The Bad Place by M.K. Hill – extract

M.K. Hill is the author of It Was Her and Two O’Clock Boy as Mark Hill. His latest novel, The Bad Place, was published by Head of Zeus on 5 September 2019.

Today Head of Zeus have let me share an extract from the book with you.

‘I’d love to talk to you more. I know just the place we can go.’ Darren gave a satisfied grunt. ‘Now we’re talking.’ His hand crept across the table, but she coyly moved hers into her lap. ‘Let’s go to the station,’ she said.‘The Station.’ Darren narrowed his eyes. ‘That a trendy new bar, is it?’ ‘Oh, Daz, you’ve been to the police station many times.’ The bell dinged and Sasha made a sad face. ‘Time’s up, I’m afraid.’ Darren turned to see everyone in the pub staring at him. The men and women sitting down, the guy behind the bar, the doorman who had slipped inside. ‘Shiii…’ He jumped out of his seat and raced towards the door. But before he’d managed to get two yards, half a dozen plain-clothed police rushed at him from every angle. Darren lashed out and an officer went down. Lolly leapt across her table to land on his back, yanking his arm behind him and slamming his face into the diamond-patterned carpet. ‘Get off me!’ he screamed.

‘Stay still, mate,’ she warned him. ‘Darren Gary Walters,’ said DC Craig Power, hauling him to his feet. ‘I’m arresting you on suspicion of aggravated theft and assault with intent to rob. Robbery, burglary and attempted murder. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you donot mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’ ‘You’re a difficult man to find, Darren,’ Detective Inspector Sasha Dawson said as he was pulled upright. ‘We thought we’d never catchup with you.’ Darren had been on the run since taking part in a series of Post Office robberies. With a network of known associates across the county to hide him, he’d gone underground. But he had a weakness for the ladies: he couldn’t resist turning on the charm at clubs and pubs, and the regular speed-dating event at The Crown was a favourite hunting ground. ‘Your long-suffering wife suggested we’d find you here, Daz, she’s a bit fed up with your roving eye,’ she said. ‘Take him away.’ ‘

You were terrific, Sasha,’ said DC Lolly Chambers as they walked towards the car park. ‘I enjoyed that.’ Sasha marvelled again at the young woman in a figure-hugging sparkly dress who had floored a man twice her size. ‘Remind me neverto mess with you, Lolly.’Behind that winsome Essex Girl exterior, all glittery lipstick, false lashes and bronzer, was a tenacious and capable officer. ‘I’m out tonight,’ the detective constable said in her cheerful sing-song. ‘Might as well since I’m all glammed up. You have a nice evening.’‘Good work,’ Sasha called to Ajay, who was talking to the officer who had stood outside the pub pretending to be a doorman.‘Sorry.’ He blushed. ‘I kind of froze in there.’‘You did magnificently,’ she lied. ‘Got anything planned?’‘Picking up Scott from his Caribbean Fusion cookery course, and then we’ll probably grab a Pilates class.’Sasha was fishing for her keys when she saw DS Craig Power finishing a call on his mobile. He walked over with his usual rolling swagger when he saw her.‘Nicework, Craig,’ she told him.‘No problem,’ he said, peering towards the sea, which thrashed against the shingle on the beach. Approaching seven in the evening, it was still bloody hot, another scorcher. Southend-on-Sea, along with everywhere else in the south-east, had been basking in a relentless spring heatwave.

About the book

The newspapers called it The Bad Place. A remote farm out on the Thames estuary, where six children were held captive for two weeks. Five of them got out alive.

That was twenty years ago. Now adults, they meet up annually to hold a vigil for their friend who died. The only rule is that no-one can talk about what happened the night they escaped. But at this year’s event, one of them witnesses a kidnapping. A young girl, Sammi, is bundled into a van in front of their eyes.

DI Sasha Dawson, of Essex Police, is certain that the key to finding Sammi lies in finding out the truth about The Bad Place. But she also knows that with every second she spends trying to unlock the past, the clock ticks down for the missing girl…

Is history repeating itself? Is one of the five responsible? Or is someone sending them a twisted message?

About the author

M.K. Hill was a journalist and an award-winning music radio producer before becoming a full time writer. He lives in London. Visit him at mkhill.uk

*I was asked to host this extract to help promote The Bad Place. I have not received a copy of the book or any other payment for doing so.*

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