So, where did we leave things? After the dramatic finale of ‘Sound’, Detective Inspector Darren Swift decided to take a break from the police force, to contemplate the strange events of the preceding year. There was also the possibility of new love on the horizon, with footballer Thomas Kuper. But nothing is quite as it seems in Liverpool, where an intriguing new case now draws him back into the city’s underworld.
Recently I have been buried in the research and plotting for ‘Lamb Of God’, the fourth book in the Reprobation series, which takes Darren and his unlikely colleagues Dr Helen Hope and Mikko Kristensen into the realms of secret societies, Christian metal, and the sinister hidden history of Liverpool. Here’s a sneak prologue and blurb for you 🙂
Lamb Of God: Prologue
At the edge of things, a boy flies a kite.
He runs with it, clumsily, stumbling a little on the sand as he looks behind him, and then he throws, inexpertly yet the wind is so strong that the kite takes flight. Gaudy-coloured and shaped like an owl with outstretched wings, the kite darts and swoops before settling into position. The flapping streamers are unable to detract from its grace as its black eyes stare down.
The boy plants his feet and grips the kite handle with both hands, pulling down taut against the wind, enjoying the feeling of control and balance as he battles with the elements. He looks around and the baby shares his glee. Wrapped warmly in her pram she looks up in awe, mouth wide open in delight.
‘Pretty cool hey Elizabeth?’ he shouts. He knows she can’t hear him, but still. Someone to share his exhilaration made it all the better.
The boy, the pram and the kite cut a lonely triptych against the big sky, the tide a mile out. In this place of deep time, where everything is connected, the intertidal zone reveals its secrets periodically. It can draw back to reveal an eighteenth century shipwreck, bombed-out war bricks softened by the tide, a Holocene footprint, the fossil of some dinosaur-like creature. But today there is nothing.
Then, there is someone else.
‘You’re doing a fine job there, young man.’
The boy looks around at a stranger who has suddenly appeared behind him. A gaunt, bearded older man dressed in non-descript anorak and woollen hat.
‘Expert kite-flying there, and entertaining your sister too.’
‘She’s not my sister. My mum’s a foster carer.’
‘Ah, then what a lovely family you must be. She looks very happy. Hello dear,’ he shouts, absurdly, at the pram.
‘She can’t hear you, she’s deaf.’
‘Ah. Yes of course.’
They stand in silence for a while, all squinting up at the kite. Dimensions are somehow distorted out here, so that the racing clouds appear to move faster than a giant container ship easing into Liverpool Bay on the horizon. A couple of brave seagulls approach the kite to investigate, but are repelled by a barrier of wind.
‘Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer..’ says the man, his words disappearing into the wind, as if they never existed, or are being carried away to some other plane.
‘Oh, nothing,’ the man smiles, raising his voice again. ‘Just half-remembering a poem.’ He nodded to the pram. ‘And your mother lets you take her to the beach alone?’
‘No, she’s just gone to the car to get something. D’you wanna have a go then?’ The boy offers the kite handle uncertainly.
‘No, no, thank you. I’m just keeping watch. Like the proverbial shepherd.’
Up on the promenade the figure of a woman appears. When she sees the man, she begins to sprint towards them,. ‘Hey, get away you, I’m calling the police!’ She almost trips down the steps to the beach as she searches her bag frantically for her phone.
‘Well, goodbye then,’ says the man to the boy. He looks at the baby, the child that is his, and not his, and then marches away across the sand at almost a run.
The Reprobation series is available from Amazon, selected bookstores, and from the Reprobation online shop, where you can also buy exclusive t-shirts and Reprobation CDs by Geva – all profits to Sefton Women’s And Children’s Aid.