Efiong Etuk, Ph.D. – Creativity: Revealing the Truth about Human Nature

 COVER_IMAGEPLAINHDTitle: Creativity: Revealing the Truth about Human Nature

Author: Efiong Etuk, Ph.D.

ISBN: 9781622875153 (Print), 9781622875160 (E-Book)

Page count:  428

Genre:  Non-Fiction (Psychology/Humanities)

Price:  $29.00 (Print), $4.99 (E-Book)

 

Author Bio:

Dr. Efiong Etuk is the founding director of the Global Creativity Network, http://www.globalcreativitynetwork.net, a worldwide community of concerned individuals dedicated to the idea of a world in which everyone can be effective, creative, and successful. Proponent of a “Global Creativity-Consciousness,” “The Right to Be Creative,” “The Age of Creativity,” “Mass Creativity,” and the “Global Creativity ‘Marshall Plan,’” Dr. Etuk speaks and writes extensively on strategies for nurturing and engaging everybody’s unique abilities in the Great Work of building a viable and sustainable global civilization that is worthy of our generation and an enduring legacy to future generations.

 

Tell us about your book:

Creativity: Revealing the Truth about Human Nature is a compendium and synthesis of soul-stirring wit and wisdom on:

  • What it really means to be human.
  • What your own life is truly about.
  • What gives it meaning and enduring significance.

In words that speak to everyone personally, deeply, directly, Creativity: Revealing the Truth about Human Nature brings us in touch with innermost beings – our unique capabilities, interests, values, goals, passions, and motivations – so we can use that understanding to build lives that are meaningful, genuinely successful, and personally fulfilling.

The crux of the book and primary reason for its writing is answer to those persistent life questions everyone inevitably encounters at some stage of his or her personal growth and development:

  • Who am I as a person?
  • What do I desire most in my life?
  • What brings me the greatest joy when I do it?
  • What are my special abilities, values, and interests?
  • What do I particularly like to contribute to society and the world?

Sobering, compelling, at times convicting, Creativity: Revealing the Truth about Human Nature makes a valued and treasured companion in the tortuous journey of self-discovery, personal development, and career choice!

 

Share any thoughts you’d like the readers to know about your book:

Creativity: Revealing the Truth about Human Nature uncovers the authentic understanding of human nature which is key to genuine and lasting success of every economic, social, and political action.

“Every engineer, every scientist, every farmer, and every mechanic knows that nothing will work, that no act will succeed, unless it is in harmony with … the true nature of things as they are.”

— Henry Grady Weaver

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

http://goo.gl/DMQRpB  (Print)

http://goo.gl/h4XAh1  (Print)

http://goo.gl/vW7ex1 (Kindle)

http://goo.gl/PWvFcL (Google)

http://goo.gl/HY2JhA (iTunes)

http://goo.gl/ohQP6G (Nook)

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

http://www.globalcreativitynetwork.net

https://facebook.com/GlobalCreativityNetwork

https://twitter.com/MassCreativity

 

Excerpt from book:

“If we seriously hope to resolve the chaos the world is facing and to achieve the viable and sustainable global future everybody envisions, what is needed is a social-economic-political system in which all the Earth’s seven billion inhabitants are able to develop and to engage their unique abilities in important and beneficial activities and, thus, to experience their lives as having meaning and significance. Necessarily, too, we will need to evolve goals for mankind and Planet Earth that people perceive as giving purpose and direction to their own lives and, therefore, as worthy of the commitment of their time and their creative energies. As far as I can see, there is no viable alternative.”

– Efiong Etuk

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Wayne Gerard Trotman – Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest

Kaya_Abaniah_6x9Title: Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest

Author: Wayne Gerard Trotman

ISBN or ASIN: ISBN 9780956787217 (Paperback) ISBN 9780956787231 (Hardback)

ISBN: 9781311992062 (eBook) ASIN: B00T1DFTL2 (Kindle)

Page count: 416

Genre: Young adult or teen Sci-Fi & fantasy

Price (Print and Ebook): $22.99 (Paperback) $26.99 (Hardback) $5.99 (eBook/Kindle)

 

Author Bio:

Wayne Gerard Trotman is a British writer, filmmaker, artist, photographer, blogger, composer and producer of electronic music from the two-island Caribbean Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He lives with his wife and two sons in Surrey, Greater London, near Wimbledon.

 

Wayne01Tell us about your book:

Kaya Abaniah (Kah-yuh Abba-na-yuh) is a boy’s name. Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest is a unique coming of age, science fiction, adventure story. It is presented with much of the dialogue in authentic Trinidadian Creole, and combines legends and characters from Trinidad and Tobago folklore with the themes of wildlife conservation, redemption, and forgiveness.

Kaya Abaniah believes he’s an ordinary fourteen-year-old college student. He lives with his mother on the Caribbean island of Trinidad; he’s passionate about wildlife conservation and has a crush on the prettiest girl in his class. However, one fateful day, Kaya’s life is changed forever when he encounters Papa Bois, a folklore character similar to the Greek god, Pan.

Kaya learns he has the talent. He’s a telepath, and he’s not alone. He discovers that men in black are constantly watching him, Soucouyant, the shape-shifting vampire wants his blood, and his packed lunch is never safe.

Will Kaya succeed in protecting his relatives and friends from the supernatural evils that lurk on the tropic isle? Can he reveal the shape-shifter’s secret identity? And, why on Earth is the most gorgeous girl, he’s ever known, so interested in him?

Follow Kaya’s struggles with love, rivalry, and academic life, as he confronts the terrifying creatures of Trinidad and Tobago’s folklore, and unlocks the shocking mystery of Papa Bois, the father of the forest.

 

Share any thoughts you’d like the readers to know about you and/or your book:

Were you ever young and in love? Do you like mysteries, action, and adventure? Have you ever longed to visit a tropical paradise? Do you love nature? Do you enjoy learning about different cultures? Have you ever wondered if life exists elsewhere in the universe? Do you have an open mind? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is probably for you.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Smashwords

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Psychic War Journal

Facebook

Twitter

 

Excerpt from book:

1

AGUE

On a hot, humid, moonless night, in the small Trinidadian town of Coconut Grove, Kaya Abaniah lay awake on his bed, covered in a thick woollen blanket, drenched in sweat and shivering uncontrollably. Experiencing fresh waves of feverish chills, Kaya slowly reached for the glass of water on his bedside table. And, between shaky sips, his teeth chattered loudly, and a soft groan escaped his chapped lips. He gulped the tepid water past sore swollen tonsils and shakily placed the glass back on its bedside perch.

With a sigh, Kaya adjusted his pillow. Thinking of nothing in particular, he stared at the four walls, weakly illuminated by the ambient glow of his old computer’s LED standby button. In the gloom, his Bob Marley poster, the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago calendar, and the colourful acrylic paintings of local scenery he had meticulously produced were all reduced to morose shades of grey.

Trying to make himself comfortable, Kaya turned to his left and observed his mother, Josephine. She slouched, fast asleep, in the old wooden rocking chair that once belonged to Kaya’s grandmother. For the third night in a row, Josephine had watched over her ill son until fatigue finally got the better of her. In Kaya’s eyes, the headstrong thirty-six-year-old single-mother did not look a day older than twenty-six, despite the exhaustion she endured due to her busy daily routine.

Always fiercely independent, she had been the subject of much gossip in the village of Tortuga, where Kaya was born. Josephine never told a soul the identity of Kaya’s father, and when the constant whispering and innuendo became too much of an annoyance, she left the Montserrat Hills of Tortuga with her infant son and moved in with her mother in Coconut Grove.

In this seaside town, no one dared trouble Josephine, at least not while her mother was still alive. Most people were utterly terrified of Florence Peters, the dark, imposing woman the townsfolk called Mama Flo. According to a popular local legend, Mama Flo, the proud descendant of a powerful African family, had turned an old suitor into a frog after catching him in a compromising position with her best friend. Several stories exist regarding the fate of Mama Flo’s former friend, but most inhabitants of Coconut Grove agreed that the poor woman had been turned into a blight-infected silk cotton tree.

Years later, having defiantly vowed never to trust her heart to the whims of men, Mama Flo met Ekon Arius Abaniah, a tall, dark, handsome stonemason from Barbados that everyone, except Mama Flo, called Papa Choonks. However, Josephine’s parents would never marry. Their whirlwind romance led to an engagement that abruptly ended, when Ekon was struck down, while hurrying home during an unexpected thunderstorm. The local coroner blamed ball lightning for Ekon’s death. There had been several eyewitness accounts of the bizarre natural phenomenon that fateful evening. However, privately, Mama Flo never accepted the coroner’s verdict. Long before she peacefully passed away in her sleep, Mama Flo told Josephine that Ekon had been murdered by one of the women he spurned in Coconut Grove. This particular woman, she claimed, was secretly a powerful witch. However, to Josephine’s dismay, Mama Flo stubbornly refused to reveal the woman’s identity, saying she had no proof of her guilt. In her twilight years, Mama Flo often sat in her old rocking chair, softly singing old-fashioned melancholy songs.

And sometimes, she’d look in awe at Josephine, going about her housework, and she’d whisper sadly, “Poor Ekon. Boy yuh never know ah was makin’ dis chile when de Soucouyant take yuh from meh. Buh watch yuh daughter boy, look how she grow up strong like she fadah.”

In this day and age, most people would treat the old stories of the Soucouyant, a vampiric witch that roamed the night in the guise of a fireball, as the stuff of folklore. But, Josephine knew better. Mama Flo had raised Josephine alone, and Josephine raised Kaya in a similar fashion. At the first signs of illness, Josephine had given Kaya tea made from what Mr Chen, the pharmacist, called chen pi.

At first, Kaya protested the way most normal fourteen-year-old Trinbagonian boys, in his predicament, would have. “Mammy, I ent drinking Chen pee!”

But, Josephine, the sole proprietor of Josephine’s Flower Shop, knew a thing or two about herbs, plants and Chinese medicine.

She explained to Kaya, “Chen pi is de Chinese name fuh dried orange peel. Yuh doh remember yuh granny used to give yuh orange peel tea when yuh were small?”

Of course, Kaya remembered this. He recalled Mama Flo telling his mother on more than one occasion, “Josephine, doh bother wit any ah dem fancy capsule or tablet. Give de boy orange peel tea fuh de cold an’ tuh stop de ague.”

Ague was what people of Mama Flo’s generation called fever, and that’s exactly what Kaya had now. Orange peel tea, perhaps the most pleasant of Mama Flo’s medicinal concoctions, certainly tasted a hundred times better than karaili juice. Momordica charantia, known as karaili, bitter melon or bitter gourd is without exaggeration one of the bitterest vegetables known to humanity.

Mama Flo often warned Kaya, “If you doh drink dis down, crapaud smoke yuh pipe.”

And, he knew if he did not drink the foul-smelling, bitter-tasting mixture, he’d have a painful appointment with a guava whip. Kaya thanked God his mother did not share his grandmother’s grim zeal or her unshakeable faith in the dubious medicinal properties of the green, warty-looking menace. But, since Mama Flo’s death two years ago, unwilling to take any chances with his precious taste buds, Kaya had developed the habit of ripping up and burning any of the karaili vines and fruit that occasionally sprouted in the garden. The mere memory of the evil taste of karaili made him shiver even more as he tucked himself back into the security of his thick blanket.

Because of his illness, Kaya had already missed the first three days of the college term, and it bothered him that he could not do anything to stop Artimus Corbeau from harassing Raima Khan. Artimus, a fifteen-year-old spoilt rich kid, a class prefect and bully, had the honour of being Kaya’s enemy. Kaya delighted in frequently reminding Artimus that corbeaux, pronounced cobo, was the name Trinidadians gave to the local black vulture; an incredibly ugly bird with a tendency to congregate in the vicinity of garbage dumps. Raima also came from a wealthy family, but had no airs and never uttered a rude word or a condescending remark, at least not to Kaya. For this reason, Kaya appointed himself Raima’s knight in shining armour. And, the fact that Kaya considered her to be the prettiest girl at Paria College had absolutely nothing to do with it.

 

A loud crack of thunder woke Kaya. Lying on his back, he opened his eyes to be temporarily confused by silvery-blue flashes and deep shadows dancing on the ceiling. Confusion transformed into fear when Kaya realised that he could only move his eyes. Instinctively, he looked to where he remembered his mother had fallen asleep, but no one occupied the rocking chair. Utterly exhausted from her three-night vigil at Kaya’s bedside, Josephine had retired to her room, and not even the thunderstorm could have woken her now.

Nevertheless, Kaya felt a presence in the darkness. Did a thief use the thunderstorm to mask a forced entry into the house? It would not be far-fetched for a criminal to assume that Josephine hid some of the takings from her shop at home. Kaya wanted to call out, but his mouth did not function.

He heard a deep, earthy voice say, “Go back to sleep, Hezekiah.”

Hezekiah? Nobody call meh Hezekiah.

“It is your name.”

Yeah, buh…. Who is dat?

“I am a figment of your imagination.”

Yuh t’ink ah schupid, awa?

“Not stupid. Delirious. You are experiencing a hallucination.”

So, yuh mean tuh tell me, dis is ah dream?

“Yes, Hezekiah, you are dreaming.”

How come ah dreamin’ if yuh askin’ meh tuh go back tuh sleep?

“You are in a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep.”

Is dat why yuh talkin’ funny?

“What do you mean?”

Yuh soundin’ like ah real Englishman.

“I am communicating in English, but I am not an Englishman. I am your subconscious mind.”

Ah never realise meh subconscious mind could tell lies in perfect English.

“Go back to sleep, Hezekiah.”

Kaya was about to think up another witty retort, but the shadow of a man glided towards him, and he felt overpowering fear.

“Your illness is not natural. You will be better by sunrise, but be careful what you eat or drink. There are those who would do you harm.”

Kaya noticed that the silhouetted man held something in his right hand, which looked like a baton or cane. He heard a low hum and his eyelids felt suddenly heavy; and, as the thunderstorm headed out to sea, Kaya drifted into a deep, dreamless sleep.

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A. D. Davies – His First His Second

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Title: His First His Second

Author: A. D. Davies

ISBN or ASIN: 978-1-78280-379-9 / B00O6FFWMQ

Page count: 398

Genre: Thriller / Mystery

Price (Print and Ebook): US$12.99 / $2.99 or GBP£7.99 / £1.79

 

Author Bio:

D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels, although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction.

After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing.

He is well-travelled, his favourite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam, which have influenced his writing immensely, especially obvious in his novel Reflected Innocence, due for release March 2015.

For now, however, globe-trotting is taking a back-seat toi raising his two children and writing, although he hopes to one day combine all three.

He now resides in Staffordshire, UK, with his wife and two children.

 

Tell us about your book:

His First His Second is a thriller in which an active serial killer kidnaps young women, holds them for up to a week, then murders them. Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend is the brilliant but unconventional police officer assigned to the task force due to her affinity for the criminal mind. The latest victim to be taken, however, has a father with a skill-set and mentality well-suited to hunting the killer in a more brutal way than the police. The story follows both Alicia and the father, Richard, and their growing relationship as he uses her for information, and they both grow closer as a result. It all comes together for a bloody finale.

 

Share any thoughts you’d like the readers to know about you and/or your book:

The book was originally written in 2004, rewritten in 2008, and re-rewritten in 2014. It started out life with Richard as the protagonist, but as his role grew darker, I focused more on Alicia, who quickly overtook him as the most interesting character, so Richard became a secondary antagonist of sorts.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Almost anywhere:

Amazon: http://is.gd/j7ypBL

Kobo: http://is.gd/upq1VK

Nook: http://is.gd/8tqF5N

Apple iBooks: http://is.gd/1sn5mV

It will also be on Scribd, Page Foundry and GooglePlay shortly, as well as paperback everywhere who wants it.

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

I am on a Fire and Ice virtual book tour from Nov 20th for a week: http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/thriller-book-tour-his-first-his-second-by-a-d-davies-112014-112714/

As part of this, I am running a Goodreads giveaway for a signed paperback copy which is active until Nov 27th: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/116087-his-first-his-second

And also a $20 Amazon gift card via Rafflecopter http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d202c3a199/

 

Excerpt from book:

Prologue

Katie Hague knew she was swimming. She just didn’t know why. She wasn’t a strong swimmer, even though she’d spend hours in the pool on holidays, sometimes even brave enough to dip in the sea. Always with her parents watching, though.

She’d been thirteen on her last family holiday, a self-catering deal to Turkey, not that her dad couldn’t afford somewhere more exotic. Turkey was Katie’s choice. Gobble gobble, she’d said, again and again until the day of departure; then all through the flight, her mother fighting the urge to strangle her only child, her dad smiling quietly.

Now, eight years later, Katie swam alone. Somewhere she didn’t recognise. Somewhere black.

She trod water for a moment, something she always found hard. With her feet unable to touch the bottom, or anything solid, she looked around. She was never out of her depth, not without her dad nearby, or, more recently, unless Brian was with her. And where was Brian now?

Katie remembered them arguing, then him sloping off with his mates. It had not been loud, just testy, in a late bar somewhere. She was hungry, had suggested a curry, but Brian wanted to go on, just for one more, babe, please? A taxi. That was Katie’s last thought, the last she remembered, here, now, in this pool.

Now something happened nearby, a movement she did not see because of the dark. She felt a sweeping cold, embracing her head and shoulders like an undercurrent flowing in from deeper water.

But that wasn’t quite right either.

All her body below the surface was numb, unfeeling, and now all above felt chilled. She hadn’t seen the event, that something, but she knew:

A shadow had fallen over her.

“Who’s there?” she said.

No echo. Nothing whatsoever. The dark ate her voice right up. She expected her words to reverberate around the walls of a municipal pool, or a private home in the middle of the country. No echo, no sound coming back at her. This meant there were no walls. So she was swimming outside. But even outside there were buildings, trees, rocks. She was treading water, outdoors, with nothing around, no lights, no people.

So why did she get the impression she was not absolutely alone? Other than the invisible shadow, she had no reason to think there was someone watching her, not here.

Whatever ‘here’ actually meant.

Outside? No light? No buildings? Was she in the middle of a lake?

Her breathing began to grate in her throat.

No, of course not. There would be light. There’s always light. The darkest of freezing British waters still drew moonlight and stars; even when hiding, their light still penetrates. There is no absolute dark.

Each breath now hurt. She needed her inhaler. Her throat was swelling within. She kicked her numb legs to no avail, and when she flapped her arms, no splashes whipped up. This can’t be, she told herself. Alone; swimming; out of her depth; an asthma attack.

Something wedged in her mouth, something hard, plastic. She gagged. She tried to spit it out but it was too big, lodging itself between her teeth. A hiss. Then light. A pinprick, not in front of her but inside her head. Her shoulders grew cold now, as if she were gliding upwards, out of the … lake? The sea? The pool?

That thing, still stuck in her mouth, gave another hiss.

And Katie breathed.

The object hissed a third time and the cold spread to her chest, her back, down her stomach. Her hips. The light inside her expanded, enveloping her in cold. She wanted to use her arms to wrap around herself for warmth, but found them stuck behind her. Looking down now, struggling to free herself, she saw her thighs raised, the clothes she was wearing when she’d argued with Brian still on her, strangely dry. The odour of sweat and booze and a faint whiff of cigarette smoke made her want to undress and shower, but her hands remained bound tight. She couldn’t see behind her, could not turn at all.

Then, like a spotlight growing, her vision improved: a white-tiled floor, her bare feet bound by handcuffs, stockinged legs moving up into the little skirt that barely covered her underwear. She could not see past her chest, other than to confirm her clothing remained intact. She was sitting on a hard wooden chair.

“Hello, Katie.”

A deep voice from outside the spotlight; calm, polite even.

“Please stop struggling, Katie, I don’t want to hurt you.”

From swimming in blackness to being tied to a chair. Nothing. Nothing could explain this. She tried her voice. “Who are you?”

It hurt to speak. Now her head throbbed also. Like a hangover. She was about to be sick.

A bucket came into view within the spotlight, a glimpse of a foot which kicked it closer.

“Please use this if you need to vomit. I won’t be angry if you miss. Only if you don’t try.”

The foot peeking out of the dark into Katie’s halo of light meant something. A clear fact, a truth that really should not be.

“The spotlight’s real,” Katie said aloud.

“Of course it’s real,” came the man’s voice. “What a strange thing to say.”

“Why am I here?”

“You are my second.”

“Your… what?”

“Please don’t make me repeat myself, Katie. It annoys me. You are my second. This…”

Another spotlight cracked to life. It illuminated a girl about five feet from Katie, dressed similarly to Katie, like she was going clubbing, with long dark hair like Katie’s, about Katie’s age.

And then it all fell away from her. The swimming, the light, the dark, this disembodied voice from the blackness all around. But the girl frightened Katie the most. This girl, bound to a chair, gagged, blindfolded, looking so much like Katie they might have been sisters.

“This is your new roommate,” the man said, now behind Katie, hands on her shoulders, his breath on her neck. “She is my first. You will be my second.”

And, doing her very best to aim for the bucket, Katie vomited. She was pleased that a lot of it missed.

“Hmm,” the man said. Then footsteps. An arm flashed into the light and tossed Katie’s inhaler onto her lap. The footsteps receded. “Goodnight.”

And both lights went out, leaving nothing but pitch black.

 

 Chapter One

In Murphy’s world, the darkness was peaceful. There was a beauty to the air that returned him to childhood visits to the seaside, like passing through an almost a physical barrier; one minute breathing thickly in the city, the next opening a car door and breathing crisp, clear air. Here, with his eyes closed and his breathing steady, Murphy could almost have relaxed and fallen into a deep, solid sleep.

“Murphy?”

He could all but hear the waves swelling and breaking, a soft whoosh and crash, whoosh and crash. Sand kicking up in the wash, pebbles hurting his soft feet as he skipped over them.

“Sir?”

Saltwater spray on a windy day, walking atop clay cliffs, wind roaring in his face.

“Detective Inspector.”

Murphy opened his eyes and turned to the clean-shaven constable and breathed through his nose. “I’m thinking.”

“Of course, sir. But Chief Superintendent Rhapshaw is…” The constable was shivering, still soaking wet in his uniform, a blanket wrapped around him, doing his best to appear professional.

“Son,” Murphy said, “do I frighten you?”

“Sir?”

“Do I frighten you? Am I an intimidating presence?”

“I’m not sure how to answer that, sir.”

Murphy studied the boy’s face. Probably popular with the ladies, a flat stomach, strong arms. Murphy guessed he even had those hard man-boob things that seemed so popular in the station changing room. Men—kids, really—tensing and showing one another their new muscles, lumps they never realised they had until their latest gym session popped them out of their dormant state. He had heard a word come to life over the past few years and it seemed to fit here: homoerotic.

“I mean,” Murphy said, “when you talk to me you sound like you’re expecting me to yell at you, or give you a spanking.”

“Sir?”

Okay, Murphy was officially bored now. “Where’s the Chief?”

“Parking up near the cordon. He’ll be about ten minutes.”

“You were first on scene?”

“Yes, sir. I followed every rule. All of them.”

“Gold star to you. In fact…” Murphy handed the constable a pound coin. “There’s a stationery shop down the road. Get yourself a whole bunch of gold stars.”

The constable stood there looking at the coin in his hand. He closed his fingers around it, put it in his wet pocket, and looked back at Murphy, confused. Murphy closed his eyes but opened them again quickly, unwilling to be dragged back into his peace, knowing he would have to return here all too soon.

“The body, constable. Tell me about the body.”

The constable led Murphy down a soggy, green hill to the edge of the lake where the scene of crime officers mooched about in their white, papery suits. Their feet squelched and Murphy felt his footing loosen and then grip again, while the kid leading him was firm and sure. Murphy decided he, too, would be firm and sure and not be shown up by a junior constable in front of the SOCOs. Murphy was surprised the constable talked so confidently.

“I responded to a nine-nine-nine call at approximately oh-eight-thirty. Caller reported a drowning at Roundhay Park. I entered the park eight minutes later and cycled to the point where the caller said he would be waiting. I met Mr Hudson—who had been walking his dog—and he pointed out what appeared to be a body floating…”

“What’s your name?” Murphy asked.

“Er, Duncan. Duncan Powel.”

“Okay, Constable Powel, we’re not in court. Tell me about the body.”

“Oh. Okay. Here. She was dead when I got to her… bruised, cut up, her nails…” Powel looked at the ground.

The corpse lay on a wooden pallet beneath a white tarpaulin.

“I thought putting her on here would be better than the soil,” Powel said.

“Good.” Murphy nodded to Powel’s uniform. “You said you followed every rule.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Does that include jumping into a cold lake when you couldn’t know what dangers lurked under the surface?”

“Sir?”

“You’re not a complete retard, Powel, so I assume you read up on the section that tells you not to place yourself in danger even when trying to help someone. Is my assumption correct?”

“Yes, sir, but—”

“And so you saw someone face down in a lake, jumped in without a thought to your own well-being and dragged that face-down someone back to shore hoping to resuscitate them? That about what happened, Constable Powel?”

“Yes, but when I realised she was long-dead I followed procedure to the letter…”

“Give me my pound back.” Murphy held out his hand, eyes on the white sheet.

“Sir?”

“My pound. Give it back.”

Powel placed the pound in Murphy’s hand and Murphy held it tight. He bent down to the tarpaulin, lifted it a little, and then put it back down. He was aware of Powel standing over him and imagined the kid’s bottom lip sticking out. Murphy felt a bit shitty about that.

“Powel?”

“Sir, I thought I was doing the right thing. If she’d been alive…”

Murphy stood to his full height so he was an entire head above the young constable, and Powel stopped talking. Murphy put the pound back in his pocket, placed a hand on Powel’s damp shoulder, and said, “Don’t tell anyone, but… promise you won’t say anything?”

“Promise, sir.”

“I would have done exactly the same thing.”

“Sir?”

“I’m saying well done, Powel. Unofficially, you did a good thing here. If I were first on scene, I’d have gone swimming too.”

A grin flickered briefly but Powel stifled it. “Thank you, sir.”

“Go get changed.”

As Powel tramped off, Murphy supressed a glimmer of respect for the man-child and turned his thoughts to the body at his feet. But something else was about to drag Murphy’s day down a little further. Chief Inspector Rhapshaw was cresting the hill, greeted by the clipboard-wielding crime-scene manager, and being invited to sign in.

*

Before the head of Yorkshire’s Serious Crime Agency reached him, Murphy ascertained that the body was probably beaten to death and, although he had no medical expertise beyond twenty-odd years of listening to experts, he estimated the body had been in the water no longer than a few hours. He also managed to see through the bruising and cuts and filth, and identify the corpse as Hayley Davenport.

“Murphy,” Rhapshaw said.

“Sir.” Murphy stood and greeted the officer with a curt handshake. As with most people, Murphy loomed far taller than Graham Rhapshaw, and as with most people, Rhapshaw took a step back before he was comfortable enough to speak.

“Is it the Davenport girl?”

“Looks like it.”

Rhapshaw turned from the corpse and paced toward the lake. He wore the uniform that he once told Murphy gave him gravitas when speaking to the press and underlings, and as such was looking at the muddy path as if it somehow offended him. “Lot of rain last night.”

“The SOCOs are covering the area. But you’re right. I doubt they’ll find much.”

“And is this similar to the Bradshaw girl?”

“Pippa.”

“Hmm?”

“Pippa, sir. Her name was Pippa Bradshaw.” Murphy noticed a woman wandering along the shore. She was coming from the woods on the other side of the lake.

“Are you suggesting I’m being insensitive, Detective Inspector?”

The woman was short, blonde, her hair in a ponytail. Probably mid-to-late twenties. Dressed like she belonged in an office. Except for the bubble-gum pink wellington boots.

“No, sir,” Murphy said. “It’s my own way of thinking about them. First name terms.”

“We’ve talked about that before.”

“And I haven’t forgotten. Don’t worry. I’m fine.”

The woman was getting closer now. Murphy excused himself from Rhapshaw and approached unsteadily over the sodden ground. “Hello? Miss?”

She didn’t look up, engrossed in the long grass along the lakeside, lost in concentration. She bent down and picked up a Coke can, peered inside, and discarded it.

As Murphy drew closer he saw she was a pretty little thing; petite, her head coming up to his chest. He called again, “Miss, excuse me.”

This time she looked up. “Oh, hi!” She greeted him like an old friend she was surprised to see.

Murphy guided her aside. “Miss, I’m not sure how you got through the cordon, but this is a crime scene. A young woman has been…”

“Murdered, yes, I know.” She smiled cheerily at him. “I’m Alicia Friend.”

“And?”

“And Graham asked me to come along, see if I could help. Cool, huh?”

Murphy took a mental step back. Cute, blonde, seemed to almost bounce even though she was stood still. “Graham?”

“At your service.” Rhapshaw’s voice again. When Murphy turned, Rhapshaw said, “You’ve been pestering DCI Streeter for more personnel and he has been pestering me. Therefore, Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend is now on attachment from the Serious Crime Agency. She’s been a damn good copper for me, and she’s an analyst of criminal psychology. Seems like a good fit.”

“Sir, if by ‘analyst’ you mean ‘psychic’…”

“Murphy, how long have you known me?”

“Ten years, on and off.”

“And in those ten years, what exactly could you possibly have seen to make you think for one fucking minute I’d employ a psychic?”

Murphy saw his point. “She’s a shrink then?”

Alicia stood forward. “I’m a psychologist. My brain is like some mini-computer, but you can’t switch it off and back on again. I’m also a policewoman with a mean right hook and a pretty decent track record wherever my little feet have taken me.”

Murphy stared at her a moment. Did she just say ‘little feet’? “DS Friend, thanks for coming down, but we don’t even have the forensics in yet.”

“It’s okay. I already have a theory about your killer. For starters, it’s not much of a stretch to start using the fave phrase of Hollywood thriller writers: serial killer.”

Murphy shook his head. “Good lord, Graham, what the hell is this? Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes a stroll and she’s sure this is a serial killer?  That mini-computer of hers needs de-bugging. We have two bodies. Similar appearance, similar age, similar deaths, but it’s not enough for a pattern. It’s barely a coincidence.”

Rhapshaw was about to respond but Alicia Friend got in first: “Well, technically a serial murderer needs three kills, but from what Graham tells me a third girl went missing yesterday in similar circumstances to Pippa and Hayley. Close in appearance, twenty-two years old, which means there’s about five days until a third body shows up.”

“We still don’t know…”

“Are you a betting man, DI Murphy?”

To Rhapshaw, he said, “Sir, I don’t need this. I have a decent team under me.”

Rhapshaw shrugged.

Alicia said, “Because if you’re really into gambling and want to throw one of those little balls onto the roulette wheel—by the way, I’m using the little ball as a metaphor for Katie Hague’s life, and the roulette wheel for the chances of finding her alive—”

“I get the imagery.”

“Good, because if that’s what you’re going to do—hope that the forensics turn up a fingerprint or find the name and address of the person who beat Hayley Davenport to death secreted about her person—then I very much doubt Katie’s going to make it.”

Murphy grew conscious of his breathing, the air through his nose far louder than it should have been. The winter breeze blew cold, and he heard the rustle of the SOCOs’ suits, felt the breeze bite at his neck. Alicia Friend was shivering but her eyes held his.

Rhapshaw said, “If DS Friend is correct about the serial angle, we need to move quickly. Murphy, your desk is clear as of now. This is your only case. Find the missing girl and catch this bastard.”

“Fine,” Murphy said. “Let’s hear the theory.”

Rhapshaw smiled satisfactorily. “Let me and DCI Streeter know when the forensics get in.”

While the chief inspector struggled back up the hill, Alicia Friend told Murphy what she’d seen so far.

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