t know it was her, did I?’ Phelan protested. ‘Not until half an hour ago when I put the TV news on for the weather forecast and her picture came up.’

Trent knelt beside the bed and felt the girl's wrist for a pulse, but there was no sign of life. Her skin felt waxen and chilled and the merest touch made him feel nauseous. 

Remembering similar scenes from a hundred Hollywood films, Trent pressed his fingertips against her neck but felt nothing. He rose to his feet and leaned right over the bed, placing his left ear gently to her chest.

‘She’s very cold,’ said Trent.

'What d’you expect, she's fucking dead,’ said Phelan angrily through his tears. ‘Don’t ask me how because I just don’t know, but she is and ……..’

Trent gestured with an outstretched hand for silence.

'No she isn't, be quiet, ' he said excitedly. 'How much did she have to drink?'

‘I don’t know, but she’d been putting it away way before I got there,’ Phelan mumbled in reply. ‘I had to pull-over a few times on the way home so she could throw-up.'

Trent grabbed the bedside phone and started to dial.

‘Put that down,’ said Phelan, jabbing the shotgun towards him almost as if it had a bayonet attached.

‘Take it easy,’ said Trent, replacing the receiver gently and fanning both hands to try and calm the man down. ‘I just wanted to call an ambulance, but the line’s dead.’

‘It must have been the storm,’ said Phelan. ‘But an ambulance would never make it all the way out here anyway, the B-roads are nigh on impassable.’ 

‘I suppose not, but I bet your Toyota would so where are the keys?'

Two minutes later Phelan emerged from the front door of the bungalow and climbed in behind the wheel of the pick-up truck. He pulled the vehicle off the drive and manoeuvred it over to the fallen tree before clambering out and squatting by the front bumper.  The other men stood around in silence and watched as Phelan deftly encircled the trunk with the winch cable, before starting the motor. Within minutes, the tree had been dragged almost effortlessly across a fresh fall of snow to the side of the road.

'The kid really wasn't scared of Phelan,' said Stevenson, leaning on his shovel. ‘If it wasn’t so damned cold I’d take my hat off to him.'

'Well come on everybody,’ ordered Gillan. ‘Let's get out of here before he changes his mind and drags the thing back.'

The neighbourhood onlookers dispersed, and after disconnecting the cable Phelan reversed the Toyota back up the drive almost to his front door. Disappearing inside the building he re-emerged moments later with Trent, carrying the girl between them. She was wrapped in every sheet and blanket the young man could find, and together they placed her carefully in the open flatbed load area of the pick-up.

As Phelan bumped the vehicle along rutted snow-covered country lanes towards Bristol, Trent sat alongside the girl in the back. He patted the stock of the shotgun, now concealed in a bed sheet beside them.

 

  The two uniformed police officers led the hand-cuffed Phelan away from the hospital entrance to a waiting car. He glanced back at Trent and nodded curtly, and the young man smiled at him reassuringly before turning to face the detective inspector. The policeman handed Trent a vending machine cup of coffee before lighting a cigarette.

‘I’m sorry, but my budget wouldn’t run to champagne, Mr Trent,’ said the inspector, exhaling into the mid-morning sky. ‘You deserve a case of the stuff after bringing in both the girl and her abductor.’

‘I don’t think Phelan meant to abduct her, inspector,’ Trent replied, warming his hands gratefully on the hot cup.

‘You don’t?’ said the policeman, his smile vanishing in an instant.  ‘And what gives you that idea?’

‘He’s just a lonely bloke who went out for a drink and some drunken young woman came on to him, big time.’

Trent had just introduced an unpleasant shade of grey into the policeman’s straightforward world of black and white, and he didn’t seem to like it one bit.

‘Fifteen is hardly a young woman.’

‘No, but she looks older.’

The detective shook his head with a knowing smile.

‘If I had a quid for every time I’d heard…’

‘She looks eighteen or nineteen at least,’ Trent interrupted.

‘Well, thankfully that’s not for us to debate,’ replied the detective dismissively. ‘But at least the poor girl survived her ordeal, thanks to you.'

'I didn’t do a thing.'

‘Come now, Mr Trent, you saved her life.’

‘Not really, I was only interested in saving mine.’

‘I don’t quite follow.’

‘I thought she was dead.’

‘What?’

‘My best chance of getting out of that house alive was to convince Phelan that she wasn’t.'

'Taking a bit of a risk, weren't you?'

'Staring down the wrong end of a shotgun was a bigger one.'

'I suppose so, but how did you manage it?

‘We had a lecture at college recently about drug and alcohol abuse,’ said Trent, sipping at his coffee and wincing at the taste. ‘So armed with the most basic of knowledge, I was able to convince Phelan that Clara was showing all the classic signs of alcohol poisoning.’

Good for you.’

‘Then when he realised he may not be facing a murder or a manslaughter charge after all, well, he couldn't have been more helpful.'

‘I don’t suppose you’ve ever thought about a career in the police have you, son?'

'Not really,’ replied Trent. ‘I’m studying to hopefully practice law, inspector, not enforce it.’

'You could do worse.'

‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but I could do a lot better as well.'

 

Chapters

1

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Billie Storm wrote 210 days ago

A title, Robert Rankin would be proud of. Tripped through this with ease: funny, fast and enjoyable. Good sense of satire, I liked the ironic generational refs, doc martins and charity shop suits. Sometimes the names mangled a bit, and I forgot who was talking to whom, but maybe down to my concentration. Been up here for some time, hope you get ahead soon. Starred and all the rest.

MC Storm wrote 374 days ago

I read through the first chapter. Well I must say there is certainly plenty of action throughout. The dialogue amongst the three cops is great. You get a sense of who they are. The sarge, the newbie. I really thought something was going to happen to him when two pairs of powerful arms seized Trent from behind! The next sentence i caught a small typo:
Wrenching him away , he was forced him to relinquish his hold....guess either they forced him or he was forced to relinquish...
Overall, well writen and a great start I've given this high stars.
MC Exposed

Seringapatam wrote 378 days ago

Fran, This is my kind of book and I like what Trent is all about. I like the challenges you have in store for him and how he deals with them. that in itself tells me how much work you have done before you started writing and then again once you started this magnificent book. I just love how well it is written and I feel you had me hooked at such an early stage. So so well done and I wish you all the luck in the world.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you?? Many thanks. Sean

franhiatt wrote 696 days ago

I felt immediately that I was an onlooker, transposed from my place of comfort to the dark, dank and threatening warehouse confrontation. An action packed start that promises well for the chapetrs that follow and instantly hook the reader.
The only achilles heel - the variable quality of the much used similies. Some brilliant, others (e.g. 'Trent's heart was pounding like a heavy metal drum solo') struggling in my view to earn their place in the otherwise excellent and authentic sounding dialogue and fast moving chronicle of events.
Tony C - about to submit 'Happenstance'



Thanks for the terrific comment, and I've now removed 'heavy metal drum solo' . Thanks.

Tony C wrote 704 days ago

I felt immediately that I was an onlooker, transposed from my place of comfort to the dark, dank and threatening warehouse confrontation. An action packed start that promises well for the chapetrs that follow and instantly hook the reader.
The only achilles heel - the variable quality of the much used similies. Some brilliant, others (e.g. 'Trent's heart was pounding like a heavy metal drum solo') struggling in my view to earn their place in the otherwise excellent and authentic sounding dialogue and fast moving chronicle of events.
Tony C - about to submit 'Happenstance'

franhiatt wrote 719 days ago

Fran,
Brilliant writing.
Found two little grammar errors or typos.
Great work though, clean smooth copy and compelling words..
Good luck on your writing,
Janet
The Milche Bride
Clarissa's Kitchen



Chapter 1 now corrected, thanks. I'm constantly editing all my stuff on here, but I still miss a few things.

fledglingowl wrote 720 days ago

Fran,
Brilliant writing. Only read the first chapter but goodness, what a sympathetic and heroic character you've got in Trent. Just read Adeel's book on Not for Sale, then open this and we're back trafficking humans. Small world, but just a wonderful beginning, totally hooked. Like the medic and the dog bit, like all of this. The superhuman restraint we require of our protectors against the vilest and meanest of human beings. Give me Dirty Harry any day. Poor Trent , his wife left him, the big goofus is hurt and alone.
You just punched all my buttons and I can't wait to read more.
High stars for now, will keep you on my watchlist until I've read more. But it is great.
Found two little grammar errors or typos. First is in the sentence -- most gang members has slipped into the U.K. -- change has to have or had
Second, He just wanted to alone, locked away. - to be alone.
Great work though, clean smooth copy and compelling words..
Good luck on your writing,
Janet
The Milche Bride
Clarissa's Kitchen

Shelby Z. wrote 731 days ago

Thrilling opener here. I enjoy the way it gets right into exciting elements. The thrill is heavy and drawing to the reader's interest.
I would say to add something about the accent the man has int eh beginning. Give a hint describe it.
The opener flows very very well. I like the action of what is happening.
Not too excited about the swear words, but otherwise, I really enjoyed the action of it.
Super work!

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

P.S. When you have time, Please take a looked at my pirate adventure. :)

Kim Padgett-Clarke wrote 743 days ago

This is a real mixture of comedy and despair. Trent reminded me of a mixture of cops from TV series. The main one I thought of when he was laying into the perpetrator was Jean Hunt from Life On Mars. Trent obviously has major issues which I am sure will become clear later on. Well written and entertaining. I will read on because I am intrigued to find out what happens to the Abba tribute musician (sounds like something that would happen in Blackpool)

Kim (Pain)

SouthernBrat wrote 778 days ago

Excellent, and to think I was heading to bed. Love the way it flows, very easy to get hooked. Thanks for sharing.

RoyEarle93 wrote 826 days ago

I was really impressed by your first chapter, it is written very well and fast paced, and is loaded with tension. You build your characters very well too.

Roy Earle, "Bad Men and Bad Odds"

Good Luck!

Bobby's Girl wrote 827 days ago

Genuine tension and loads of humour as well. A great combination! Rated and backed.

Crispy wrote 830 days ago

Hi Fran,

I just started to read your book having been pulled in by the "play on words" title. This is brilliant. Fast paced and dramatic. The characterisation is spot on and I loved the fact his stubble was "more derelict than designer". I will be reading on and may comment further.

Perhaps you would do me the honour of glancing at Marking Time; a satire on the English education system, with an otter.

Good luck
Crispy

Rover Rabbit wrote 857 days ago

Hi, I have just read the first chapter which I think is impressive. I think that you have an eye for injustice and use it to good effect as a balance to Trent's gung-ho attitude towards the criminals. I wish the police were really so capable and brave....I will continue reading and I'm not going to comment on your composition. To me it runs very well... I hope the rest continues in the same vein.
Barry (Between Caligula's Toes)

sully wrote 858 days ago

I've just stuck five stars on your bonce - keep that editing going,
Good luck, Sully.

franhiatt wrote 860 days ago

Amongst the many do's and don'ts in the book, he emphasises the need to edit,edit and edit again. To pare it down to the bare bones.
Good luck Sully x



Excellent advice. Editing is quite a chore but a necessary one.Although writers hate cutting out what they think are good words that the story needs, losing the dross improves the reading experience. Thanks

sully wrote 862 days ago

Hi Fran. The story is beginning to build nicely in the second chapter, but I still think you should be more ruthless with your editing. You should read Stephen King's book 'On Writing'. Amongst the many do's and don'ts in the book, he emphasises the need to edit,edit and edit again. To pare it down to the bare bones.
However successful an author is, the first draft will never be the one that we see in the book shop. It may take a dozen or so drafts before the publisher is happy with the end product. For instance, near the beginning of chap 2: 'Fast approaching forty.... in a crowded coffee shop'. The sentence is not concise and lacks impact. Perhaps: ' He was fast approaching forty and not one for holding down long term relationships. But he had been smitten by the attractive young lady who'd shared his table in a crowded coffee shop.' By separating the sentence the two pieces of information have a slightly more dramatic effect.
And the next para: 'After an hour of conversation in the cafe.....see her again'. The sentence makes sense but doesn't flow too well. Maybe: 'They had enjoyed an hour of conversation in the coffee shop. When they parted Trent was too unsure of himself to ask to see her again'.
One more example of less is more: 'Westbrook sank his bulk into Trent's father's old winged-backed leather armchair...' It's a visual mouthful. and unless Trent's father is an integral part of the story it just gets in the way. 'Westbrook sank his bulk into an old wing-backed armchair and sipped his cup of tea'. It's cleaner, sharper and to the point. If it is not essential to the story-telling, get rid of it. Too much unnecessary waffle can come across as trying to pad out the story just to up the wordcount.
I hope you're not offended by my remarks Fran. We all do it - try too hard to impress and just end up muddying the water.
If you get to read my novel feel free to rip me apart. Good luck Sully x

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 873 days ago

Dear Fran

This book is as good, if not better than its sequel, which I read first. That's me, always getting things the wrong way round. This book has all the ingredients of best writing, including realism in spades, clear plot, believable lovely, ambiguous characters and accurate, great writing. A really enviable basket of skills. Oh, and you are reliably consistent too, which is a great bonus.

I love the witty chapter headings.

All the best

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped" :-)

franhiatt wrote 881 days ago

Impressive first chapter - sharp writing, tense and fast moving. Plenty of humour but be careful. I wouldn't try to put quite as much humour in the story, as it can detract from the seriousness of the situation in which Trent finds himself.
Also, I think some of your sentences are too long and therefore lose some of their impact. Hope you don't mind me giving you two examples: The sentence (near the beginning) that starts - 'They were observing a group of young men....' It would be much easier on the eye and pack more punch if there was a full stop after 'container' and then: It was parked in the internal loading bay inside the front of the warehouse. The austere vessel sat behind two locked, roller shutter doors.'
The second is in the next paragraph: I think a full stop after 'They were known as The Bloc-Busters' ( a great name by the way) would highlight your clever title; otherwise it gets lost in a sentence that's longer than my garden.
Then a full stop after 'Europe', then, 'These villains plied....'
It is a vital tip that was passed on to me by a harsh literary critic - hope your not offended. Sully.



Thanks, I always appreciate constructive comments and criticism, I'm here to learn. I've re-edited Chapter 1 now, which reads much better. The humour isn't comedy as such, it's just the way we are in those situations.

You may want to try the second book in the series, 'Cold Hearts and Candy Floss', but be warned Chapter 1 will make you cry.

Sheilab wrote 881 days ago

What's not to like about a book with Abba and Acton as tags? This is very pacy and very funny. I've only read the first chapter but hope to read more. On my shelf and will keep in my list to read on when I get a chance.
Sheila

sully wrote 881 days ago

Impressive first chapter - sharp writing, tense and fast moving. Plenty of humour but be careful. I wouldn't try to put quite as much humour in the story, as it can detract from the seriousness of the situation in which Trent finds himself.
Also, I think some of your sentences are too long and therefore lose some of their impact. Hope you don't mind me giving you two examples: The sentence (near the beginning) that starts - 'They were observing a group of young men....' It would be much easier on the eye and pack more punch if there was a full stop after 'container' and then: It was parked in the internal loading bay inside the front of the warehouse. The austere vessel sat behind two locked, roller shutter doors.'
The second is in the next paragraph: I think a full stop after 'They were known as The Bloc-Busters' ( a great name by the way) would highlight your clever title; otherwise it gets lost in a sentence that's longer than my garden.
Then a full stop after 'Europe', then, 'These villains plied....'
It is a vital tip that was passed on to me by a harsh literary critic - hope your not offended. Sully.

sully wrote 881 days ago

Hi Fran. Just arrived on the site a few weeks ago. I like the sound of 24 hours it was a well worn joke when I was in the money market so you have my attention. Will get my nose stuck into it today. Would appreciate it if you would check out my novel Reasonabl Force. I also write poetry and perform stand-up musical comedy - writing songs about members of my audience. Up to this point my nose remains unbroken. If you have yesterday's Daily Mail my poem about Dawn French featured on page 48. Good luck, we need it in this industry. Cheers, Sully.

Jed Oliver wrote 893 days ago

Nicely Written! You do a good job of building sympathy for your PC, as well as developing his personality. From the first chapter, you had me wishing him well. I read four chapters, and can see the story developing nicely. Very best of luck with this. Starred and backed. Best Regards, Jed Oliver (French Roast and Lingerie)

Charles Bunton wrote 897 days ago

Very readable even if the 'Sarge', the setting and the villains are a bit BBC!
Best wishes
Stewart

Lynne wrote 901 days ago

I see you are still editing and so I won't nit-pick over your punctuation. I found this highly entertaining and hope to read more later. Backed with pleasure. Lynne, Brooklyn Bridge.

franhiatt wrote 902 days ago

I don't believe you capitalize "sir".



Thanks for pointing that out, you're perfectly correct. I've changed the master copy now.

Brian Downes wrote 902 days ago

I've read chapters one and two, and you have succeeded in making me curious about what will happen with Trent, Cythia, Trent's new off-the-books assignment, the human trafficker from Eastern Europe, and Trent's old girlfriend. And that's the most important thing a writer can do.

There's some debate on this point, and the Queen's English may vary from Standard American, but I don't believe you capitalize "sir".

franhiatt wrote 902 days ago

The actual storytelling and language use really is top-notch, though I do agree with the comment below saying it could do with a good edit.



Thanks for the good advice, I've just edited Chapter 1 again and it does read a lot better. I will hack away at the other 26 chapters in due course.

whoster wrote 902 days ago

Comments on first chapter. Very skilled story telling and some lovely descriptive terms. 'Bloc-Busters' raised a smile, '...a mixture of Broken English and broken teeth,' and '...splitting both lips like burst chipolatas' are all superb. I'm not so sure about one or two of the other examples. I'd take out the 'stag party' reference in the sentence - 'He closed his eyes as his temples started to pound (rhymthmically like a stag party hangover), and prayed for the pain to stop.' I think this could help the flow of the reading, and also put more of a premium on your sparingly used other terms.

Minor typo: During the Cornish pasty mini-saga, you've missed a full stop - ...I'll make you eat two(.) Now give your....

No Man's Land (I think I'm correct in saying) should be 'nomansland.'

One sentence I'd be tempted to restructure is, "...adrenalin pumping round his system..." Perhaps - "...adrenalin pumping round his system slowed to the relative crawl of a hundred miles an hour" might work better and slightly economise it.

Very near the end of the chapter I'd be also tempted trim things up. - "If not, she'd read all about it in the papers. At the very least it should make the front page of 'The Evening Standard' and 'Metro' (obviously still in italics - which I can't use here). I don't think it's necessary to use 'London' or 'free,' and certainly not necessary to use the word 'newspapers' twice in consecutive sentences.

The actual storytelling and language use really is top-notch, though I do agree with the comment below saying it could do with a good edit. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how bloody tedious editing is, but I think you need to balance your obvious love for writing prolifically with the need for painstaking nit-picking. I gave my book a very thorough edit after a few agents told me, in so many words, it needed 'trimming and economising.' It really can make a huge difference, and the quality of your writing deserves it!

This is in the queue for a backing - quality descriptiveness and wry humour is always something I want to support. In the meantime, pleased to give it plenty of stars.

franhiatt wrote 909 days ago

This has all the right ingredients for a winner but needs a rigorous edit..



Thanks for the comments. I can write stories all day and every day but I find editing difficult. Take a look at the sequel 'Cold Hearts and Candy Floss' and see if this is better. I wrote it in three weeks and edited it today.

Hermione wrote 909 days ago

This has all the right ingredients for a winner but needs a rigorous edit. Better punctuation, including breaking up some longer sentences, would make a big difference. On my watchlist...

AMW wrote 910 days ago

Starting in media res is often mentioned as the best approach. However, in this piece, I felt the need for a line or two before the dialogue begins. Perhaps something along the lines of: Trent motioned for the detective constable to move to the right as they approached the man crouched by the corner of the warehouse.... or something similar. Immediately tells us we're dealing with police, they're approaching some sort of suspect, and the setting is a warehouse. Then maybe have the DC slap on the cuffs while Trent waves his warrant card. Oh, and how did they keep the bad guy from yelling out an alarm?

Your dialogue is very good and there are some very funny bits. You might consider removing the adverbs describing the characters' speech... "he said, defiantly", "remarked dryly" etc. Just go with a simple he said or better, the man said when referring to the criminal. Then show the defiance or the dryness either in the words or the body language.

I was bothered that Trent was so verbally threatening in this opening lines, and was relieved when he pushed the man "gently" on his back and threatened him with Cornish pastys. Remember, we don't know Trent yet, so his threatening to do physical harm initially can throw us off. I really began to like him after the Cornish pasty line.

Take a look at the paragraph beginning: As Trent moved slowly and quietly along the passage.. You've presented the same information two ways. I know you want the reader to get that Trent is tortured, but you don't have to rush that information. Feed it to us a bit at a time. His actions let us in on that as well as his thoughts.

You present a vivid scene inside the warehouse, although, I was expecting Trent to handcuff the guy. Trying to hold on to a "tall, well-built" bad guy while fishing out a warrant card is hard for me to picture... well actually, I picture the bad guy escaping! I would also expect more fight out of the bad guy. You might consider making him a smaller man? Other than that, I thought the interaction was well done and vividly presented.

One small thing for you to watch throughout is your use of "he". At times you are referring to Trent, sometimes to the criminal or the photographer, and it's not always clear. When I read "he", since I'm in Trent's POV, I think Trent before reading a word or two more and realizing you mean the other guy in the scene.

Personally, I find the reference to Trent's bad breath a turn-off. Also when referring to his eyes ("tired blue and blood shot") keep in mind description is often more powerful when it is more focused.

After Trent is shot, I doubt he'd be able to stand, let alone walk. And I'm bothered that both Trent and the dog handler were both so quick to attack suspects. Perhaps it's reality, but it still throws me a bit.

After Trent is shot, the initial part of the chapter repeats. Probably some kind of computer glitch... take a look.

You have a strong voice and this opening has a lot of energy. I'm giving it 4 stars and putting it on my watch list. Good luck.

Ann Warner - Absence of Grace

Kris Mikelson wrote 921 days ago

Punctuation is a little off but WOW you hit the nail on the head! Giving it 4 stars and putting it on my shelf to finish. Impressive. Engrossing. Extremely engaging!

The Only Toojiboo wrote 923 days ago

After reading the write-ups, especially Lj Traffords, I'm going to give it whirl...I do like black comedy.

Forgotten Treasure wrote 931 days ago

This is good. Will back without even reading chapter 2.
Ron Ron

Lj Trafford wrote 931 days ago

Gosh this is good. I really engrossing, funny, crime read. And, AND the quips are funny! In a world of movies with such lame one liners, shoe horned in because thats what you do since Bond - yours are generally good. The tone is comic yet what you write about, from the first chapter of sex slavery is hard hitting and somehow you make the jokey and the tough work. Big well done.
I also like the Bournemouth setting, which makes a nice change from big city crime novels.
Favourite line? The bit about if you can remember betamax and dexys midnight runners you have no right chatting up young barmaids.
Backed. Best thing I've read in a while.

celticwriter wrote 938 days ago

Hi Fran, you grabbed with me with your synopsis, and didn't let go.
Nice tale!

blessings,
jim

franhiatt wrote 962 days ago

Pedantry corner - there is no such paper with the London Evening Standard



Thanks for the comments Strachan, I get the Evening Standard most days and you can see by the link that officially it calls itself the London Evening Standard, http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/, which most people know it as.There is no such newspaper as the Bournemouth Bugle, which is also mentioned, but I wouldn't want to advertise the real local rag.

strachan gordon wrote 963 days ago

I love the detail about the murder of the Abba tribute band member ,if only it had actually been the band itself say in about 1978 , when they presumably had never made a record , what an agreeable developement that would have been. I think you have caught an excellent tone which verges at times on affectionate brutality ,also you have introduced a really good idea of convalescing in Bournemouth and then getting caught in mayhem. Pedantry corner - there is no such paper with the London Evening Standard on its masthead , it is just called the Evening Standard. Sorry about that , I debated with the impulse to resist telling you , but failed . I wonder if you would have the time to look at the first chapter of my novel 'A Buccaneer' , which is about Pirates in the 17th century, with best wishes Strachan Gordon. Watchlisted.

Jesse Powell wrote 976 days ago

Lol, I like Arnie, Stand and Eric. So Trent has two steamy affairs-ish with Cynthia and Sarah. Is Sarah's tale there to showcase Trent? or does she return? I like the errogenous baiting, well done. Complecated storywriting. You know, you could even begin with Chapter 3, but I like the action-prologue then protag intro in one. You get to an editor, you could open that as an option to show flexability.

Ian Walkley wrote 978 days ago

The pitch got me in. Something kept me reading, not quite sure what. I liked some of the humour in the Trent character. As a prologue it is too long, I think. Why not make it chapter 1? Best of luck with it. Ian

CharlieChuck wrote 1023 days ago

Fran
The title attracted me, I think 24hrs from Tulse hill was a Carter USM song from back in the nineties, I may be wrong though, I usually am. I read the first chapter, you built up good pace and I was immersed in the story. Couldn't see any typos, enjoyed it.
Charlie

MarieG wrote 1035 days ago

Hi Fran. A good first chapter - lots of tension and action, well done. Added to my watch list. Marie

franhiatt wrote 1072 days ago

Hi Fran, is this a single book or is it part of a series? I was absolutely hooked right through but am now quite confused by the end and i think I will need to do some rereading to try and make sense if it.



Apologies for the confusion but the choice of ending was to leave 'unfinished business' , so that the end of the story wasn't too cosy and happy ever. It demonstrated that the main villain, Gobek, was still able to flex his muscle from behind prison walls, but fortunately for Trent he failed. It also left it open for me to write a sequel, using the same police characters, and Gobek is dealt with early on so it will be a separate story in its own right.

I hope to complete this soon, but as with most people, pressures of the day job limit my writing time and its taking longer than it should. This is a shame because I've two more completely different books in note form that I also want to complete, and I have had people interested in Measuring For Curtains as a stage play.

I should have married someone rich so I could sit in the drawing room of the country pile gazing out across manicured lawns, sipping a Bucks Fizz and tapping away novel after novel on my laptop, in-between coffee mornings, opening village fetes and arranging flowers in the church.

C.E.Wildgoose wrote 1072 days ago

Hi Fran, is this a single book or is it part of a series? I was absolutely hooked right through but am now quite confused by the end and i think I will need to do some rereading to try and make sense if it... Ce

LadyRobertson126 wrote 1079 days ago

Great start! You paint a great picture and its not all black, I love the wry humour in there. Backed with pleasure.
If you get a chance have a look at What Lies Within by Audrey Finch
TheLady

writingbear wrote 1082 days ago

Fran,
I was looking at your book again and I still like it, so I decided to back it. Please take a look at either of my two novels, DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS or MY GENTLEMAN FRIEND for you possible backing. Your help will be appreciated. Good luck and happy writing.

Dwain-Thomas

CMTStibbe wrote 1121 days ago

This is a sharp narrative with first-rate dialogue. It’s believable and extremely funny. Trent is my hero. He must wash his hands after handling a perp’s file and keep away from the dogs to safeguard his police warrant card. Great visuals – ‘his temples pounding rhythmically like a stag-party hangover.’ He’s a meticulous sort although it’s amusing to note that he has already traced (and probably stalked) Sarah all the way to Balham. And how did Trent manage to turn up at the same wedding as Sarah? This book is superb. I have rated highly and put on w/l for backing. Claire ~ Chasing Pharaohs.

J.Kinkade wrote 1126 days ago

Love the detail. Love the dialogue. Really good stuff here, Fran. Backed with pleasure.

writingbear wrote 1135 days ago

Fran,
I liked your synopsis so I decided to back you book 24HOURS FROM TULSE HILL. If you would take a look at my two novels, DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS or MY GENTLEMAN FRIEND for a possible backing it would be very much appreciated. Thank you and happy writing.

Dwain-Thomas