Authors: Lee Weeks
Lee Weeks was born in Devon. She left school at seventeen and, armed with a notebook and very little cash, spent seven years working her way around
Europe and South East Asia. She returned to settle in London, marry and raise two children. She has worked as an English teacher and personal fitness trainer. Her books have been
bestsellers. She now lives in Devon.
ALSO BY LEE WEEKS
Dead of Winter
Cold as Ice
First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2014
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © Lee Weeks 2014
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
The right of Lee Weeks to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB
Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
PB ISBN: 978-1-47113-360-2
EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-47113-361-9
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Typeset by M Rules
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
For Ginny and Robert, with love and thanks
The January gloom that made everything grey also made Olivia’s white Fiat shine luminescent on the deserted street in Woolwich. Her bright red lipstick was vivid in the
gloom. She reread the message on her phone:
I’ll be waiting for you.
Her mouth was so dry that she found it hard to swallow; the ends of her fingers tingled as she slipped her hand beneath her coat and felt her warm bare skin between the lace and silk; she
She got out of her car and pulled her coat tightly around her. Her heels echoed on the cobbles as she crossed the road. Stopping outside number 22, Olivia placed her bright red nails on the
peeling paintwork and pushed the door open just a little. She looked back at her car. She had only to run across the road and jump in and she would be safe. She turned back to number 22 and
loosened her coat; her flesh glowed in the darkness as she stepped inside.
DC Willis got out of the passenger side of the black BMW and looked down the street past the SOCO van.
‘Who found her?’ DI Carter asked her whilst putting on his coat. He pulled up his collar as the cold hit him.
‘Anonymous caller, guv,’ Willis answered, studying the row of derelict buildings that had once been large commercial properties, some still with a shop face, but now boarded up and
covered in graffiti. Across the street from them a 1990s tower block marked the start of the sprawling Hannover council estate. On the other side of Parade Street was a smart new row of red-brick
terraces in a Victorian style.
‘Accent?’ Carter tied his Armani scarf loosely around his neck.
‘English. Male. Well-spoken.’
Parade Street was cordoned off at both ends, with police officers stopping anyone entering. No one had tried while they’d been standing there the last three hours because no one lived on
the condemned street except rough sleepers.
As Carter swivelled round to get his bearings, the pathologist’s car drew up and parked up behind them. Dr Jo Harding switched off the engine but stayed where she was, talking on her
‘Were there any cars on this street when you arrived, Officer Gardner?’ Carter asked the officer standing outside number 22 with the crime-scene logbook in her hand.
‘Three, sir, and they have been traced to their owners. One was abandoned, one belonged to a couple on a night out who left it and got a cab home and the other is owned by a woman who
lives on the next street.’
to park it here overnight?’
‘She’s new to the area. She’s waiting for a resident’s permit, sir.’
Carter looked up and down the street. He was searching his memory banks. He turned to Willis.
‘Do you recognize this place?’ Willis shook her head. ‘Must be before your time then. I reckon it was five years ago when these buildings first started being pulled down and we
had a murder here. Polish immigrants, one was kicked to death over a row about drink. You’d think they would have done something with these buildings by now.’ Willis zipped up her
jacket. Carter was still surveying the outside of the building. He looked up and his eyes filled with the deep blue of the cold winter sky. ‘Council ran out of money maybe.’ He turned
back to PC Gardner. ‘Have all the buildings on the street been searched?’
‘Not yet, sir.’
A tall, white-suited figure emerged from number 22, taking the mask from his face as he did so. He came round to the back of the SOCO van and opened the doors.
‘Sandford?’ Carter said by way of greeting to the crime-scene manager. Sandford looked at him but didn’t answer; he nodded at Willis. He liked her. He wasn’t so keen on
Carter. Carter had a laddish brashness, a chunky bit of gold around his wrist and wax products in his black hair. That, so far as Sandford was concerned, constituted what people termed
‘Are you getting déjà vu here?’ Carter asked. ‘Must have been five years ago at least.’ Luckily, Carter never minded or noticed Sandford’s low opinion
‘Is it the same sort of thing this time?’
Sandford looked down at his forensic suit and his soiled knees. ‘Same filth, it’s come right through the suit, difference is – it’s a woman this time.’
Dr Harding got out of her car, took out her bag from the boot and joined them.
Sandford began pulling out packets of forensic suits from the back of the van and handing them out.
‘Carter – extra-small?’
‘Yeah, funny.’ He passed the suit on to Dr Harding. Willis was an inch taller than him at five ten. ‘What about the rest of this street?’
‘I want my team to go through this one first. This whole street is used by rough sleepers – we need to start where we have a chance of finding something.’
‘Is it okay for us to go in?’ asked Carter.
‘Only as far as the inner entrance and be careful what you step on and what you step in.’
Harding took the overshoes from Sandford and sighed impatiently.
‘Sooner we get in, sooner we get her out,’ she said, zipping up her suit.
Willis took off her black quilted jacket and put it in the back of Carter’s car.
Carter waited until she’d thrown hers down then he folded his overcoat and put it neatly on the top along with his scarf. He eased the elastic hood of the forensic suit over his hair and
straightened out the suit so that it fitted better. Sandford looked down at Carter’s expensive shiny shoes and then reached in and pulled out two more pairs of overshoes.
‘You’ll thank me for these.’
He shut the doors on the back of the van and picked up his Croc box containing an assortment of variously sized evidence bags. ‘Follow me.’
Dermot, the scenes of crime officer, stood to greet them as they stepped inside.
‘That’s far enough,’ Sandford said, leaving the detectives at the entrance as he crossed carefully on stepping plates to the far side of the room. There were battery-powered
LED lights in the corners. The only other light was filtering in past boarded-up windows and through the open entrance.
Carter switched on his head lamp and pulled up his mask against the smell of human waste mixed with cigarettes, alcohol and dog shit.
‘Christ – what a place to end up. You wouldn’t want an animal to die in this, let alone live,’ he said, looking around.
‘I reckon this is home to about twenty people,’ Dermot said, shining his torch into the far left-hand corner of the room. ‘And it looks like they left here in a rush,’ he
said as his torch beam lit a mound of broken glass. ‘Besides all the empties, I found half a bottle of Smirnoff over there and three of these – used recently.’ Dermot held up a
crack pipe in his hand.
‘Party time,’ said Carter.
Willis stepped round to stand beside him and get a better view as she shone her torch into the room. The woman’s body was lying on the far side near the back wall; the pale skin of her
flank glowed in the dim light. Above everything else, all the obvious smells of dirt and defecation, Willis could smell the unmistakable sweet overtones of clotting blood.
‘I need more light on her,’ Harding said as she stepped across on the plates and squatted down beside the body.
Sandford picked up one of the LED lights and brought it nearer.
‘Rigor mortis is fully established,’ said Harding. Sandford knelt beside her, to help roll and hold the body on its side.
The corpse sighed.
‘Lividity is established too. She died here.’ Sandford rolled the body back. ‘Extensive bruising around the pelvic area and the hips, top of the thighs. Evidence of sexual
assault, rape. Lacerations,’ said Harding. ‘There are also large areas of bruising around the shoulders, ribs and collarbone. Consistent with pressure being applied,’ she