Monday 17 June 2019

The Repenting Serpent - Wes Markin #BlogTour #Extract

The Repenting Serpent

Today I am pleased to be able to participate in the blog tour for The Repenting Serpent by Wes Markin.  My thanks go to Caroline Vincent at Bits about Books . 

About the Book

A vicious serial killer slithers from the darkness, determined to resurrect the ways of a long-dead civilisation.


When the ex-wife of one of DCI Michael Yorke’s closest allies is left mutilated and murdered, Yorke and his team embark on their greatest test yet. A  deeply personal case that will push them to their very limits.


As Yorke’s team are pulled further into the dark, the killer circles, preparing to strike again.


The Repenting Serpent is a true edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting page turner.


Today on my blog I have a sneaky extract from the book for you to sit back, relax and enjoy. The cover airs mystery and looks very inviting to me.

The Repenting Serpent – Wes Markin


                WITH A TUMBLER of whisky in one hand, and a photo of his dead sister in the other, he stared across the living room at the locked drawer he hid from the world.
                He sighed, leaned back on the sofa and let the spirit burn his throat.
                He took another look at the sister he’d so admired as a child, who in turn, had rarely acknowledged his own existence. He noticed the lines around her eyes which would now never deepen, and the dark hair that would never grey. He remembered his failed promise to her. And thought of her killer walking free.
                After replacing her photograph in the drawer with other memorabilia of his personal failings, including a faded photograph of Charlotte, his first love, he locked it and buried the key behind the clock on his mantelpiece.
                Despite ending his secretive act, Yorke still flinched when he heard his bedroom door open. He turned to acknowledge Patricia Wileman, his girlfriend of over two years now, standing there in a white-cotton nightie. They exchanged a smile, and as he opened his mouth to reassure her that he was on his way back to her, the mobile phone in his dressing-gown pocket rang.
                As he took the call, and listened to the unthinkable, he stared at Patricia. Even in this darkened hour, metres away, he knew she would see the horror in his eyes. She started across the room, knowing that when the call ended, she would need to be there for him.
                As he murmured his farewells, she embraced him.
                It was unusual for a man as experienced as DCI Michael Yorke to be so affected by evil, but when evil journeyed so close to home, as it had done tonight, no one was exempt.
                He sagged in Patricia’s arms.
* * *
DS Jake Pettman stroked one of the dead pigeon’s broken wings. He then replaced the lid on the shoebox, finished his third bottle of Summer Lightning beer, and replaced the bird underneath the sink.
                It was the third such delivery in three years, and rather than contact the station immediately, as Jake had done on the previous two occasions, he’d decided to keep this one all to himself.
                Two days on from the delivery, and he was no closer to explaining his reasons behind doing this. Not that this was a problem. He was the only one who knew about it. After peering in at his sleeping wife, Sheila, who was currently snuggled up with their two-year-old son, Frank, he returned to the kitchen, and the letter which had accompanied the shoebox lying by the sink.
                Jakey … how does it feel to not be able to fly anymore?
                Love Lacey x

                His phone rang. Even before he answered it, he sensed he was going to hear something that was going to turn his entire world upside down and make a dead bird in a box the least of his worries.
* * *
After taking the phone call, DI Emma Gardner wanted to cry. Instead, she went right into her daughter, Anabelle’s room, and held her close. The young girl woke and murmured something. Gardner felt momentarily reassured. She kissed her daughter on her head and laid her back down.
                She then took a deep breath, said goodbye to her husband, threw a handful of tictac’s into her mouth, and left, beginning what felt ominously like a journey to hell.
* * *
When Yorke arrived at DS Iain Brooke’s large cottage, pushed back into the Salisbury Plains, he stepped from the car and was immediately confronted by Gardner. 
                ‘Sir, I …’ She stopped and started to cry.
                Yorke reached out and held her cheek. He held it for a couple of seconds, made eye contact with her, and then embraced her.
                ‘Pathetic, I’m sorry,’ she said from his shoulder.
                ‘That’s ridiculous, Emma.’
                She stepped out of the embrace, rubbed tears away and said, ‘I’ll hold it together, sir.’
                ‘I know you will,’ Yorke said, reaching out to her cheek again. ‘That’s why this is yours.’
                She widened her swollen eyes. ‘There’s no one better to manage this one. It’s your incident room.’
                ‘No one better.’
                He turned to face the house. Gardner flanked him and Jake came up on the other side. He looked left and right at his two colleagues. Like him, neither were dressed appropriately for freezing weather. They had all left their homes with their minds reeling.
                In the November darkness, under stars that looked grey and sick, Yorke surveyed the cottage he’d frequented on several occasions before to enjoy dinner with DS Iain Brookes and his wife, Jessica. Tonight, sheltering death from the cold, it looked far from welcoming. In fact, the two glowing windows on either side of the front door looked like the eyes of a preying animal.

Chapter 1

AFTER PC SEAN Tyler had scribbled their names into the logbook, Yorke tore open his sealed bag and slipped on his over suit. From the second bag, he recovered some overshoes to cover his brogues.
Whilst passing some blue-and-yellow crime-scene tape, he heard the crunching of tic-tac’s from Gardner and felt the huge, reassuring hand of Jake, his closest friend, on the small of his back.
                He took a deep breath and checked, as he always did, the over suit covered his neck. The heating was clearly turned up high in this cottage, but he regularly felt an unexplainable tingle of cold on his neck at scenes like this.
                The walls around him creaked as they fended off the winds racing over the plains. On any other night Jessica Brookes might have felt safe and protected from the world’s aggression. But the world is so often underestimated, and tonight that aggression had found its way in. 
Metres from the living room, he heard Scientific Support Officer Lance Reynolds’ camera snapping away. He looked at his watch. It was quarter-past one.
                You have no right to do whatever you’ve done here tonight, whoever you are. Yorke thought. No right at all.
                They turned into the living room.
                Sprawled out on a sheepskin rug that was once cream, Jessica had spread huge wings of blood. She looked like a crimson angel frozen mid-flight. Her breasts had been covered already with a blood-stained plastic sheet, but there could be no dignity in a death like this. Patricia Wileman, the Divisional Surgeon as well as Yorke’s lover, clearly disagreed. Patricia had left Yorke’s house merely a minute before him, but she was already hard at work. He watched her examine the body, treating it like a piece of priceless artwork. It was surreal to think that merely hours before they’d been making love.
                She looked up at him. She had her facemask on so she offered him a raised eyebrow – her only way of expressing support.
                Reynolds, nicknamed ‘the Elf’ due to his light feet and dexterity, was also diligently working. He manoeuvred around the clusters of SOCOs he controlled, darting in and out, wielding the camera like a machine sucking answers from its materials rather than just documenting them.
                Yorke felt Jake lift his hand from his back, and then start gagging beside him. He glanced up at the big man. ‘You need time?’
                ‘No, I’ll be fine.’
                He then glanced at Gardner to his other side and considered the same question. She stared ahead with unflinching eyes. Driven after her wobble before outside. Driven like him. Like he hoped they all would be in the times to come.
                They stopped a metre from the body, allowing Reynolds the space to weave.
                In a world of exploding camera flashes, you would be mistaken for thinking that Jessica’s eyes were opening and closing; that her lips were curling up and down into a huge smile; that she was desperate to throw off death’s old clothes and join in the investigative dance. The reality was that her eyes were half closed and her mouth was sloped at an unusual angle. He recognized Jessica behind her twisted expressions, but wished he didn’t. The kindly host who had welcomed him into her house for dinner with her family on more than one occasion.
                Patricia lifted Jessica’s purpling top lip and the flash of Reynold’s camera burnt the image of her clenched teeth into Yorke’s mind. His eyes fell to her plastic-shrouded chest again.
                ‘What’s happened to her?’
                Patricia looked at him again with the same raised eyebrow. Warning or reassurance? Yorke wasn’t sure this time.
                ‘It is particularly bad,’ Patricia said, pulling the plastic sheet off.
                ‘Ah, Jesus,’ Jake said. He turned and left at pace.
                Jessica had been sliced open and her ribcage jerked apart. Her breasts flopped down against her side.
                Yorke sucked in air. He wanted to turn away too. Desperately. He forced himself to stare. He heard Gardner muttering beside him, but her words suddenly seemed incomprehensible. 
                ‘Her heart has been taken,’ Patricia said.
                Rain clattered against the window. 
                ‘And flesh has been removed from both of her thighs.’
                Why?’ Gardner’s voice was clear now. An instinctive question, but a futile one.
                ‘I don’t know, but the pieces were large, five inches by two.’
                Yorke took several steps backwards as Patricia re-covered Jessica’s chest.  
                ‘Emma, go and get some fresh air with Jake,’ he said. Gardner nodded. ‘Sir.’
                He watched her venture outside the house to the preferable onslaught of rain and wind.
                He took several steps back, trying to focus on what he knew. 
                Someone had called this in anonymously at quarter-past twelve. They had the location of this call, but the telephone box had been outside of any CCTV coverage, so no visual. Some officers would already be picking up CCTV footage in the vicinity to see if they could get a view on the caller arriving and leaving the area.
                At least there were no more bodies in this house. DS Iain Brookes and Jessica had been divorced for over a year now and their twelve-year-old son was staying at his place tonight. Family Liaison Officer Bryan Kelly and two other officers had gone to break the news. Yorke rubbed his face with his gloved hands. A whirlwind was about to descend on their lives.
                A whirlwind that was familiar to Yorke. 
                He followed the SOCOs with his eyes as they dusted for prints, resampled fibres, photographed and in some instances, sketched. 
                Breaking his trance, he headed outside and surveyed the area again. The cottages here were large and expensive. Jessica had been a partner in a lucrative accountancy firm. There was sufficient land between each one to ensure that an intruder could get to the house unseen if they came on foot. Neighbours were still close enough to be seen though, and some flocked to their gardens and porches. They shivered, not just because it was cold, but because death had invaded their neighbourhood. Door-to-door would start almost immediately and PolSA and some police dogs would be joining the investigation. He bypassed Exhibits Officer Andrew Waites, a notoriously unapproachable man, swooping for a cigarette butt in the garden. Then, he stood with Jake and Gardner at the side of the incident van.
                ‘Okay, Emma, head back and get the incident room ready, please. And talk to Price. Ensure the press, who will be here any second no doubt, don’t get anything they don’t need yet.’
                She nodded, wiped away a tear and headed away.
                ‘Sorry, sir. I just lost it in there,’ Jake said.
                ‘Shut up. It was a normal reaction.’
                ‘I just, you know, saw Sheila’s face.’ Yorke paused.
                ‘Selfish, I know. Poor Iain. Fuck.’ 
                ‘Not selfish – normal. It could be anyone. That’s the point. That’s why we will get whoever fucking did this.’
                ‘She’s back again. A year to the day,’ Jake said.
                Yorke considered, and raised an eyebrow. ‘Another bird?’
                ‘Another. Number three. Posted inside the UK again. Is it any wonder I saw Sheila’s face in there?’
                ‘It’s not going to happen. Lacey cannot come back … won’t come back. If she does —’
                Yorke’s phone rang. He looked at the screen. Iain. He knows already. The news had been broken.
                ‘Sir, my son, Ewan, he’s gone. Jesus, I only just found out his mother is dead, and he’s gone too.’
                ‘Don’t move.’
                He gestured at his police-issue Lexus. Jake nodded to acknowledge the request. They were gone within twenty seconds.
* * *
Wow what an opening and I am so glad that I have this book in my ever growing TBR (to be read) pile to start in the next couple of months.  Watch this space for my full review as soon as I have read the same.

About the Author

Wes Markin is a hyperactive English teacher, who loves writing crime fiction with a twist of the macabre.

Having finished 'The Repenting Serpent,' sequel to 'One Last Prayer for the Rays,' he is now working on the third instalment of DCI Michael Yorke's wild ride. He is also the author of 'Defined,' a prequel to his DCI Yorke novels, which takes the reader back to his blood-soaked university days.

Born in 1978, Wes grew up in Manchester, UK. After graduating from Leeds University, he spent fifteen years as a teacher of English, and has taught in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Now as a teacher, writer, husband and father, he is currently living in Harrogate, UK.

Social Media Links

The DCI Michael York Thrillers: 

Book 1 - One Last Prayer for the Rays

Book 2 - The Repenting Serpent

To review The Repenting Serpent just follow these links:

Check out the rest of the blog tour with these fabulous blogs:  

My thanks to Wes Markin for providing this excerpt and also Caroline @ Bits about Books for my spot on the blog tour.  

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