I am a huuuuuuge fan of Paul Finch and, whilst I’m absolutely gutted that I couldn’t get round to reading ‘Stolen’, I am still delighted to be hosting this magnificent author on my blog today. Don’t fret though, I will be reading and reviewing as soon as I can. Thank you to Avon Books for inviting me to take part in the tour, and for the ARC. Enjoy the extract!
How do you find the missing when there’s no trail to follow?
DC Lucy Clayburn is having a tough time of it. Not only is her estranged father one of the North West’s toughest gangsters, but she is in the midst of one of the biggest police operations of her life.
Members of the public have started to disappear, taken from the streets as they’re going about their every day lives. But no bodies are appearing – it’s almost as if the victims never existed.
Lucy must chase a trail of dead ends and false starts as the disappearances mount up. But when her father gets caught in the crossfire, the investigation suddenly becomes a whole lot more bloody…
An increasingly excited canine yelping drew Lucy’s atten¬tion back to the cottage, where the rear doors to vehicles were now being opened and muzzled dogs brought out on chain leashes. Even through the zoom-lens of her scope, and with the whole of the farmyard area lit up, many of them were already so horribly scarred from battles past that their breeds were unidentifiable, but by their lean, squat, muscular frames she reckoned they’d be fighting species of old: pit bulls, Staffies and the like, an impression enhanced by the thick muzzles they wore, and their steel-studded leather harnesses.
Lucy shook her head.
Mahoney now walked across the farmyard, his guests following, though they kept their four-footed charges well apart from each other. As most of these animals, if not all, had been trained through years of brutal abuse to despise other dogs on sight, they were already snarling and rearing, having to be forcibly restrained.
Geraldson watched through a pair of binoculars.
‘Savages,’ he whispered.
‘Yeah, well, don’t worry,’ Lucy replied. ‘Tonight, they’re going to learn what it means to be chained and caged.’
At the other side of the farmyard, perhaps fifty yards from the cottage, there was another clutch of outbuildings, all in a similarly dilapidated condition to the main house. The largest had clearly once been a barn of some sort; it was an ugly brick and concrete structure, but its roof had evidently caved in some time ago, because while the rest of it was rotted and flimsy, that was relatively new, made from sturdy sheets of corrugated steel.
Mustn’t have the guests getting wet if it rains, Lucy thought.
Mahoney went into the barn first, through a side-door. Lights came on within, and then he re-emerged on the east-facing side, pushing open a large pair of timber doors, through which the men and dogs now trooped. It was difficult to be sure what went on after that, because once the majority were in there, all Lucy could see through the open doors was a chaos of bodies milling about, the dogs still grizzling and snarling at each other.