As a teenager I was a huge reader of crime fiction, especially book series, but it's only been in the last year or so that my passion for this genre has been re-sparked. Today I'm delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Kevin Sampson's latest book, The House on the Hill, which features DCI McCartney.
DCI Billy McCartney has gone to ground, disillusioned with his job. When a runaway turns up on his doorstep, her story plunges Mac back to the summer of 1990, and one of his most traumatic cases.
McCartney and his partner DS Millie Baker are in Ibiza, on a joint venture with the Spanish serious crime agency. Their objective: to infiltrate the Liverpool-based drug gang responsible for a wave of ecstasy-related deaths. But their stakeout takes both Mac and Millie to the heart of a dark empire whose tentacles stretch from Ireland to Morocco, and whose activities include industrial-scale drug production - and terrorism. They're close to their big bust when Millie is abducted by the gang, and killed. McCartney never quite recovers from it.
The waif who knocks on Mac's door twenty-four years later has escaped from those same captors; a dynasty of international dope dealers based high in the Moroccan Rif. What she tells McCartney blasts his apathy away, and sends him on a mission that goes far beyond law and order. This is his chance for redemption.
I've recently been sent a copy of The House on the Hill to review but I've not had a chance to read it yet but here's a short extract to whet our appetite for what promises to be a thrilling read...
Shanley dimmed the lights, stumbled slightly as he went to operate the VCR, and froze the first image with another remote control. A map of Ibiza, with little balloon motifs marking certain spots. Again, McCartney’s spine tingled. Ibiza. This was beginning to make sense. If it was an Ibiza job, there could be no one better equipped than him...
‘When I say Ecstasy deaths, I’m talking here, mainland UK. The holiday season hasn’t even started over there yet, but we’ve already had reports of two drug-related deaths in Ibiza, too. Jus can fill us in on that.’
‘Sure, and sad to say it could get worse. The Swedish girl and a German boy, they both died, and there is also Brits girl in the hospital, not waking up yet. All had been out in same club –’
‘And all had taken Ecstasy?’
‘And those drugs would have been supplied, we presume, by John-John Hamilton’s firm?’
‘We don’t have that as absolute fact – but everyone’s working on the basis they’re Hamilton’s pills, yes. Although until last night this was primarily a matter for the Guardia Local out there on Ibiza...’
Roig grimaced. ‘Who are, you know... happy to keep this whole thing off front-page news...’ Roig smiled to himself. ‘Not good story for the holiday business, yes? Kind of a Jaws affair...’
He shrugged and held his hands out, inviting them to draw their own conclusions. McCartney shifted in his seat so he was facing Roig now.
‘So. What about here? What’s the link?’
Roig gave the slightest nod back at Shanley.
‘Car crash. Nottinghamshire, not long after midnight. The survivors say the driver just seemed to lose control of the vehicle. Car veered across the central reservation, and... well. Two dead, another two in hospital...’
‘And we think this is related to JJ Hamilton?’
‘We are almost certain, sadly, Billy. We can be even more precise. We’re something like 99.9 per cent sure that the tablet that caused the driver of that car to have a seizure comes from the same rogue batch that’s done for the kids in Ibiza...’
Mac couldn’t help himself; his spirits sagged before he could put himself in check. Forget Ibiza. Forget any fanciful notions of a possible JV with the Spanish. There was a bad batch of pills over here – that’s what they were going to ask him to investigate.
‘And these bad tablets are now about to go native here in the UK?’
‘There’s one compelling reason to hope not...’
It was only one word, but McCartney could barely keep the hopeful quiver out of his voice.
‘The driver’s surname. He was called Colin Macmillan. One of our survivors mentioned in his statement last night that Colin only received his tablets a few days ago. His sister sent them. She’s working in Ibiza. The girl in a coma out there is called Abi Macmillan...’
‘Right, right – I hear you...’
Shanley fixed him with his unblinking, always appraising gaze. ‘Our people are working round the clock to confirm the link...’ He let out another of his world-weary sighs. ‘But – and with all due respect to the dead, if that’s what has come to pass, and their families . . .’ He scratched his head, trying to find the right form of words. ‘Look. The fact is that this agency has bigger fish to fry, if you will, than the tragic, if isolated, deaths of club-goers...’
‘That’s assuming they do indeed remain isolated, sir...’
Roig shot Shanley a look. The boss held up both hands, pleading for Mac to just shut up and listen. He flicked at the controller in his hand, and the video resumed. In place of the Ibiza map, a poorly graded video image flickered on the screen, its jerky, CCTV image shifting focus repeatedly, as though culled from multiple sources.
‘This is where it really does start to get troublesome...’
If this sounds like your type of read then you're in luck as thanks to Kevin's publisher I have 5 sets of both books in the DCI McCartney series, The Killing Pool and The House on the Hill, to give away to followers. Sorry due to the weight of the combined prize package the giveaway is restricted to UK and Ireland residents only.
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