Read an second extract from this mystery novel featuring my rugged and flawed Portsmouth detective where I match the text with some of the location shots.
What began as the hunt for a missing man becomes the search for a ruthless killer...
The DI Andy Horton series is set in the Solent area of Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and the surrounding areas on the South Coast of England.
A telephone call from a frantic Sergeant Cantelli to say that his nephew, Johnnie Oslow, is missing cuts short Detective Inspector Horton’s sailing trip to France. Summoned back to the Isle of Wight, Horton learns that Johnnie has not shown up for racing during Cowes Week, as previously arranged.
Read an extract of DEATH SURGE or search inside the novel at Amazon
‘There’s been a fire at the Hilsea Lines, the old bastions, sir.’
That wasn’t usually Horton's province unless it was arson, and even then uniform would deal with it and report it to the fire investigation officer. But he knew why he was being informed, and he felt a cold shiver run down his spine. They had a body. This was confirmed by the officer’s next words.
‘Any ID?’ Horton asked anxiously, unable to stop himself thinking about Johnnie.
‘I don’t know, sir. They didn’t say.’
‘I’m on my way.’
Hastily, he locked up. As he made for the north of the city he mentally ran through what he knew of the bastions that formed Hilsea Lines. There were several of them, originally built to protect the north of the island from attack in 1544. Since then they had been rebuilt, some time he thought, in the 1700s, and again, he seemed to recall, in 1871 with the renewed threat of a French invasion, which had never happened. They had belonged to the army, providing barracks, ammunition stores and a series of tunnels beneath the earth mounds, before becoming derelict and overgrown with grass, shrubs and trees. But some years ago (he forgot when), the Hilsea Lines had been designated a conservation area with a series of nature trails around the moat and the creek which made Portsmouth an island; or rather it would have done, but for the two road bridges over it, and the motorway on the western shores.
Was it Johnnie, he thought fearfully? But it couldn’t be, because the bastions were about four miles from where Johnnie had last been seen at the southern end of Portsmouth. But despite telling himself that several times as he made his way through the dark, humid night, he couldn’t shake off the terrible feeling that he was about to look upon the charred remains of Cantelli’s nephew.