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Authors: Robert Parker

Tags: #mafia, #scottish, #edinburgh, #scottish contemporary crime fiction, #conspiaracy

Snow Storm

BOOK: Snow Storm
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Snow Storm

 

Robert M G Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©
Robert M G Parker 2014

 

Acknowledgements

 

Firstly I’d like to thank my
wife Caroline, who not only puts up with me on a daily basis but
managed to see me through the writing of this novel. Why she does
all this, I’ll never know, but I’m quietly grateful.

I’d like to thank my mum for at
different times nagging, cajoling and persuading me into getting on
with it. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. I’d also like to thank
Monica for the same, and for editing and proofreading this, without
which, it’s doubtful anyone would be able to make sense of it.

Thank you to my friends and
family and to my esteemed colleagues, the fraud crew, without whose
ridicule and bad chat on a daily basis I might get ideas above my
station.

It feels good to cross the
finish line.

Contents

 

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Prologue

 


You must
have known this couldn’t go on forever.”

It was true.
Deep down the feeling had been there all along; the knowing that
all good runs must come to an end. But not like this. Even in his
worst imaginings he hadn’t pictured this, hadn’t accepted the
possibility if he was honest, not even now.


Did you
think I would just let this go on? Let you carry on with your
games, let you desecrate what was mine?”

He
had.


It’s all
about one of the fundamental laws of the universe you see. Every
action, no matter how small, has an equal and opposite reaction.
That’s how it works, and yet you somehow thought you could, what,
circumvent physics, avoid paying the piper? Thought you could just
keep taking without giving back? It doesn’t work like that.” The
figure glowed in the firelight, a demonic presence, taunting him,
the grin turning up at one corner of the mouth more than the other.
Twisted. Sneering. The features flickered as the flames rose. If
only it was just an apparition, a hallucination, some kind of
nightmare he could wake from.

He saw the
glint before he realised what it was, considered it with only child
like curiosity before it dawned on him with its full
consequences.


You are the
devil,” he said, without realising.

His captor
laughed manically, throwing his head back. “No, not quite,” he said
as he approached, the sneer returning to his face, “but you can say
hello to him for me.”

The pain did
not register at first. Not until he knew what was happening. And
then, it was all there was.

 

1

They were
having the
discussion
they normally did on a Monday morning, despite this being
Friday; the one about avoiding the bumps on the road. It didn’t
help that his head hurt more whenever she drove over one of the
many potholes Edinburgh City Council had seen fit to nurture while
ploughing their resources into their bottomless money pit of a tram
system. It was the discussion that revolved around the consequences
of hitting every drain cover and blemish on the road, the damage to
the cars tracking, the resulting tyre wear and the unshakeable
feeling he had regarding the likelihood the bottom was about to
fall out of the world while they simultaneously expired in a ball
of fire.

He was a defeatist. He’d
long since given in to that.

They bounced
and chicaned their way down the hill and onto Carrington Road,
pulling in between the Lothian and Borders Police Headquarters, the
Hogwarts-esque Fettes College and the determinedly modern Broughton
High School.


Ah well,
time for my morning exercise” he groaned, as he prepared to exit
for his hike across the park to work. He kissed her on the cheek to
avoid the lip balms stickiness and she laughed and pretended to fan
away last night’s alcohol fumes.

He opened the door and
caught site of a plastic sports bag hanging by its strings from a
lamp post.


Do you think
there’s a head in there?” he asked her.


You’re a
sick man” she replied and shook her head again as he walked
away.

By Monday morning it was
still there. By Tuesday his curiosity got the better of him and he
had to have a look.

He would spend years
wishing he hadn’t.

 

********************

 

 

Burke got the
call just after eight, after a fitful night’s sleep on account of
Rachel’s tossing and turning with the bump. He was in the middle of
a delicate operation, trying to extricate some toast from the
toaster using a butter knife. If the toaster wiped him out she
would simply view it as an acceptable loss in the larger picture,
which at this stage was dominated by a craving she had for sardines
on toast. Pregnancy had exposed her ruthless streak.

At first he
thought the dispatcher was joking. Then he remembered the time of
year. Of course, the festive season could always be relied upon to
bring out a nutter with a chip on their shoulder or just a
desperate need for attention.

He made
Rachel’s breakfast then headed across town to the scene of
crime.

Uniform had
already cordoned off Carrington Road and both schools staff were in
the process of sending any early arriving kids home. A tent had
been set up around the lamp post where a nosey passer-by had
discovered the contents of the bag and subsequently dropped them
unceremoniously on the pavement making a bit of a mess. For this
reason he’d opted to wear his second favourite boots.

The SOC team, along with
some lucky officers had been drafted in and were combing the area
for evidence.

Burke showed
his warrant card to the uniformed foetus standing by the tent and
entered, rousing Dr Brown from his intense scowling at the battered
looking somewhat smelly decapitated head of a middle aged man which
had come to a halt face down on the pavement. Various fluids seemed
to ooze from what looked a lot like an Edinburgh Marathon
finishers’ goodie bag.


Jim,” was
all the coroner said, before resuming his contemplative pose, like
a craggy faced Scottish version of Rodin’s Thinker with less hair,
more gut and a redness of face only a love of good wine could
provide.


Any idea as
to the cause of death?” Burke asked.


Well the
milder weather of the last couple of days and the resulting thaw
meant that he was in a bag of his own decomposing bodily fluids so
drowning is a possibility,” came the reply. “Though in all
seriousness it looks like he was probably dead before they hacked
him up. We’ll know more once I’ve had a closer look back on the
slab.”


Look
familiar in any way? Anything you’ve seen like this
before?”


Nope.
Clearly a statement if ever I saw one though.”


Any ideas as
to the time of death?” Burke asked feeling like it was a long
shot.


Well the
change in weather allows for more of a margin of error but a head
in this condition, temperature below zero, four days,” Brown
replied without batting an eyelid.


How do you
know that?” Burke scoffed.


There are
body parts in body farms in the most unlikely places just
decomposing away and all so I can tell you it’s been four days. You
don’t automatically end up in a lecture theatre when you donate
yourself these days Jim.”


Noted,”
Burke replied, suppressing the urge the farmer’s son in him had to
ask if there were diversification grants available for that sort of
thing.

He made his
way to the station in Gayfield Square, succumbing to the urge to
pick up a triple espresso and a smoked salmon and cream cheese
bagel. After destroying that, he fired up the e-cigarette Rachel
had given him -or rather forced on him- inhaling the clinically
clean vapours and the accompanying sense of hollow disappointment
at the lack of burning in the back of his throat. Then he polished
off a crème egg. Nothing was ever enough anymore.

This
development was frustrating. He could feel a migraine starting to
take shape at the corner of his left eye.

 

********************

 

 

The phone rang,
disturbing Petr as he made coffee. He wasn’t one of life’s
multi-taskers and resented the interruption to his routine. The
boss must still be in the shower, unable to answer, no surprise
given last night’s session and the fact he’d taken enough hard
liquor to put a rocket in orbit.

The caller had an accent
corrupted by time spent in the west and announced himself vaguely
as Oleg. He didn’t try to keep abreast of the boss’s contacts,
didn’t really care as long as the money kept rolling in and if he
thought about it, didn’t really want to know.

The boss looked like a
man with heavy cares these days. Just went to show, money wasn’t
everything.

He climbed
the marble staircase and made his way through the gold encrusted
master suite, taking care to knock on the en-suites door and wait
for the customary “yes!” that indicated his employer wasn’t in too
compromising a state, and entered.

The boss
stood in the middle of the tiled floor engulfed in steam, a normal
size bath towel barely concealing vast rolls of flab. Petr had long
suspected he would one day meet his end at the point of a
harpoon.

The hooded bloodshot eyes
glowered questioningly and Petr handed over the phone.


Oleg” was
all he said as the boss nodded in knowing appreciation.

As he exited he heard
some mumblings followed by an almighty high-pitched crash. He
turned to see the cause was the crystal bowl that normally housed
the bath oils making sudden contact with the mirror and the glass
sink below.

The boss looked at him
and shrugged breathing heavily. “Clear this up if you would. Oh and
pack a bag. I’m leaving for Edinburgh at noon.”

Petr sighed. It seemed
nobody cared for his routine this morning.

 

********************

 

 

Burke knocked on the
DCI’s door and upon hearing the entry granted grunt made his way
inside. DCI Gray sat at his institutional MDF desk surrounded by
institutional MDF shelves containing his various institutional
trinkets; the pictures of the kids, a golfing trophy, a
suspiciously masonic looking plaque commending him for something or
other and a photo of him with Teenie and Tynie the Hearts mascot
tigers.

Gray focussed
on the wide screen in front of him and motioned for Burke to take a
seat, his eyes never leaving the display as he worked the mouse
back and forth irritably. “I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this
is a right royal pain in the arse Jim,” he said, finally giving him
a cursory look in the eye before flitting his gaze back to the
screen.

BOOK: Snow Storm
3.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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