Stepping in last minute to take part in the Bloodhound Books blog tour for ‘Bad Seed’ by Heleyne Hammersley. Before I share an extract, here is a little bit more about the and the all important ‘buy’ link:
When the body of a woman is discovered near Doncaster’s red light district, DI Kate Fletcher is called to the scene.
The victim has an abdominal wound that looks like a Caesarean incision, leading the police to believe she may have been pregnant.
Kate’s team establish the woman’s identity but it soon becomes clear that those close to her have something to hide.
The post-mortem reveals the victim wasn’t pregnant and, when a second body is discovered with similar wounds, the police realise they are hunting for a serial killer with a sinister fixation.
Can Kate solve the case before another woman dies?
And can a ruthless, methodical killer be brought to justice?
DI Kate Fletcher unbuttoned her jacket, breathing heavily in the humid air as she studied the scene in front of her. The body of a woman was lying on her back amid the lush vegetation which bounded much of Doncaster’s Town Fields like the hair around a monk’s tonsure. The body was surrounded by crime–scene technicians who continued their work as Kate approached. She kept back beyond the blue-and-white crime–scene tape and followed the step plates with her eyes, knowing that she wouldn’t be welcome to approach until she’d donned protective clothing.
She could make out dark hair and pale limbs but little else from where she was standing, as the body had been dumped amongst nettles and cow parsley that were as high as Kate’s waist in full June growth.
‘What have we got?’ she asked the nearest overall-clad figure. He turned to face her and she recognised her colleague, DC Barratt. He took a couple of steps towards her and lowered the hood of his overalls, messing up his hair and revealing patches of pink scalp through the thinning strands.
‘Body of a woman. Looks like she’s about thirty or so. Undressed from the waist down so possible sexual assault, but obviously we won’t know until the test results are back.’
‘Cause of death?’ Kate asked.
Barratt glanced round at the other people attending and then lowered his voice. ‘They haven’t been able to establish that yet but there’s a whacking great wound in her abdomen. They were just debating whether it was pre- or post-mortem when you arrived. There’s also bruising round her neck and throat so strangulation’s another possibility.’
Kate nodded and glanced again at the body. She was tempted to find a set of overalls and get a closer look but she didn’t want to undermine Barratt. She knew that there would be photographs and notes and she also knew that Barratt’s report would be fastidiously detailed.
‘Who found her?’
Barratt gestured to a support van parked on the running track that went around the top section of the field. A man in sports clothes was sitting on the back step, nursing a cardboard cup of something that Kate hoped was hot and sweet. Another of her DCs, Hollis, was standing next to the van but he didn’t appear to be talking to the man.
‘Bloke over there with Hollis. He was setting up a football training session for a team of pre-teens. Does it at weekends and in the school holidays. Thankfully he found the body before the kids arrived.’
Kate thanked Barratt and crossed the grass to the van where the man had stopped studying his drink and was looking up at her expectantly.
‘DI Fletcher,’ Kate introduced herself. ‘I understand that you found the body?’
He nodded and stood up, holding out his hand, which Kate ignored. ‘Duncan Cawthorne.’
‘Okay, Duncan. I want you to tell me what happened this morning. My colleague, DC Hollis, will make notes if that’s all right with you?’
Cawthorne watched as Hollis took a notebook and pencil from the inside breast pocket of his suit jacket. ‘I get down here early on a Sunday,’ he began. ‘Have a bit of a run and then set up for the kids.’
Kate appraised him as she listened to his account of arriving at the car park, jogging for half an hour and then retrieving the cones and balls from his car so he could set up a course for ‘the kids’. He was probably in his early thirties, well built and tall. He was wearing baggy grey tracksuit bottoms and a zip-up red hoody with a Doncaster Rovers badge below the left shoulder. His hair was hidden under a tight-fitting grey beanie hat with DRFC emblazoned across the front. He’d obviously dressed for his role as a football coach. His broad face was clean-shaven and tanned – Kate suspected a sunbed or a spray considering the grey cloud that seemed to have enveloped Doncaster for much of the spring and early summer.
‘And then I saw her,’ Cawthorne was saying. ‘Just lying on her back in the bushes.’
Kate glanced across to the police tape. It was a few hundred yards away from the neat row of miniature traffic cones that had been set up next to the running track. She looked at Hollis. He’d stopped making notes and was looking at where the body lay. He’d also spotted the anomaly.
About the author.
Heleyne Hammersley is a British writer based in Cumbria. She writes psychological suspense thrillers and crime novels.
Heleyne has been writing since junior school – her first work was a collection of poems called ‘Give Them the Works’ when she was ten years old. The poems were carefully handwritten on plain paper and tied together with knitting wool.
When she’s not writing, Heleyne can often be found wandering on the fells or in the local park with her dog.