The Resident by David Jackson – extract

David Jackson’s novels include Cry Baby, Pariah and Your Deepest Fear. His latest novel, The Resident, was published by Viper Books on 16 July 2020.

Today I have an extract from the book.

1

MONDAY 3 JUNE , 11.49 PM

They’re here! They’ve come for us!

Not possible. How could they know?

Who cares? They know. What else could this be?

Brogan stared wide-eyed at the flashes of blue light bouncing

crazily off the windows of the houses. No sirens, just the lights.

They wanted to catch him by surprise.

We have to go. NOW!

Brogan raced back to the dining room. He grabbed his backpack

and turned to the couple seated at the table.

‘It’s been a pleasure staying with you,’ he told them. ‘Thank you

for your hospitality.’

He didn’t wait for a response. He moved swiftly to the kitchen,

slid open the patio door and stepped into the night’s embrace.

He could hear urgent whispers and footsteps in the neighbouring

garden to his left. He went right, hopped up onto a wheelie

bin, then swung over the fence.

A torch beam sliced through the blackness and picked him out.

‘He’s here!’ yelled a voice. And then: ‘Police! Stay where you

are! Down on the ground!’

Brogan knew that the copper was expecting him either to obey

or flee. He did neither.

He ran straight at the approaching police officer, who yelped

in surprise. Brogan kicked out, slamming his foot into the man’s

chest, sending him hurtling into the wall of the house behind.

As the officer rebounded, Brogan drew back his fist. He did not

pause to think, This is a policeman, and if I hurt him I will be in

deep trouble. He didn’t worry that the man might have a wife or

kids. He knew only that the uniform in front of him represented

an obstacle to freedom.

And so Brogan let his fist fly, right into his opponent’s throat.

Hit it so hard that it seemed the man’s windpipe was crushed

against his spine.

As the officer collapsed to the ground, clutching his neck and

spluttering, Brogan set off again. The voices were growing louder,

closer. A noose was tightening around him.

He scaled the next fence with ease. Then the next, and the one

after that. Lights came on. Dogs began barking. At one house, a

man in pyjamas came out to see what the commotion was. He

took one astonished look at Brogan and scurried back indoors.

Brogan kept going. He was fit and he was strong, and he didn’t

worry about consequences. They would catch him one day, he

knew that.

But perhaps luck wasn’t ready to abandon him just yet.

TUESDAY 4 JUNE , 1.46 AM

He stayed away from the main roads, knowing that they carried

the most risk. But he also knew he couldn’t keep roving through

the city’s capillaries for much longer. The police would be out in

force, armed with his description and now a grudge for the harm

done against a fellow officer.

The problem was where to hide. The Carter house had been

perfect. They didn’t get any visitors – hardly any phone calls, for

that matter. He was able to keep them company for days. Not that

they appreciated it. A lodger like Brogan was the last thing any sane

person wanted.

He wondered how the police had cottoned on to his presence.

What error had he made?

I think it was the noise. You had that music system turned up

really loud, you know.

Yeah, well, there was a good reason for that.

The stutter of helicopter blades yanked him back to the present.

He looked skywards and saw the machine hovering overhead.

They’re looking for us.

Yes, yes, I know.

We need to find cover. Once they spot us, it’s over.

I know, damn it! Let me think.

He changed direction, seeking an escape from the centre of

police activity. He didn’t know where he was. All the houses looked

the same: row after row of small terraced properties, sleeping while

swirls of rubbish danced on the pavement in front of them. The

occasional shuttered pub or corner shop. Graffiti on the walls.

And then he saw it.

The abandoned end house, its windows and doors boarded up

as if to reassure Brogan that it was willing to turn a blind eye and

say nothing.

Brogan crossed the street and entered the alleyway adjoining

the house. He scanned the area to make sure nobody was observing

him from a window, then he leaped, clamped his hands onto

the top of the wall and pulled himself up.

He dropped down into a yard that had been concreted over

many years ago. Now the surface was marbled with cracks, and

waist-high weeds had shouldered their way up through them.

He made his way to the back door of the house and studied it

in the weak moonlight. The boards covering it were made of plywood

that had been screwed to the frame.

He slipped off his backpack and felt around inside. He had

items in here that most people would never dream of toting

around with them. He rejected a crowbar as being too noisy, and

instead brought out a screwdriver. He spent the next few minutes

carefully unscrewing the board covering the lower half of the

door, dropping each screw into his pocket in case anyone should

search the area. He liked to be thorough.

When he moved the board aside, he saw that the door itself

looked sturdy enough, but that its lock was cheap and primitive.

He took out his set of picks and had the door open in no time.

He left the upper boards in place, and ducked under them to

enter the house. When he was inside, he pulled the lowermost

board back into position and closed the door.

The darkness was total. Brogan slipped his hand once more into

his pack, and pulled out his torch. He flicked it on and played its

light over the door. He saw that it had hefty bolts at the top and

bottom, and he slid both into place.

He turned, and saw that he was in a bare kitchen. There were no

appliances here now. Just a sink, a few battered units, and a single

wooden chair. He tried the light switch, but nothing happened.

No surprise there. No gas either, probably. But what about water?

He walked to the sink and turned on both taps. Nothing, not

even a single explosive spurt.

He searched the cupboards and drawers, and found some

scouring pads, a half-empty bottle of bleach, a plastic jug with a

crack running down its side, a rusty can opener and a tin of nails

and screws.

Great. All the things a man could ever want.

He found the stopcock beneath the sink and tried opening it

up, but his efforts were in vain. The water had obviously been disconnected

at the mains in the street.

He did a quick survey of the rest of the house. He found a living

room, dining room, bathroom and two bedrooms. The only thing

to get excited about was an old mattress left on one of the bedroom

floors. Somewhere he could get some sleep. He suddenly

realised how exhausted he was.

You can’t sleep yet.

Why not?

Your arms. Look at your arms.

Brogan rolled back his sleeves, then sighed.

He headed back downstairs. In the kitchen he turned off his

torch, then opened the back door and moved away the board so

he could clamber outside.

The air smelled sweet. In the distance he could hear the helicopter

hunting for him. He would be safe here for a while. The

danger would come when he needed to go in search of food and

drink.

He followed the wall to the rear corner of the house. There was

a rainwater barrel here – he had noticed it when he arrived. He

leaned over and peered inside. The disc of the pale moon stared

back at him from the still surface of the water. He doubted it

would be safe to drink: the stagnant smell told him that much.

But that wasn’t why he had come out here.

He plunged his arms into the water. Dark tendrils curled away

from his flesh and swirled across the face of the moon as he washed

off the blood of the couple he had murdered.

About the Book

THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. With a trail of bodies in his wake and the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that he can drop down into all the other houses through the shared attic space.

That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing is playing games with his victims – the lonely old woman, the bickering couple, the tempting young newlyweds. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.

About the Author

David Jackson is the author of nine crime novels, including the bestseller Cry Baby and the DS Nathan Cody series. When not murdering fictional people, David spends his days as a university academic in his birth city of Liverpool. He lives on the Wirral with his wife and two daughters. Find him on Twitter @Author_Dave.

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