Book Jacket

 

rank 281
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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Chapters

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Ice Cold in Annexe

On the cracked stone steps of the large run-down Victorian house in Richmond Park Road, DC Wyn James’s persistent hammering on the door and random pressing of the bell buttons brought a delayed response from one of the occupants. A scruffy middle-aged man with long greasy hair thinning on top, wearing soiled green tracksuit bottoms, flip-flops and a sweaty-looking blue tee-shirt stood in the open doorway staring blankly at the police officer. After introducing himself, James demanded to know the man’s identity.

‘Ivor Fenton,’ he said softly.

‘D’you live here?’ barked James.

‘I’m the landlord,’ he replied proudly.

‘You’re just the bloke I need.’

James produced a photograph of a Hayley Osbourne, and practically shoved it into Fenton’s face.

‘Hayley Osbourne, does she still live here?’

Fenton looked at the picture and smiled in recognition.

‘That’s Hayley all right, and you're the second bloke whose been round looking for her. Some old military geezer was here not long ago.'

'Yes, I know about him, Mr Fenton.'

‘Hayley rents the ground-floor annexe round the back,’ he explained. ‘When this place was still operating as a hotel, the owners built a little self-contained chalet in the back garden to live in. So after I bought the place I decided let it out. Every little helps as they say.’

‘Can you show me?’ James replied. ‘And you'd better bring your spare keys with you.’

Fenton looked at James and stroked the grey stubble on his chin.

‘She’s not in any trouble is she?’ he said softly. ‘I mean, she’s not on the game or anything like that?’

‘What makes you say that?’

‘You never know these days,’ he replied with a shrug of the shoulders. ‘Hayley’s quite a piece, and she doesn’t always close her curtains either. When I’ve been tidying up the garden I’ve seen her a few through the windows with barely a stitch on.’

‘Tidying the garden, eh,’ said James with a sneer. ‘What with, a pair of binoculars?’

‘’Ere, what are you suggesting?’ he said, looking hurt.

‘Judging from the state of it you’re not exactly Alan Titchmarsh are you?’

‘Bloody cheek,’ Fenton replied gruffly. ‘It’s not my fault if she chooses to walk around in the nuddie in full view. What would you do, close your eyes I suppose?’

‘Just get those keys and be quick about it,’ said James impatiently.

Fenton turned away and shuffled over to a metal key cabinet mounted on the wall in the hallway. He retrieved a small bunch of keys from his pocket and fumbled with them until he’d found the correct one for the lock. He retrieved his master keys from the cabinet, and James followed him out of the house across the off road parking spaces towards the overgrown rear garden of the property.

‘When was the last time you saw Hayley, Mr Fenton?’ asked James. ‘To talk to I mean, not gawping at her tits.’

‘We don’t see each other much because works shifts,’ he said. ‘But about three weeks ago she was outside tinkering with her bicycle, so I put a drop of 3-in-1 on the chain for her.’

‘But you haven’t seen her since.’

‘Not at all.’

‘What about collecting her rent?’

‘She pays by Direct Debit straight into my business account, so I don’t need to collect cash from her or any of the tenants. She pays her own utility bills too, and she’s well tucked away in there.’

Fenton led James into a small paved area and to the front door of the annexe. He rang the bell several times before hammering with the door knocker.

‘Does Hayley own a car, Mr Fenton?’ James asked, reaching for his handkerchief.

‘No, just the bicycle which she keeps inside; it wouldn’t last five minutes with the thieving bastards we’ve got in Charminster.’

James tried hammering the door with his fist before crouching down to look through the letterbox.

‘The old fellow who came round said he was her boss and she hadn't been into work,’ said Fenton. ‘So are you going to tell me what this is all about?’

‘No,’ James snapped. ‘Can you unlock this door?’

‘Is this legal, constable?’ he asked. ‘I don’t want to get into any trouble.’

Fenton found the correct key and James snatched it from him and inserted it into the Yale lock. He gently pushed open the door before removing the key, and put his arm across the open doorframe to stop Fenton from entering behind him.

‘Just wait here if you’d be so kind, Mr Fenton.’

James walked into a small hallway and trod on several deliveries of mail, takeaway menus and free newspapers scattered across the doormat and floor. The annexe smelled of dampness and neglect, and he wondered how people like Fenton got away with renting out such rat-holes.

He squeezed passed Hayley Osbourne’s bicycle leaning against an electric radiator, and stopped dead as he heard low voices coming from the room at the end of the passage. Pushing open the door gently, he gazed into the gloom of the open-plan living-room and kitchen area. The television was switched on and the curtains drawn tightly closed. He felt along the wall and flicked on the light-switch before walking slowly across the room towards an open door on the opposite wall. This lead into the flat’s only bedroom, which was also shrouded in darkness. 

After switching on the light James spotted a bedside lamp with a broken glass shade lying across the unmade double bed. The threadbare fitted carpet was littered with cosmetics, make-up brushes, bottles of perfume and items of jewellery; almost as if they’d been swept them from the top of the 1930s dressing-table.

As James stepped carefully across the floor towards another door, the cocktail of richly-scented fragrances in the air barely disguised the putrid smell which worked its way into his nostrils. Beads of cold sweat formed on his forehead as he held his breath and covered the door knob with end of his jacket sleeve, turning it slowly. After pushing open the door a few inches he looked across at the grubby bathroom tiling and began to shake. Pulling the door shut again he slowly backed away, carefully retracing his steps through the bedroom.  He rushed through the living-room and into the hall where an anxious Fenton was waiting.

‘I told you to keep out of here,’ said James irritably. ‘Now, leave.’

‘I just want to know if she’s done a bunk,’ said Fenton, trying to peer around James’s broad shoulders. ‘If she has then I’ll need to get the place re-let as soon as possible.’

‘It’s a crime scene,’ barked the detective constable, leading Fenton outside. ‘Now piss off or I’ll do you for obstruction.’

‘Is she dead then, Hayley, is she in there, dead?’ said Fenton pushing against the policeman.

‘Do yourself a favour and disappear back into that rat hole you call home.’

‘Come on,’ shrieked Fenton, ‘I’ve a right to know, this is my property.’

‘All in good time, ‘said James, sounding a little calmer. ‘We’ll get a statement off you later, so don’t plan on going anywhere.’

‘You can’t treat me like this,’ argued Fenton. ‘I’ve been nothing but co-operative with you.’

‘You have,’ said James. ‘So keep up the good work and let me do my job.’

‘Was she in the nude?’ said Fenton, a hopeful smile spreading along his scabby lips. ‘The newspapers are bound to ask and could you tell if she’d been interfered with, you know sexually?’

‘I’ll interfere with you in a minute, Fenton,’ said James angrily. ‘Now fuck off.’

Fenton turned and hurried back towards the main house, looking over his shoulder and muttering under his breath. James retrieved his mobile phone and telephoned Bournemouth Police Headquarters.

Twenty minutes later PC Rollins pulled on to the drive in a patrol car, and a a tired-looking DS Trent struggled to out of the passenger seat. A shame-faced James shame-faced as guided him towards the annexe and out of earshot from the uniformed constable .

‘Hayley Osbourne’s dead in the bathroom I just know it, sarge,’ he said quietly. ‘I could smell, you know, that smell.’

‘So, you’ve seen this sort of thing before, we all have.’

‘I know, but she looked so beautiful and happy in the pictures her boss gave me, and I just couldn’t face seeing her dead.’

He handed Trent the two photographs from Maynard-Cripps and lit up a cigarette. Trent patted him gently on the shoulder.

‘Don’t worry your little head over it,’ said Trent, shaking his head slowly. ‘I’ll go in there and have your nightmares for you shall I?’

‘Forget it,’ snapped James, ‘I’ll go back inside myself.’

Trent grabbed James’s sleeve as he tried to walk away.

‘No, you don’t’ Trent replied sternly. ‘I want you to get a detailed statement from the landlord, I’ll check the bathroom.’

‘Thanks, sarge,’ James replied.

‘Don’t thank me yet,’ said Trent. ‘If it turns out to be a dead cat in there you’ll be having it on toast for your dinner.’

Trent put on some disposable gloves and stopped Rollins from following him inside the annexe.

‘You’d better stay out here, PC Rollins,’ he instructed the youngster. ‘No point in ruining your sleep for the next twenty years for the sake of it.’

Trent limped through the living-room and into the bedroom, his nose twitching as he caught the same mixture of smells James had described. He gently pushed open the bathroom door and reached inside and grabbed the pull cord to switch on the light.

The white-enamelled bath was half-full of sea-green water with matching colour of mould growing in the grouting of the greasy white-tiled walls. Trent peered around the open door towards the toilet and saw a crumpled figure on the worn linoleum-covered floor. Wearing a blood-stained white silk dressing gown, the body lay on its front in a stain of dried blood and had the same ash-blonde hair as Hayley Osbourne in the photographs.

As Trent moved closer he could see that the back of her head was heavily caked in the stuff, as was the edge of the white porcelain toilet bowl. Generous specks had spattered on to the adjacent tiled walls, the white painted skirting board and the pine tongue-and-groove bath panel.

He crouched down in the confined space before gently moving the matted hair away from the woman’s face with the tip of his gloved finger, crying out as her dull staring eyes met his gaze.

Outside in the fresh air, DC James was directing operations as SOCO team’s vehicle pulled-up.

‘Thanks for doing that, sarge,’ he said. ‘I really appreciate it.’

‘Good, so I’ll leave you to tell Westbrook and get everything cleared-up.’

Trent started to make his way to the patrol car, and PC Rollins rushed to open the passenger door for him.

‘If Westbrook asks where you are, what shall I tell him?’ said James.

‘The truth,’ he replied, easing himself into the car. ‘I’ll be tucked up in bed at home and if no-one disturbs me I’ll be back in the office first thing.’

 

 

Chapters

12

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Billie Storm wrote 218 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 382 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 386 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 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'



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

Tony C wrote 713 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 728 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 728 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 739 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 751 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 786 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 834 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 835 days ago

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

Crispy wrote 839 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 865 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 867 days ago

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

franhiatt wrote 869 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 871 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 882 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 890 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 890 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 890 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 890 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 902 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 906 days ago

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

Lynne wrote 910 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 910 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 910 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 910 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 911 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 917 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 917 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 919 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 929 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 931 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 939 days ago

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

Lj Trafford wrote 940 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 947 days ago

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

blessings,
jim

franhiatt wrote 971 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 972 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 984 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 986 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 1032 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 1043 days ago

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

franhiatt wrote 1080 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 1080 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 1088 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 1090 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 1129 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 1134 days ago

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

writingbear wrote 1144 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