Authors: David Menon
|No Questions Asked|
|DS Jeff Barton |
|David Menon||UK (2014)|
No Questions Asked picks up where 'Storms' left off in the back garden
of Jeff Barton's house where he's hosting a barbecue for neighbours,
family and friends. The party is abruptly ended when the body of an
eleven-year-old child, the son of one of Jeff's neighbours, is found in
the woods nearby.
As the covers are lifted on the secrets held by those
living around him he wonders if a child killer could be actually living
on his street. Whilst he tries to take his relationship with his deputy,
DI Rebecca Stockton, to a deeper level the investigation brings him
back into confrontation with his old nemesis Bernie Connelly who is one
of Manchester's most notorious gangsters and has a personal interest in
finding the child killer, leading him to pick off a list of paedophiles
who are the prime suspects.
Added to everything else is a case of
political corruption that may or may not be linked to the murders and
this proves to be one of Jeff Barton's most complicated and yet most
urgent of cases to solve.
NO QUESTIONS ASKED
BY DAVID MENON
Copyright 2014 Silver Springs Press
All rights reserved by the author
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of any character to any real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
David was born in Derby, England in 1961 and has lived all over the UK but now he lives in Paris, France. In 2009 he gave up a long career in the airline industry to concentrate on his writing ambitions. He’s now published several books including the series of crime novels featuring Detective Superintendent Jeff Barton that are set in Manchester, UK and the series of Stephanie Marshall mysteries set in Sydney, Australia. He’s also created the DCI Sara Hoyland series beginning with Fall from Grace. Apart from being a full-time writer he goes off two or three times a year to teach English to Russian students for a school in St. Petersburg. His other interests include travelling, politics, international current affairs, all the arts of literature, film, TV, theatre and music and he’s a devoted fan of American singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks who he calls the voice of his interior world. He loves Indian food, a gin and tonic that’s heavy on the g and light on the t, plus a glass or three of red wine. Well, it doesn’t make him a bad person.
Also by David Menon
Detective Superintendent Jeff Barton series.
No Questions Asked.
Straight Back - coming spring 2015.
DCI Sara Hoyland crime mystery series
Fall from Grace
Best Friend, Worst Enemy.
The Stephanie Marshall mysteries.
What Happened to Liam?
Could Max Burley Be a Killer? - coming early 2015.
The Murder in His Past.
The Wild Heart
Short story collections
Kind of Woman.
Once again this is for Maddie who has led me through this long dark tunnel and back into the light … and for those of my friends who stood by me whilst I waited for my dream to come true.
Gary Mitchell was a butcher. He’d inherited his late father’s business a few years ago and still kept the sign above the shop that read ‘G. Mitchell and Son’. The ‘G’ stood for George which had been his father’s name. Gary and his wife Debbie had been trying for years without any success and now that they were both in their early forties the clock was ticking away for Debbie especially so she’d decided to seek IVF treatment. They’d now been on it for a while and still it wasn’t producing any results which meant that Debbie was getting more desperate and more obsessive. Gary would’ve been happy to adopt but Debbie wouldn’t hear of it. She had to have her own children and not somebody else’s. It was a somewhat irrational disposition coming from a woman who was known for looking at things in an extremely rational way. Whilst Gary had been building up his business Debbie had gone to university as a slightly mature student and come out with a first class degree in management. She was now a senior manager with the local NHS trust and was responsible for strategic planning. She earned a salary that went way beyond what Gary took for himself from the business and they were comfortably off. After twenty years of marriage they knew each other inside out but Gary was certain his wife didn’t know about his little visits to Lucy across the road or any of the other times when he hadn’t been a saint as far as his marriage was concerned.
‘That was magic as always, Lucy Lou’ said Gary as he withdrew from inside her and fell onto his back. He was still hard. ‘Absolutely magic’.
Lucy swept her hand across his stomach and through the hairs on his chest. She rested the side of her head on his shoulder and breathed out a sigh of deep satisfaction. He always did it for her. He’d never let her down. If only he could consider her in ways that weren’t just to do with sex. He placed his arm across her back and held her to him. She didn’t want him to go. She never wanted him to go. But now the deed had been done she knew that a part of him would be wanting to sneak back across the road to spend the rest of the day in cosy domesticity with the delightful Debbie. Lucy had never liked Debbie. Even without the complication of sleeping with her husband, Lucy thought that Debbie was a pretentious snob who looked down on Lucy because she was a single Mum and the only resident of their short street who rented her house instead of being an owner occupier like the rest of them.
‘Have you had your Sunday dinner?’ she asked him rather lamely. It just seemed like the right thing to say for some unfathomable reason.
‘No’ Gary answered. He thought it was a bit of a strange question but he was used to that with Lucy. She could be an odd one at times. ‘We’re going to Jeff Barton’s barbecue later’.
‘We’ thought Lucy. That of course means Gary and Debbie. After the way he’d made her feel during their lovemaking it was like a sudden stab through the heart to hear him say ‘we’ and know that he wasn’t referring to her. Lucy wondered if there would ever come a time in her life when she would come first with a man. She’d always had to content herself with so little when it came to the pursuit of personal happiness. She’d had to hold her head up high knowing that none of her lovers had ever felt the same for her as she felt for them. She’d had to watch people leave her with apparent ease. It hadn’t seemed to bother them that much. None of them had seemed to care that they were breaking her heart. Of course they all made the right noises and gestures about how there was someone out there for her and that she was a beautiful girl and it wasn’t her it was them. All the usual bullshit aimed solely at helping them deal with whatever they had that passed for a conscience. She’d given everything to every man there’d been in her life and done whatever she could to meet their needs whilst watching them not giving a second thought for whatever she needed.
‘Oh right’ said Lucy. ‘I think the whole street is going’.
‘You are too then?’
‘Yes? But you ask like I shouldn’t be going’.
‘Well it … well it might be a bit awkward that’s all’.
‘Awkward for who?’
‘Lucy don’t take this the wrong way but you and me standing there large as life trying not to look at each other in that way and knowing that we’re making a complete fool out of poor old Debbie’ said Gary. ‘It just doesn’t seem right or fair’.
It never ceased to amaze Lucy how married men who have affairs with other women display a level of insensitivity that is mind blowing. Nobody had ever cared whether or not she’d been made a fool of. But the little wife at home must always have her feelings spared.
‘So it’s okay for me to sit here all alone after you’ve gone and eat beans on toast for my Sunday dinner whilst you and your wife enjoy yourselves at Jeff’s barbecue? It’s only across the road, Gary. I’ll be able to bloody hear you’.
‘Won’t Bradley be back soon?’
‘Yes but what’s that got to do with it?’ said Lucy who thanked God for her son Bradley. Without him to be responsible for she’d probably have topped herself years ago although that didn’t stop her from feeling guilty that he’d never had a Dad.
‘Do you want Debbie to find out?’
‘What kind of a question is that?’
‘Because that could mean Hell for me’.
Lucy stroked Gary’s arm. ‘Baby, I’m sorry’ she pleaded, suddenly afraid that he might call time on their affair as being too much trouble. She always regretted asserting herself in case it led to her losing what precious little she had. And at the moment that meant looking forward to Gary coming over a couple of times a week and being hers just for that short time he was there. ‘I just got a bit carried away. Of course I don’t want Debbie to find out. I don’t want this to end’.
‘Good’ said Gary. ‘And look on second thoughts there’ll be plenty of people there for us to get lost in the crowd. You can go if you want to’.
‘Only if you’re sure it won’t make things difficult for you? I mean, I’ve got plenty to do here like the ironing and stuff’.
‘I am sure’ said Gary. ‘You deserve to have a good time as much as anybody, Lucy. But best to try and stay away from me as much as you can whilst you’re there’.
‘Okay’ said Lucy who wanted to burst into tears but would wait until after he’d gone.
‘You wouldn’t go off with anybody else, would you? Not in front of me. I’d hate to see that’.
‘You know I wouldn’t do that to you’ said Lucy.
‘Would you like a coffee before you go?’
‘I’ve been banned from having coffee’ said Gary. ‘Debbie read somewhere that it can have an adverse affect on a man’s fertility and you know how desperate she is to get pregnant’.
Lucy wanted to scream. ‘Tea then?’
‘Yeah great and I’d love a biscuit if you’ve got one. I need to put some energy back in my body after you’ve been abusing it’.
‘I’d better bring you up the whole packet then’.
‘It’s nature, not nurture, Annabel’ said Jeff, sitting in his back garden with his sister Annabel. ‘Just because Toby is surrounded by gays doesn’t mean to say he’ll grow up to be gay himself. I grew up to be straight because that’s who I am. Our Lewis grew up to be gay because that’s who he is’.
‘Yeah, I get that’ said Annabel who’d been thinking about her son Kyle and his apparent sexuality. ‘So it wouldn’t bother you if Toby grew up to be gay?’
‘No of course it wouldn’t’ said Jeff. ‘I’m surprised you’re even questioning it’.
‘Jeff, I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m not homophobic. It’s just that I didn’t expect my fifteen year-old son to have his sexuality awakened by a forty-three year old man’.
‘Annabel, Tim Ryder was breaking the law’.
‘Yes I know but I thought he was a good man. A man who I thought was my friend’.
‘So hang on, is this about you or about Kyle?’
‘Jeff, that’s not fair’.
‘So explain it to me then’.
‘Tim Ryder was only using me to get to my son. I’m finding that hard, Jeff. I’m finding it hard to think that he was looking at Kyle in that way and that I had led him to Kyle’.
Jeff held her hand. ‘I know you are, sweetheart. But Tim Ryder was a highly devious man and anybody could’ve fallen under his spell’.
‘And now the life of me and my son are full of social workers and therapists. He was examined by a doctor. If Kyle really is gay then I don’t have a problem with it. But he’s still a child, Jeff. He’s my child and I’m scared for him’.
‘What are you scared about?’
‘That Tim Ryder has marked him for life and he won’t be able to get above what he did to him to work out who he is’ Annabel explained, tearfully. ‘I’m sorry to keep banging on about this, Jeff’.
‘No need to apologise’ said Jeff reassuringly. ‘And now that you’re moving in here with Kyle we can talk about it whenever you like. But now I do need to get this barbecue started before everyone starts arriving’.
Annabel wiped her face with her fingers and tried to snap out of the decline she’d got into. ‘What do you want me to do to help?’
‘You’ve already made those wonderful big salads’.
‘I know but I can do more’ said Annabel.
‘I tell you what, Gary from two doors down is a butcher and he got me all the meat. He brought it over last night. It’s in the fridge on a big tray if you want to get that for me’.
‘Okay’ said Annabel. ‘By the way, where did Rebecca go?’
‘She went to the supermarket to get some more wine’ said Jeff. ‘She’ll be back soon’.
‘She’s a very pretty girl, Jeff, and she clearly has eyes for you. So are you going to do anything about it?’