Welcome to my first participation in an anthology - hopefully the first of many.
Inside Criminal Shorts is an exclusive Jake Tanner short story - never before seen.
Here's what to expect:
The body of a successful club and casino owner is found face-down in the farmlands of Croydon. His head crushed, split in two. Jake Tanner, rookie detective with Croydon Police, soon learns that, in this town, a lot of people hold their cards close to their chest.
This anthology is sold for the benefit of The Red Kite Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire, a ‘richly diverse community in which children with many special needs, languages, cultures and religions learn together in harmony’.
The authors of these stories have donated their work free of charge. You may find a favourite author here, or discover new favourites. Their stories cover crime in all its aspects. You'll find stories to terrify you, mystify you, or maybe even raise a smile. We hope you enjoy them.
Andrew Barrett, Ben Bruce, T. G. Campbell, Brian W. Caves,
Lexie Conyngham, M. W. Craven, Robert Crouch, Jan Edwards,
Tony J. Forder, Susan Handley, Michael Kerr, Jon Mayhew,
Kath Middleton, Wilf Morgan, Barbara Norrey, Cecilia Peartree,
John Penfold, Jack Probyn, Will Templeton, Sam Thomas,
Bill Todd and Paula Williams
Blackness. Everywhere. Distorted by the sound of an engine roaring in the distance and the bodies either side of him bouncing from side to side like a plane in turbulence. The thin material over his head was dusty and difficult to breathe in; particles descended his throat and stayed there, making him gag and cough.
No reference points. No idea where he was, nor where he was going. No one to help him. Alone. But there was no time to be scared, petrified, paralysed with fear. There was no time to do anything.
The vehicle slowed to a gradual halt and the engine died. The door beside him opened and a thick, strong hand grabbed him by the shoulder and hauled him out of the back. His legs scrambled for a solid surface, but only found air. As the ground came up to meet him, his body landed on gravel and dirt, a jagged stone digging into his hip. No time to cry or groan or moan. No time to show weakness.
‘Up, ya sack a shit!’
This time, two pairs of hands dragged him across the uneven, gravelled surface. After a few feet, the coarse ground made way for grass. Damp. Instantly chilling his body.
The cloth was yanked from his head. In his haste, the abductor pulled some of his hair along with it. Before he grimaced in pain, his eyes adjusted to his surroundings. All sensation soon disappeared as his body numbed.
He was on the ground. A few feet from him was a pond, surrounded by reeds. A brilliant circle of white light reflected on the ripples of the water as the wind picked it up and moved it. Surrounding him were four men, their features masked by their shadows, hidden behind a dark cloak of anonymity.
But there was no need to see their faces. He knew exactly who they were. The four men they shouldn’t have pissed off, but had.
A shrill voice came from his left-hand side. Anthony hadn’t realised it, but lying on the other side of him was his business partner and friend.
‘What the fuck is going on?’ Anthony asked, spitting on the ground.