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Authors: Craig Russell

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JF03 - Eternal

BOOK: JF03 - Eternal
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Book 3 in the Detective Jan Fabel series
Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Also by Craig Russell

Title Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Epigraph

Prologue

1. Twenty-Eight Days After the First Murder: Thursday, 15 September 2005.

2. Vernal Equinox, AD 324.

3. October 1985: Twenty Years Before the First Murder.

Part One

1. Three Days Before the First Murder: Monday, 15 August 2005.

2. The Night of the First Murder: Thursday, 18 August 2005.

3. The Day After the First Murder: Friday, 19 August 2005.

4. Two Days After the First Murder: Saturday, 20 August 2005.

5. Four Days After the First Murder: Monday, 22 August 2005.

6. Five Days After the First Murder: Tuesday, 23 August 2005.

7. Nine Days After the First Murder: Saturday, 27 August 2005.

8. Eleven Days After the First Murder: Monday, 29 August 2005.

9. Twelve Days After the First Murder: Tuesday, 30 August 2005.

10. Thirteen Days After the First Murder: Wednesday, 31 August 2005.

11. Fourteen Days After the First Murder: Thursday, 1 September 2005.

Part Two

12. Twenty-Four Days After the First Murder: Sunday, 11 September 2005.

13. Twenty-Five Days After the First Murder: Monday, 12 September 2005.

14. Twenty-Six Days After the First Murder: Tuesday, 13 September 2005.

15. Twenty-Seven Days After the First Murder: Wednesday, 14 September 2005.

16. Twenty-Eight Days After the First Murder: Thursday, 15 September 2005.

Epilogue

Copyright

About the Book

Two high profile victims – a former Left-wing radical turned environmental campaigner and a geneticist researching the possibility of inherited memory – are found murdered within 24 hours of each other. Both men have been scalped.

Forensic tests reveal that single red hairs left at each scene belong to neither victim, but were cut from the same head – twenty years earlier. Jan Fabel and his murder team find themselves under political and media pressure to track down a killer whom the press has already christened ‘The Hamburg Hairdresser’.

Fabel is caught in a web of intrigue, obsession and revenge that seemingly spans sixteen centuries. He must discover the crucial link between an ancient mummified body, a long-disbanded terrorist group and its infamous leader and a killer who believes he has been reincarnated to exact a terrible revenge on those who betrayed him in a previous life.

About the Author

Craig Russell was born in 1956 in Fife, Scotland. He served as a police officer and worked in the advertising industry as a copywriter and creative director. In 2007, his second novel,
Brother Grimm
, was shortlisted for the CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger, and in the same year he was presented with a
Polizeistern
(Police Star) award by the Polizei Hamburg for raising public awareness of the work of the Hamburg police.

For more information about Craig Russell and his books, please visit
www.craigrussell.com

Also by Craig Russell
The Jan Fabel Novels:
Blood Eagle
Brother Grimm
A Fear of Dark Water
The Carnival Master
The Valkyrie Song
The Lennox Novels:
The Long Glasgow Kiss
The Deep Dark Sleep
Dedicated to the memory of Gabriel Brown
Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my wife Wendy for her comments and edits on the first draft of
Eternal;
my agent Carole Blake and all at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency; my friend and German translator Bernd Rullkötter; my accountants Larry Sellyn and Elaine Dyer; from Hutchinson, Paul Sidey, Nick Austin, Penny Isaac and Tess Callaway.

In writing this series, I have enjoyed the unrestricted and enthusiastic support of one of the world’s finest police services: the Polizei Hamburg. I cannot state strongly enough how much the Polizei Hamburg have helped with information and advice. I owe special thanks to Erste Hauptkommissarin Ulrike Sweden who gave up much of her free time to read and correct my manuscript; Polizeipräsident Werner Jantosch, Chief of Police for Hamburg; Leitender Polizeidirecktor Bernd Spöntjes, Chief of Police for Hamburg’s Waterways Police; and to all of the other Polizei Hamburg officers who have offered support, advice and help.

Special thanks also to Marco Schneiders, Barbara Fischer, Vibeke Wagner, Udo Röbel, Katrin Frahm, Anja Sieg, and Anne von Bestenbostel.

And to the people of Hamburg, one of the world’s most captivating cities,
nochmal
,
bedanke ich mich herzlich
.


We are eternal
.


The Buddhists believe that each life, each consciousness, is like a single candle flame, but that there is a continuity between each flame. Imagine lighting one candle with the flame of another, then using that flame to light the next, and that to light the next, and on and on for ever. A thousand flames, all passed from one to another across the generations. Each is a different light, each burns in a totally different way. But it is, nevertheless, the same flame
.


Now, I’m afraid, it is time for me to extinguish your flame. But don’t worry … the pain I give you will mean that you will burn brightest at the end
.’

Prologue
1.
Twenty-Eight Days After the First Murder: Thursday, 15 September 2005.
Nordenham Railway Station, Nordenham, 145 Kilometres West of Hamburg

Fabel could not help but reflect on the irony that Nordenham railway station was a terminus. In so many ways, this was where their journey ended. From here, there was nowhere else left to go.

The headlights of the police cars ranged on the other side of the tracks illuminated the platform as if it were a stage. It was a crystal moment: diamond-sharp and clear and hard. Even the painted plaster façade of the turn-of-the-century station seemed bleached of colour: its edges etched with artificial clarity, like an architectural drawing, or a theatre set against which were cast the giant shadows of the two figures on the platform, one standing, the other forced to its knees.

And nothing was sharper or clearer than the bright, eager gleam on the blade in the hand that hung at the side of the figure who stood, illuminated, behind the kneeling man.

Fabel’s mind raced through the thousand possible ways this could all end. Whatever his next words were, whatever action he now took, would have consequences; would set in train a sequence of events.
And an all too conceivable consequence would be the death of more than one person.

His head ached with the weight of it. Despite the time of year, the night air felt meagre and sterile in his mouth and made grey ghosts of his breath, as if in coming together to this moment, to this low-lying landscape, they had actually reached a great altitude. It seemed as if the air was too thin to carry any sound other than the desperate half-sobbed breathing of the kneeling man. Fabel glanced across at his officers, who stood, taking aim in the hard, locked-muscle stance of those who stand on the edge of the decision to kill. It was Maria he paid most attention to: her face bloodless, her eyes glittering ice-blue, the bone and sinew of her hands straining against the taut skin as she gripped her SIG-Sauer automatic.

Fabel made an almost imperceptible movement of his head, hoping that his team would interpret his signal to hold back.

He stared hard at the man who stood in the centre of the harsh cast light. Fabel and his team had struggled for months to put a name, an identity, to the killer they had hunted. He had turned out to be a man of many names: the name he had given himself in his perverted sense of crusade was ‘Red Franz’; while the media, in their enthusiastic determination to spread fear and anxiety as far as possible, had christened him the ‘Hamburg Hairdresser’. But now Fabel knew his real name.

In front of Red Franz, facing in the same direction, was the middle-aged man whom he had forced to his knees. Red Franz held the kneeling man by a fistful of grey hair, angling his head back so that the throat lay exposed and white. Above the throat,
above the terror-contorted face, the flesh of his forehead had been sliced across in a straight line the full width of his brow, just below the hairline, and the wound gaped slightly as Red Franz yanked his head back by the hair. A pulse of blood cascaded down the kneeling man’s face and he let out a high-pitched animal yelp.

And all the time the blade by Red Franz’s side sparkled and gleamed with malevolent intent in the night.

‘For Christ’s sake, Fabel.’ The kneeling man’s voice was tight and shrill with terror. ‘Help me … Please … Help me, Fabel …’

Fabel ignored the pleading and kept his gaze locked like a searchlight on Red Franz. He held his hand out into empty air, as if halting traffic. ‘Easy … take it easy. I’m not playing along with any of this. No one here is. We’re not going to act out the parts you want us to play. Tonight, history is not going to repeat itself.’

Red Franz gave a bitter laugh. The hand that held the knife twitched and again the blade flashed bright and stark.

‘Do you honestly think that I am going to walk away? This bastard …’ He yanked again on the hair and the kneeling man yelped again through a curtain of his own blood. ‘This bastard betrayed me and all that we stood for. He thought that my death would buy him a new life. Just like the others did.’

‘This is pure fantasy …’ said Fabel. ‘That was not your death.’

‘Oh no? Then how is it that you started to doubt what you believe while you searched for me? There is no such thing as death; there’s only remembrance. The only difference between me and anyone else is
that I have been allowed to remember, like looking through a hall of windows. I remember
everything
.’ He paused, the small silence broken only by the distant sound of a late-night car passing through the town of Nordenham, behind the station and a universe away. ‘Of course history will repeat itself. That’s what history does. It repeated
me
… You’re so proud that you studied history in your youth. But did you ever truly understand it? We’re all just variations on the same theme – all of us. What was before will be again. He who was before shall be again. Over and over. History is all about beginnings. History is made, not unmade.’

‘Then make it your own history,’ said Fabel. ‘Change things. Give it up, man. Tonight history
won’t
repeat itself. Tonight no one dies.’

Red Franz smiled. A smile that was as scalpel-bright and hard and cold as the knife in his hand. ‘Really? Then we must see, Herr Chief Commissar.’ The blade flashed upwards to the kneeling man’s throat.

There was a scream. And the sound of gunfire.

2.
Vernal Equinox,
AD
324.
BOOK: JF03 - Eternal
7.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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