Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Body In The Marsh today I have an extract to share with you but before we get to it here is what the book is about.
When a woman goes missing, it gets personal for DCI Craig Gillard. But he could never imagine what happens next.
Criminologist Martin Knight lives a gilded life and is a thorn in the side of the police. But then his wife Liz goes missing. There is no good explanation and no sign of Martin…
To make things worse, Liz is the ex-girlfriend of DCI Craig Gillard who is drawn into the investigation. Is it just a missing person or something worse? And what relevance do the events around the shocking Girl F case, so taken up by Knight, have to do with the present?
The truth is darker than you could ever have imagined.
Utterly gripping and full of twists, this is a compulsive thriller from master Nick Louth for fans of Robert Bryndza, Patricia Gibney and Carole Wyer.
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The tragic and unnecessary death of Girl F is a staggering indictment of the bigotry, myopia and indolence of the British police mentality. This young girl, in a desperate cry for help, begged for justice. But because she didn’t fit the victim stereotype, what she got instead was prejudice, procrastination, and – even now, years after her death – platitudes.
(LSE criminologist Professor Martin Knight, interviewed on BBC Newsnight, September 2013)
Tuesday, 18 October, 8 a.m.
Gillard drove back to Surrey Police HQ in Guildford, feeling restless. What had been sleet in Cumbria was just rain in Surrey, but there was plenty of it. There hadn’t been a decent gap in the weather for the rest of the weekend, and though he’d tramped a good 60 miles in all – around Wastwater, up Kirk Fell and amid teeming parties of schoolkids to the top of Great Gable – he’d given up his last chance for a really demanding rock climb. With a sinking feeling he remembered that another report was coming out soon about Girl F, a case that had for years been the bane of Surrey Police. A girl of 13 threw herself in front of a train back in 2009 after reporting repeated abuse by older men. The case, mishandled from the outset and still without a suspect, was now in the hands of the hindsight experts: highly paid barristers, child psychologists and criminologists deciding at their leisure what procedure should have been followed. One officer in the crosshairs was Detective Superintendent Paddy Kincaid, Gillard’s own boss. Back in 2009 Kincaid was a DCI investigating Girl F’s suicide, but had made little progress in finding out who had abused her. After criticisms from the family’s legal team he had eventually been removed from the case.
The atmosphere at HQ would probably be foul, Gillard decided. To cheer himself up, he slid a CD of ’80s hits into the player, and let his thoughts turn to Sam Phillips, the ill-prepared but shapely PCSO.
As he passed the security barrier, the imposing edifice of Mount Browne loomed. The former home of the Marquis of Sligo, the Gothic-style red-brick building boasted mullioned windows and high gables in extensive grounds. Behind it squatted the cramped and crowded car park and a hideous 1960s office block, Gillard’s base for the last five years.
His deputy, DS Claire Mulholland, was already there in the incident room, gripping her chipped mug emblazoned with wobbly glaze: Mum – world’s best detective. Her son Collum had made the mug at school when he was eight, and even though the handle had come off in the intervening seven years, few would take issue with the boast. If not the best, she was certainly pretty damn good. Claire’s solid physique belied her former career as dance teacher and tae kwon do instructor. The day after finishing training as a WPC, the five-foot-five blonde mother of three had been put on a drugs raid, with instructions to stand at the back and keep out of the way. But when the gang’s six-foot-three enforcer tried to stab a fellow officer, Claire had famously taken him down with a single kick to the stomach.
After greeting her, Gillard asked: ‘So what’s the latest on Girl F?’
‘Coldrick has asked Alison Rigby to restart the cold case review,’ she said. Assistant Chief Constable Rigby was a high-flyer, appointed by Chief Constable Graham Coldrick three months ago. She’d come from the National Crime Agency, with a reputation as a control freak.
‘Kincaid will not be a happy bunny,’ Gillard said, unable to control the smile on his face.
Whilst I am one of the last stops on this tour, if you want to find out more about this book then here are the other stops that you should check out.
Nick Louth is a best-selling thriller writer, award-winning financial journalist and an investment commentator. A 1979 graduate of the London School of Economics, he went on to become a Reuters foreign correspondent in 1987. It was an experience at a medical conference in Amsterdam in 1992, while working for Reuters, that gave him the inspiration for Bite, which was self-published in 2007 and went on to become the UK No. 1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014 before being snapped up by Sphere. It has sold a third of a million copies, and been translated into six languages.
The terrorism thriller Heartbreaker was published in June 2014 and received critical acclaim from Amazon readers, with a 4.6 out of 5 stars on over 100 reviews. Mirror Mirror, subtitled ‘When evil and beauty collide’ was published in June 2016. The Body in the Marsh, a crime thriller, is being published by Canelo in September 2017.
Freelance since 1998, he has been a regular contributor to the Financial Times, Investors Chronicle and Money Observer, and has published seven other books. Nick Louth is married and lives in Lincolnshire.