A Death In Didsbury is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online stores.
When a woman is shot dead on a quiet street of trendy shops, Detective Sergeant Kay Wood is reunited with an old acquaintance, and has to work with retired intelligence analyst Irwin Baker to help them out.
Unexpected violence flares on the streets of the Manchester suburb of Didsbury, and the investigation is soon tangled up in links to Russia and crimes dating back to the Second World War. As the intelligence services are drawn into the mystery, two witnesses find their lives turned up side down, and threatened, by their connection to the victim.
The lowest I can price my books on Amazon is 99 cents. In the UK and Eurozone, because of VAT, they price match to 0.99 (pounds or Euros). In other shops- India, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada- it matches the local currency. But, in all those places, I could price them lower. So, I just went through my catalogue and lowered the prices of my cheapest books. The following are now available at bargain prices, if you’re in the right place-
The bunker echoed with its first human sounds in decades, the slap and squeak of rubber soles on marble flooring.
A slight figure sprinted out of the corridor into the three storey atrium, hurdled a chaise and slid to a halt in a crouch. With a sweep of her legs, she turned to face back the way she had come. There may have been the hint of amusement in the eyes as she looked back down the corridor.
Her black hair was cut haphazardly, and a scarf covered her mouth so she didn’t have to breathe all the dust she stirred up. Only her eyes and a slit of dark skin around them were visible. Dressed in loose trousers, dark body suit and light jacket and with an old courier bag over her shoulders, she had weapons and exploration equipment carefully secreted about her body. She was ready for the men who chased her.
Her name was Maxine, and it was her job to be the decoy. She was enjoying it more than she should.
She couldn’t yet see her pursuers, but they made enough noise to compensate for that. They were doing what they were supposed to, following her into the residential wing so she could lay a trap for them. Now that she had them here, she had to work out what that trap would be.
White circles in the ceiling were light domes, diffusing the daylight far above that had been channelled through mirrored light tubes. Rectangles set into the wall lit up with uncertain flickers. They would be powered by the mini nuclear plant far below the floor. Even after all these years, the automated systems still worked, which was impressive. Maxine studied the newly illuminated room, doing a tactical assessment.
The atrium was circular, with only one entrance on its lower level, the one Maxine had entered by. A semi-circular balcony looked down from the level of the first floor opposite the corridor, a dark wood double door at the mid point. Curved stairs led up to the balcony, and a jumbled mix of marble and bronze statues were gathered around the walls. So far, so much like the plans Maxine had seen.
Darting toward the nearest statue, Maxine jumped up on to its hunched shoulders and pushed off from its head to grab the balustrade of the stairs, clambering over them. It saved her whole seconds over the less flamboyant route from the foot of the stairs.
The double doors swung open easily, opening onto a darkened room. As more motion sensing lights turned on, Maxine closed the doors behind herself and drew a seat across to barricade them. It wouldn’t hold for long, but she only wanted to create a small delay. She studied the tableaux revealed by the lamps.
She was in a large dining room, dominated by a long table. Three desiccated figures were sat before their final suppers. Judging by their attire, two women and a man. One woman was sat nearly upright in her chair, head twisted toward the door and mouth open in what could as easily be a smile as pain. The other woman, across the table, had slumped forward into whatever she had been eating.
The man sat at the head of the table. There was something lopsided about his head. As Maxine neared him, she recognised what was wrong. Most of the left side of his skull was missing. She walked around the back of his chair and there, still clutched in the leather wrapped bones of his right hand, was a large semi automatic pistol. The fingers snapped off as she pulled the weapon from them. On the table beside the man’s meal was a box of cartridges.
Outside the room, there were voices, shouts of orders, then a hammering as her pursuers tried to force their way in. She held up the gun. Pulling back the slide to chamber a new round, she didn’t like the feel of it. She had seen too many guns disintegrate under test firing to trust this one. There was a .38 revolver in a holster under her arm that she did trust, and a 9mm on her hip, but she wasn’t sure the guys on the other side of the door were worth the expense of bullets. She felt like improvising.
False windows in the walls looked out onto idealised visions of the world before, back when there had been abundance. They looked like nothing Maxine had ever seen. She imagined they bore little resemblance to the world that had led the occupants to build this bunker, either. Under the windows were long tables laid out with the pretty and pointless possessions the rich folk hiding here had felt were important. An array of big watches caught Maxine’s eye. There was a pile of pashminas and shawls in silk and cashmere beside the watches. She wrapped one of the soft wool scarves around her fist and picked up the heaviest, most unnecessarily knurled of the watches.
Beside the doors, there was an override switch for the room’s lights. Maxine turned the lights off and stood beside the switch as the battering on the door began to splinter the chair barring it. It gave way, finally, with a creak and crack, and the door pushed open. Two figures entered, back lit from the atrium.
“She be here?” the nearest one said.
“Must be. None else to go to.”
“Why no lights?” said a voice from the balcony.
“She hide. We find her.”
“We find her, we do her good.” the nearest one said.
The figure slumped against the concrete didn’t acknowledge the compliment beyond flinching away from the sound of his assailant’s voice.
Something heavy rumbled over the bridge above them at speed. Even as Saturday rolled over into Sunday, there were still vehicles on the motorway.
The bulky, black clad figure stood over his victim, blocking the view of anything but his dark shape. Danny registered, barely, the light rustling noise that accompanied his assailant’s movements, but he was even less able to understand it than he had been before the beating started.
“Of course, being so tough has just meant I had to hurt you more.”
It’s the Summer solstice.
Maria wants to find her cousin, who has been put into a children’s home run by a company called Vantage and disappeared.
Tomas wants to help Maria, and find out who Vantage are bribing to get all their contracts whilst he’s doing it.
Kay Wood has just landed her first ever murder case- a body pulled out of the Irwell with a strange symbol carved into his chest.
Irwin Baker has been called by his old boss at MI6, asking if he can help Manchester Police investigate a murder with links to killings in Iraq.
It’s going to be a very long day for all of them.
When Maria and Tomas find dark secrets in Vantage’s offices, they find themselves in great danger, hunted by a killer who leaves his signature in the bodies of his victims. Can Kay and Irwin get to them before the killer does?
Solstice is out now for the Kindle. It’s the second adventure featuring Irwin Baker, and finds him helping Greater Manchester Police investigate a murder with ties back to corruption in the early days of the occupation of Iraq. Taking place on the day of the Summer solstice, it’s a race against time to stop a killer with a grisly signature and uncover the horrors that go on behind the doors of a privatised children’s home.
Tammy, Tatiana and Miko- enhanced humans working for a mysterious Artificial Intelligence known only as Ruby Horse- have been sent to an Eastern European forest to shut down a secret lab which has started offering combat robots to the highest bidder.
“General Ordnance Division, shortened to GOD, had been the prefix attached to the model names of the original series of military robots out of the old United States of America. The name, with all its overtones, had stuck and been used to describe any robotic device seen in proximity to a human in uniform. From the humblest personal load carrier all the way up to the autonomous stealth cruisers- some of which were reputed to still be patrolling the Pacific and committing acts of piracy for spares and consumables- each one was a GOD.
With the exception of ghost navies and other legends most of the gun-toting GODs had done away with one another in the resource wars which had scarred the years before the emergence of the Patrons. But there were a lot of surplus unarmed GODs knocking around, and numerous civilian versions had appeared based upon the tech. GODs, particularly the older ones, were simple by the standards of current Intelligences. They were easy to work on, though modifications tended to have unintended consequences which were usually of the dangerous kind.”
After the Resource wars and ecological collapse, humanity has been saved by the mysterious artificial intelligences known as the Patrons. Facing open hostility and violence, the Patrons have recruited human enforcers. Part human, part machine, the Mongrels keep the peace and do their Patrons’ dirty work.
The Kindle Fire HD might be a smaller iPad alternative, at least as far as content goes. On top of ebooks, it also handles full colour content, audio and video and has a touch screen. You can tie it to your Lovefilm account and, unlike Apple, Amazon appear to treat their customers as grown ups when it comes to how they watch their content.
I’ll have a tablet eventually. I don’t know if it will be a Kindle Fire, but it’s on the list. It’s also a potential platform for the content I create, so I’m going to keep an eye on the specs.
Amazon have announced that they’re starting selling Kindle books in India. Their press release says that you can find all the Indian Kindle releases at www.amazon.com/kindlestoreindia, but I seem to get redirected to a page at amazon.com with nothing to suggest it’s their Indian subdivision.
India’s a huge market. It would be interesting to see what sorts of books do well there.
Apparently ebook readers are “soulless” and are destroying the written word. Or, at least, putting some bookshops out of business.
As someone who makes a little bit of money publishing books for the Kindle (and other ereaders) I’m bound to defend the little grey tablet. Ebooks and readers are a boon for writers and readers- indie writers can deliver stories to readers for less and still make a decent amount on each sale. They’re not so great for bookshops or publishers. I like wandering around a bookshop, and I’d hate to see any good ones close, but that’s not enough to persuade me to ban ereaders. If the Luddites want to find something to get really angry about which could cause long term damage to the nation’s literacy, they should worry about library closures.
Slashed is an energetic and over the top homage to the slasher movies of the eighties and beyond.
What happens when the madman in the mask isn’t the most dangerous person in the house?
When eight teenagers turn up unannounced and determined to have a party at Warden’s Lodge they are warned away by the grizzled old owner of the gas station nearby. Of course, they don’t pay any attention to him.
Over twenty years ago Warden’s Lodge was the scene of a horrible massacre when a prisoner on a work gang went crazy. He killed the three most powerful men in the county, as well as the guards and his fellow prisoners, then he disappeared. Ever since then the locals have kept their doors locked and their guns close.
When the teenagers set up camp in the Lodge it seems obvious what will happen. But they’re not what they seem, and there’s something waiting in the woods for them and the hidden killer. In one long night a lot of blood will flow, and Warden’s Lodge will never be the same again.
“Thirteen tales- from flash fiction to short stories- from Ian Pattinson. Encounter battling aliens, creepy graffiti, combat rats and the US Navy’s least popular ship, amongst others. What they lack in words, these stories make up for in ideas.”
I reckon one of this year’s breakout presents is going to be ebook readers. Amazon’s Kindle will most likely lead the pack, being cheaper than the competition and tied to the world’s biggest bookseller, but there are also Nooks and other readers.
Ian Pattinson’s Facts and Fictions is a regularly updated blog to read on your Kindle. You’ll get everything from Spinneyhead’s “Facts and Fictions” category, straight to your ebook reader. Content includes short stories, very short “fast fiction”, serialised snippets from works in progress and articles on writing. It gives you an insight into what I’m working on and details of the research I’m doing, methods I use and subjects which inspire me.
You can sign up for a 14 day free trial before committing to subscribe and then it’s a very low rate (99p in the UK, I don’t know exactly what in the US, but not much.)
Amazon is suffering from user fury again, but on a smaller scale than over their behaviour towards Wikileaks. They have recently been deleting books from their Kindle store without giving a reason beyond a generic statement that “these books were removed from sale for violating our content guidelines.” The content guidelines are very vague about what subject matter would be in violation, but the books removed have been primarily about adult incest fantasies. Not a subject that many people are comfortable with but not one which is explicitly barred from their site. What’s more, the banning of books has the appearance of being arbitrary, as other books with similar, or even more bizarre, subjects have not been banned.
Most likely, after a furore about a self-described paedophiles’ handbook a few weeks ago, Amazon have become more nervous about complaints and are knee-jerk jumping to ban almost anything which is complained about. They’re a commercial entity, they have every right to run their business this way. But it could harm them in the long run if they are seen to be doing the censors’ work for them and harming free speech. If the banning net is cast any wider every one of the independent authors publishing through Amazon would have reasons to be nervous. Sounds of Soldiers could be viewed as anti-American (to paraphrase one of the Dilbert collections, I’m not anti-American, I’m anti-idiot), and goodness knows there’s a lot of very loud, very dim Americans who’d gladly complain about that if they were told to. I reckon I’d be safe, but you never know. The best solution would be for Amazon to either include a list of subjects they will not sell (eg. incest, paedophilia, bestiality, biographies of talent show contestants etc.) and stick to it (not the preferred method, even if it would clear Jedward and SuBo from their shelves) or be more open, and more open to counter persuasion, with the people whose books they do ban.