Happy Monday everyone! I’m kicking off this week with a fab extract from Stuart Field’s Broken Steel as part of the blog tour.
Big thanks to Emma Welton of damppebbles blog tours for having me on the blog tour.
After ten years in prison for his wife’s murder, Brian Armstrong is free.
When a freak accident with the prison transport gives him and two others an opportunity to escape, they seize it. With revenge in his heart, Brian disappears into the storm-filled city. After an ex-schoolteacher is found dead, Detective John Steel is brought in to investigate.
The circumstances are mysterious – just the way Steel likes it. His partner Samantha McCall is convinced the timing between the escape and the death of the teacher are more than coincidence. As they start to investigate, the case becomes more complex than they could have ever imagined. With time running out, can they find the killer and bring him to justice?
It was late when McCall got the call on her smartphone. She had kicked off her boots and made popcorn, ready to enjoy a movie marathon. As her cell danced around the table, she simply stared at it at first, not wanting to answer it. Its persistence became unbearable, however, and she broke down. “McCall.” Her eyes fell to the bottle of red she had just uncorked and scowled as she waited for the evitable. “You need you to come in; we got a fresh one for you,” said the nightshift desk sergeant. “Isn’t Tony on call tonight?” she asked, her gaze locked on the popcorn and wine, hoping he had made a mistake and she would be free for the night.
“Sorry McCall, he’s there as well. It was the captain who said you should and I quote, get your ass to the address now, unquote” the sergeant explained. McCall suddenly had a bad feeling. Why so many detectives? Was it that bad? She took down the address, then hung up, and scowled as she recorked the wine. Another movie night ruined. The streets were quiet, but it was still a pain to try and park near the scene. The street was narrow and made worse by the never-ending line of parked cars. McCall had to park almost a mile away, or so it felt. The night air was warm with a slight breeze that tickled her cheeks as it brushed past. She had no trouble finding the building as squad cars with their blue-and-red roof lights illuminated the surrounding buildings. Yellow police tape, the ME’s van, and the CSU four-by-four confirmed the actual building. As McCall stopped at the uniform at the main door, she showed her shield. The female officer nodded and gave her the sign-in sheet. As McCall filled out the document, the female uniform went back to watching the street for anyone trying to sneak in for a better look. Inside the building, McCall followed the precession of uniforms and stopped at the fourth floor upon sighting detectives doing the door-to-door. She headed for what she thought to be the apartment, taking note of the CSU teams getting suited up for the task ahead. As she entered the sitting room, she looked around, taking in the decor of the journalist’s apartment and stopped upon sighting a familiar face. She smiled. “Hey, Detective Bennett, you got me out of bed to work your case for you?” The detective stopped talking to a colleague and turned to her with a large grin. “Hey, McCall thought you could watch in, see how the real cops do it for a change.” The two of them embraced like long-lost buddies.
“Been too long, Sammy. Heard you got a couple of news flashes recently. Very nice.” Bennett laughed and McCall slapped him on the shoulder, grinning like a smitten schoolgirl. “OK, so you didn’t bring me down in the middle of the night to reminisce, so what’s going on?” she asked, her smile gone and replaced with a serious look. Bennett’s face became grim. “This looks like the work of your killer. Sorry, Sammy. He’s struck again,” he explained. McCall finished gloving up and nodded, and then pulled out her small camera and switched it on. “OK, Carl. Lead on,” she said with an open palm gesture. The tall blonde-haired detective flicked his head in a come-on motion, and she followed him to that long hallway she had seen when she had entered. Picture frames with news articles littered the walls. She took note and realised it was everything the journalist had done. She nodded in respect of his work, which spanned from Afghanistan to some guy crossing the world on a bike. Samantha McCall got her camera and nerves ready. For her it was the unknown that was the worst part of this procedure. Not knowing what to expect, sure, she had seen some bad things, especially with the first case she and Steel had worked together, but nothing ever prepared one for that first sight of a body. Inside, she saw the other shift’s ME; his name was Fowler, which matched his attitude to anyone with a pulse. He was a heavy man with red hair and round glasses that seemed too small for his large head. “Hi, Doc Fowler. McCall’s here,” Bennett said. The ME looked over and grunted a friendly greeting – or as friendly as he knew how. “We have an Edward Gibbs, forty-five years old. He was a journalist with the Herald,” Bennett explained. McCall walked around the chair to get a better look at the victim. The man sat in the chair with his head back, looking towards the ceiling; cable ties on his wrists and his ankles had fastened him to the chair. His eyes were open wide with a panicked stare and, like the first victim, his nose and mouth sewn shut.
“I take it you’re not going to open his mouth here?” McCall smiled. The doctor looked up and shook his head wildly. “Unfortunately, because this is your case, it goes to Dr Franks. She can find the special treat if she wants, too,” Fowler said with a grin. Relieved he wasn’t opening the corpse, as interesting as it might be, he didn’t want to find something worse than a scorpion in there. Fowler waved at the orderlies, who were waiting at the side to bag the body. McCall quickly took some snaps of the body before they carried him off down to the ME’s car that idled patiently. She finished taking pictures of the room and headed out to the sitting room. “Where you are going?” asked Bennett, following her into the other room. “I am going to let CSU do their thing, and then I’m going home, I’ll be back tomorrow when I have had some sleep,” she admitted. Bennett shook his head in disbelief. “So, you’re leaving the crime scene until tomorrow?” Bennett asked, shocked at her cowboy attitude. McCall smiled and nodded. “I don’t blame her; she has had a very bad day so far.” McCall and Bennett spun around to find Steel dressed in a black suit and sunglasses; a long black coat was draped over the backrest of the couch. She smiled at Steel’s timing. “Who the hell are you?” yelled Bennett. McCall raised an introductory hand towards Steel. “Detective Carl Bennett, meet my partner, Detective John Steel.”
As the two men shook hands, Bennett’s eyes searched Steel’s face for any sign of emotion, but the dark glasses hid everything that might give him away. “Heard a lot about you, man, and I must say your appearance is just what I expected,” Bennett laughed. Steel looked at Bennett in his high-end suit and shiny new shoes, and his frame formed courtesy of good dining and regular workouts. He cracked a smile. “Same here,” he said, his face still emotionless. His words were short but hit a nerve. Bennett released Steel’s hand, and he joked, “Only good things I hope?” As he stared into Steel’s stony face, the detective broke a smile and shrugged. “You know some good – some bad.” He lost his smile and walked towards the long corridor that led to the bathroom and office. He stood at the mouth of the long stretch and took in everything. A quiet hum from his suit pocket alerted him to an incoming text; drawing it out, he read the message, then slipped it back into his inside breast pocket. “Well, I would love to stay, but something has come up. McCall, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Steel turned his head towards Bennett and gave a small bow. “Detective Bennett, a pleasure, and I am sure we will meet again.” He turned and hurried out the door and to the street below. “So, that’s the limey everyone is talking about?” Bennett smiled and shook his head. McCall watched as Steel disappeared to do God knows what. “You mean, is that the right royal pain in my ass, then yes, that’s him,” she said with a searing look. Bennett grinned and stuck a matchstick in his mouth. “Huh, he don’t look like much to me,” he scoffed. McCall turned, a curious look on her face. “Oh, Carl, you have no idea how looks can be deceiving,” she said as she headed for the door, then stopped. “And one thing: don’t ever piss him off, because you may not live to regret it.” She left Bennett laughing at her statement. “Yeah, very funny, McCall,” Bennett shouted out after her.
Who Is Stuart Field?
Stuart Field was born in the UK, in the West Midlands. He spent his early years in the army, seeing service in all the known (and some unknown) hotspots around the world. He now lives in Germany with his wife Ani. When not engaged in highly confidential security work, he writes thrillers which perhaps mimic his life-experience more than the reader would like to believe.