Today I am pleased to be able to participate in the blog tour for Dangerous Score by Michael Bearcroft. My thanks go to Rachel's Random Resources.
Football hero Jason Clooney is riding high....until a date with a beautiful woman lands him in trouble with the media, and into battle with the criminal underworld.
Now against a backdrop of an uncertain professional future, Jason has to confront disturbing revelations surrounding his new girlfriend’s family. From football action on the pitch to behind the scenes plotting. To battles with a criminal gang and constant media attention, all adding to the toughest challenges he has ever faced in life, love, as a player and as a man.
Now that the prodigal son had returned home he got his mother’s equivalent of the fattened calf, which meant they sat down to Jason’s favourite meal. Melon followed by mum’s own special homemade turkey and vegetable pie, with mashed potatoes and sweetcorn all to be finished before bananas, raspberries and home-made ice cream. You certainly wouldn’t have wanted to play football after eating that lot!
Afterwards they all helped clear up, then mugs of coffee in hand it was back to the conservatory. Clooney tried to keep them talking about what they would do in Canada, but Sue was having none of it, always bringing the conversation back to him, trying to fathom out just what was going on in his life.
His dad had printed off loads of stuff he had found out about Thresham on the computer. Sue thought Jess looked a real stunner in her photos, and worried for the well-being of this young woman she had never even met. They watched some TV in the lounge, then after Mrs Clooney retired Jason and his dad opened the brandy he had bought, while John pressured him with more of what he had discovered online. Once Clooney senior was sure his wife was out of earshot, he spoke quietly, seriously.
‘I’ve found out a lot about this Thresham,’ he said. ‘Old friends in the police force, revenue and business people have all convinced me, how dangerous he is.’
Martin Thresham was the youngest of seven kids, brought up, or should that be dragged up in a council house in Raunds, Northamptonshire. Martin was nearly expelled at eight when he hit a fellow pupil with a house brick. Age twelve he was convicted of shoplifting and demanding money with menace from two eight-year-old girls. He was taken into care, but three years later he was banged up in a young offenders’ institute. He had taken part, in fact the police believed he was the ringleader, in a vicious attack on a courting couple. The man had been beaten so badly he was hospitalised for weeks and the woman had been subjected to an appalling sexual attack. Upon his release, now too old for school, not that any would have had him, he started work on a building site as a labourer. Six months later having stolen tools and materials from the site, he was back inside. He never learnt the error of his ways, and a short time after his release he was involved in a fight in a brothel in Bedford. He punched a prostitute, the owner and the two policemen who arrested him. His next sojourn at Her Majesty’s pleasure was the last to date. He had a twin brother, Karl, who worshipped him, God knows why, who also did time for various offences. Sadly, of the seven siblings only one worked at a normal job, a school teacher, and she had nothing to do with the others.
Thresham moved abroad upon his release, where and to do what, no one knows. But he returned with enough cash to buy a small, struggling, caravan manufacturing firm, Nene Valley Caravans. He had some talent, because he turned the company around and opened sites in France and Spain. Then over the years a casino in Northampton, a club in Corby had followed, and even a hotel in Florida, as well as other illegal businesses like brothels that he was suspected to control.
By the age of forty he was reputed to be a multimillionaire. Though Mr Clooney’s contacts had hinted some of his wealth was a result of tax evasion, people trafficking, drugs and prostitution, rather than legitimate business. He really was a man to be very wary of.
John Clooney had also discovered things about Jess and Amanda’s real father, Colin Granger. He had been the manager of Shipsmore Removals, a transport company owned by Thresham. Colin and his family lived in the village of Woodford, just a few miles from work. Every day after finishing work he used to drop into his local, drink two halves of beer, never more, before walking the couple of hundred yards back to work, collecting his car and driving home. Only one night he never made it. He was knocked down by a hit and run driver. At the inquest it was reported that he had seemed stressed that last night in the pub and was definitely not his usual self. No one was ever found or charged, and the coroner’s verdict was manslaughter by a person or persons unknown. To this day the driver had never been found.
Thresham, Granger’s boss, had supported the family financially; he paid for the funeral, paid off their mortgage and supplied Mrs Granger with a decent pension. He paid for the girls’ holidays, even bought Paula Granger her first car – she was too upset to drive her late husband’s. He was so kind and considerate to the family, it was really no surprise when some years later he and Paula married. The girls’ names were changed to his, the big house in Loddington was built and Mrs Thresham, née Granger, apparently thought he was a saint, even though most people thought he was the devil.
Jason couldn’t help being surprised at all his father had found out. He knew his parents loved him, but to go to these lengths, just proved how much. The quiet way his dad had told him, the research he must have done, told Jason how worried they must be, but to put all that effort in, it just reminded him, do kids ever really know their folks and just how much they care?
There was little to be said after that, except he again promised to look after himself, and he thanked his old man for all he had found out. There was a last surprise though, when his dad said Blister had phoned them.
‘He guessed we would be worried when we saw your injuries, he just wanted to let us know he was keeping an eye out for you and we weren’t to worry.’
Jason was stunned by the thoughtfulness of the man he now regarded as a dear friend, then pleased, because he knew it would have the desired effect of making his folks worry less. He was even more humbled by the old soldier now.
They said their goodnights and retired to bed.
Interested in the book well pop across to Amazon http://amzn.to/2BAaf6j or enter the
Ex Sheffield United Junior, former Chairman Corby Town FC, Actor and stage director, former British Red Cross Regional Director.