About the book
A brand new DCI Jude Satterthwaite crime mystery from the bestselling Jo Allen.
When one-hundred-year-old Violet Ross is found dead at Eden’s End, a luxury care home hidden in a secluded nook of the Lake District’s Eden Valley it’s tragic, of course, but not unexpected. Except for the instantly recognisable look in her lifeless eyes… that of pure terror.
DCI Jude Satterthwaite heads up the investigation, but as the deaths start to mount up it’s clear that he, and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran need to uncover a long-buried secret before the killer strikes again…
The second in the unmissable, Lake District-set, DCI Jude Satterthwaite series.
Detective Sergeant Ashleigh O’Halloran took a moment to rearrange the papers on her desk and enjoy the Friday afternoon luxury of choosing what to do next. There was no shortage of options, all jostling for primacy within the shortest possible timescale, but it was refreshingly unusual not to have a meeting scheduled, a queue of messages or a long list of demands from her colleagues, from lawyers, from prosecutors, social workers or probation officers, all demanding to be done yesterday. Casting an eye over her to-do list, she scanned the options. A report on an assault case – suspect arrested, remorseful confession forthcoming and only the paperwork to complete – at least meant she’d have something ticked off the list by the end of Friday afternoon. That would do. She turned back to her laptop, just as Jude Satterthwaite opened the door to the open-plan office and paused on the threshold.
Jude was a mighty presence in the office, one you couldn’t ignore, a man whose attraction stemmed from inside rather than out. Ashleigh, who appreciated any kind of beauty – male or female, natural or man-made – couldn’t rank his looks in the same bracket as her estranged husband, Scott, but nevertheless allowed herself a moment to look at him out of the corner of her eye. Not that he wouldn’t notice, because as a senior detective he had an eye for detail and automatically kept track of everything around him. He must be used to the attention by now because she wasn’t the only person, in the office or out of it, who couldn’t seem to stop watching him. Dark hair, close-cropped to the point of severity; smoke-grey eyes that saw everything with suspicion and cynicism and hid, she was sure, an angry heart; sharp cheekbones in too thin a face. All detracted from what should have been a handsome whole, but on the rare occasions he chose to employ it, his smile engaged and included the coolest opponent.
‘Doddsy.’ Jude swooped across the room, long strides taking him past her in a breeze of masculinity to where DI Christopher Dodd, known to all as Doddsy, was deep in conversation with another of their colleagues. ‘Spare me a minute, if you have one.’
So it wasn’t her he was after, though her turn would come. Jude made a point of going round all those he worked with to keep up with what was going on, even when he wasn’t involved at anything other than a supervisory level in any of their ongoing investigations. Fridays were a favoured time, if he wasn’t otherwise occupied. Realising she’d stared too long and someone other than Jude was bound to notice, she turned back to her computer.
It was five minutes before her phone rang. Glancing down at it, she recognised the number with a sinking heart. She’d cleared out her contacts list in a symbolic purging of her old life when she’d moved up to Cumbria a couple of months before and Scott’s had been the first number to go, but she should still have known. She’d thought of the devil and he’d put out his horns. You didn’t shed a man as persistent as Scott just by leaving him and starting a new life elsewhere.
She stared at the phone for a moment while it rang out, resisting him but lacking the resolve to cut him off unanswered. In the end it was the barely suppressed annoyance of the constable at the next desk that drove her to answer it, in as business-like a manner as possible. ‘Ashleigh O’Halloran speaking.’ Formality was her friend, the best way to keep trouble at a distance.
‘Ash. What the hell is this?’
‘Scott.’ She lowered her voice. ‘I’m at work just now. This isn’t a good time.’
‘It’ll never be a good time, will it? We need to talk. I’ve handed in my notice to try and make things work with you and what do I find when I get home? A letter from a solicitor? Have you gone mad? You don’t really want a divorce.’
Thanks so much to Vicky at Aria Fiction for giving me this incredible extract to share today!
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