9780060544386

Friend Devil

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780060544386

  • ISBN10:

    0060544384

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-01-05
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Summary

Two murders . . . two towns . . .A woman sits in a wheelchair perched on a cliff high above the sea, her throat slit from ear to ear . . .In a maze of narrow alleys behind a market square, a teenaged girl has been murdered after a night of drunken revelries with her friends.A pair of horrific crimes, the first-a seemingly senseless murder of a helpless paraplegic-falls to Inspector Annie Cabbot, on loan to a local police department. The terrible death of young Hayley Daniels becomes Chief Inspector Alan Banks's investigation.But shattering revelations threaten to awaken the slumbering demons of earlier, darker times, and more blood is in the offing when the two cases brutally and unexpectedly collide.

Excerpts

Friend of the Devil

Chapter One

She might have been staring out to sea, at the blurred line where the gray water meets the gray sky. The same salt wind that rushed the waves to shore lifted a lock of her dry hair and let it fall against her cheek. But she felt nothing; she just sat there, her expressionless face pale and puffy, clouded black eyes wide open. A flock of seagulls quarreled over a shoal of fish they had spotted close to shore. One of them swooped low and hovered over the still shape at the cliff edge, then squawked and headed back to join the fray. Far out to sea, a freighter bound for Norway formed a red smudge on the horizon. Another seagull flew closer to the woman, perhaps attracted by the movement of her hair in the wind. A few moments later, the rest of the flock, tired of the squabble over fish, started to circle her. Finally, one settled on her shoulder in a grotesque parody of Long John Silver's parrot. Still, she didn't move. Cocking its head, it looked around in all directions like a guilty schoolboy in case someone was watching, then it plunged its beak into her ear.

Sunday mornings were hardly sacrosanct to Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. After all, he didn't go to church, and he rarely awoke with such a bad hangover that it was painful to move or speak. In fact, the previous evening he had watched The Black Dahlia on DVD and had drunk two glasses of Tesco's finest Chilean cabernet with his reheated pizza funghi. But he did appreciate a lie-in and an hour or two's peace with the newspapers as much as the next man. For the afternoon, he planned to phone his mother and wish her a happy Mother's Day, then listen to some of the Shostakovich string quartets he had recently purchased from iTunes and carry on reading Tony Judt's Postwar. He found that he read far less fiction these days; he felt a new hunger to understand, from a different perspective, the world in which he had grown up. Novels were all well and good for giving you a flavor of the times, but he needed facts and interpretations, the big picture.

That Sunday, the third in March, such luxury was not to be. It started innocently enough, as such momentous sequences of events often do, at about eight-thirty, with a phone call from Detective Sergeant Kevin Templeton, who was on duty in the Western Area Major Crimes squad room that weekend.

"Guv, it's me. DS Templeton."

Banks felt a twinge of distaste. He didn't like Templeton, would be happy when his transfer finally came through. There were times when he tried to tell himself it was because Templeton was too much like him, but that wasn't the case. Templeton didn't only cut corners; he trampled on far too many people's feelings and, worse, he seemed to enjoy it. "What is it?" Banks grunted. "It had better be good."

"It's good, sir. You'll like it."

Banks could hear traces of obsequious excitement in Templeton's voice. Since their last run-in, the young DS had tried to ingratiate himself in various ways, but this kind of phony breathless deference was too Uriah Heep for Banks's liking.

"Why don't you just tell me?" said Banks. "Do I need to get dressed?" He held the phone away from his ear as Templeton laughed.

"I think you should get dressed, sir, and make your way down to Taylor's Yard as soon as you can."

Taylor's Yard, Banks knew, was one of the narrow passages that led into The Maze, which riddled the south side of the town center behind Eastvale's market square. It was called a "yard" not because it resembled a square or a garden in any way, but because some bright spark had once remarked that it wasn't much more than a yard wide. "And what will I find there?" he asked.

"Body of a young woman," said Templeton. "I've checked it out myself. In fact, I'm there now."

"You didn't—"

"I didn't touch anything, sir. And between us, PC Forsythe and me have got the area taped off and sent for the doctor."

"Good," said Banks, pushing aside the Sunday Times crossword he had hardly started, and looking longingly at his still-steaming cup of black coffee. "Have you called the super?"

"Not yet, sir. I thought I'd wait till you'd had a butcher's. No sense in jumping the gun."

"All right," said Banks. Detective Superintendent Catherine Gervaise was probably enjoying a lie-in after a late night out to see Orfeo at Opera North in Leeds. Banks had seen it on Thursday with his daughter Tracy and enjoyed it very much. He wasn't sure whether Tracy had. She seemed to have turned in on herself these days. "I'll be there in half an hour," he said. "Three-quarters at the most. Ring DI Cabbot and DS Hatchley. And get DC Jackman there, too."

"DI Cabbot's still on loan to Eastern, sir."

"Of course. Damn." If this was a murder, Banks would have liked Annie's help. They might have problems on a personal level, but they still worked well as a team.

Banks went upstairs and showered and dressed quickly, then back in the kitchen, he filled his travel mug with coffee to drink on the way, making sure the top was pressed down tight. More than once he'd had a nasty accident with a coffee mug. He turned everything off, locked up and headed for the car.

He was driving his brother's Porsche. Though he still didn't feel especially comfortable in such a luxury vehicle, he was finding that he liked it better each day. Not so long ago, he had thought of giving it to his son Brian, or to Tracy, and that idea still held some appeal. The problem was that he didn't want to make one of them . . .

Friend of the Devil. Copyright © by Peter Robinson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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