About the book
The charred remains of a child are discovered – a child no one seems to have missed….
It’s high summer, and the lakes are in the midst of an unrelenting heatwave. Uncontrollable fell fires are breaking out across the moors faster than they can be extinguished. When firefighters uncover the body of a dead child at the heart of the latest blaze, Detective Chief Inspector Jude Satterthwaite’s arson investigation turns to one of murder.
Jude was born and bred in the Lake District. He knows everyone…and everyone knows him. Except his intriguing new Detective Sergeant, Ashleigh O’Halloran, who is running from a dangerous past and has secrets of her own to hide…
Temperatures – and tension – in the village are rising, and with the body count rising Jude and his team race against the clock to catch the killer before it’s too late….
The first in the gripping, Lake District set, DCI Jude Satterthwaite series.
Today’s teaser extract:
‘Let’s not go through this crap again. I’m an adult, now.’ Mikey dropped down from the wall and turned his back, striding down the rutted path.
Jude followed him, with a sigh at the expected response. He’d try again, and be rebuffed, because Mikey, who hadn’t spoken to their father in the best part of a decade and had gone spectacularly off the rails in the absence of sufficient parental guidance, knew as well as he did that the responsibility for his misjudgements now devolved almost entirely to his older brother.
When David Satterthwaite had walked out of the door on his sick wife and younger son leaving Jude to pick up the pieces, he probably hadn’t realised the damage he’d eventually do. There had always been a chance that someone as rebellious as Mikey would have run with the wrong crowd – God knew, you saw it often enough in the most stable of families – but if their father had tried to maintain some kind of contact, it could have tipped the balance. An independent adult when his father left, Jude struggled to maintain the most fragile of father-son relationships, let alone a civil one, so Mikey had no chance. Abandoned before he became a teenager, he had become imbued too early with an old warrior’s entrenched refusal to forgive.
Understanding this, Jude trod carefully. He needed to treat his younger brother with kid gloves, absorb his resentment, make it clear that there was somebody ready to listen to him if he ever needed help. And he would need help, because his rebellion wasn’t over and Jude, a policeman, had seen the consequences of that kind of desertion far too often to think the way ahead would be easy. I want to help you, he sighed internally, but the world and his wife would know that there was nothing anyone could do for a young man so convinced he didn’t need help.
Where the path broadened, Mikey paused to allow Jude to catch up, stopping to look towards the downward slope where the route snaked away from them. They took the next hundred yards side by side in silence, until the offer of help and its summary rejection were forgotten, left behind on the fell top. ‘See those fires. Man, Jude, but there are some idiots around. That’s a new one, isn’t it?’
‘Looks like it.’ The fire that seared a bright line down through the heather and the tinder dry bracken caught Jude’s attention again, because it hadn’t been burning when they’d started to climb. Whatever had caused it, it hadn’t taken long to get a hold and fires that gripped so strongly and so swiftly were rarely works of nature.
‘Someone setting them deliberately?’
‘Some of them.’ Jude frowned at the building clouds, a suitable backdrop to layer on layer of smoke. Later it would thunder, but the brief deluge wouldn’t be enough to smother the grass fires that plagued the Lake District, or prevent any more from starting. He couldn’t remember a summer like it, with blaze upon blaze flaring up as soon as others were beaten down. Some of the perpetrators, whether careless or malicious, were already in the sights of the authorities. ‘The fire investigators reckon the big one down in Borrowdale last week was started by lightning. Some of them are carelessness. Maybe one or two are deliberate. We’ve got some ideas, but I don’t imagine we’ll ever catch anyone for them.’
‘Oh, hey. That’s disappointing. I thought you caught all the bad guys.’ Mikey, too, sniffed the air and coughed. ‘Brainless halfwits, though. Not even I ever did anything as stupid as that.’
Jude smiled. So he was forgiven, even if his intervention had been unwelcome. ‘I’m only looking out for you.’
An uncomfortable pause. ‘Yeah. I know. But you don’t need any more grief on my account.’ Mikey took off again, pausing to look back over his shoulder only when the danger of any more awkward conversation had passed. ‘Step on it, old man. I’d like to get to the pub before it burns down.’
About the author
Jo Allen was born in Wolverhampton and is a graduate of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the Open University. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read – crime. Now living in Edinburgh, she spends as much time as possible in the English Lakes. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats.