Date Published: 26th June 2018
Publisher: London Large Publishing
A vacation he couldn't refuse. A murder he didn't commit. A hellhole he needs to escape.
Harry Hawkins, a tough and experienced former London cop, goes on a surprise vacation to Las Vegas with a group of lifetime friends, expecting to party hard. What he doesn’t expect is to wake up in a dead-end motel with a woman’s corpse in the bathroom and his memory shot to bits.
As he starts to piece together the events that led him there he is moved, by an unseen hand, to a brutal high-security prison, where a reception committee has been eagerly awaiting his arrival. Friendless and alone, he is forced to use every resource of character to survive constant violence, humiliation...and worse. Can he put together the series of seemingly unrelated events that led to his incarceration in a desert hellhole, and escape to take revenge on those who put him there before he loses his life?
Vasconcellos took them into reception. He looked-up the guest log, and checked the keys on his key board. The key for room 12 was still there. He picked it up and tossed it to Johnson.
‘Here’s the situation, fellas,’ he said. ‘I’ve got two guests, and there are three cars in the car park, including mine. Far as I know there’s no-one in room 12. There was a booking, but it turned out to be a no-show.’
‘When was the booking made?’ said Johnson.
‘About three weeks ago. A guy calling himself Jack Jones.’
‘OK, where’s room 12?’
‘Other side of the building, far end.’
Johnson and Bridgewater exited the building and headed for the room.
‘What did I tell you, K? Two rooms in use, two cars in the parking lot and an empty room to investigate. If we ain’t come down here on a goddam hoax call I’ll give you my last Snickers on the way back. Goddam it! This shit drives me nuts.’
‘Slow down, big guy,’ said Johnson. ‘You never know until you know. Stay sharp.’
They turned, left again, into the parking area where room 12 was, just in time to see a large, shambling man in all sorts of a mess stumble out of it, trying to shield his eyes from the sun with his forearm. By the time a full second had elapsed their experience and adrenalin kicked in with ferocious effectiveness. Both men drew their guns and adopted their firing stances and screamed ‘Down! Down! Now! Roll onto your front and place your hands behind your back! Now! Do it!’
H did as he was told, rolling himself over as quickly as he could and then playing dead. He ate dirt and heard two sets of footsteps crunching towards him over the gravel. They stopped inches from him. His arms were pulled back quickly, violently, and he was cuffed and tucked up before he even saw a pair of boots.
‘On your knees, on your knees!’
Again, H complied automatically.
‘Stay here, Bran,’ said Johnson, ‘keep him where he is. I’m going in.’ He moved in, pistol first. He scouted the main room and shouted ‘Clear’ to his partner. Then he made his way to the bathroom, took in the scene, felt for a pulse on the girl’s neck, and shouted ‘Clear. Coming out!’
Johnson re-joined Bridgewater and H on the gravel. Bridgewater saw straight away that the situation was not good. You never got used to this, no matter how long you did it, and Johnson was wearing the usual sickened look like a mask.
‘What we looking at K?’ said Bridgewater.
‘Girl. In the bathtub. Around 20. Strangled, would be my guess.’
Bridgewater got down on his haunches, until he was face-to-face with H. His breath was hot and reeked of cigarettes and onions. He addressed H through gritted teeth.
‘What’s your name?’
‘What’s that accent? Where you from?’
‘London. Where am I?’
‘You gotta be kidding me.’
‘No. I don’t know where I am, or how I got here.’
‘Jesus…what is this, you think you’re in a movie or something? You’re in Boulder City, Nevada. And you’re under arrest for murder. Read this fucker his rights, K.’
‘I didn’t do it,’ said H, keeping his voice steady. ‘Listen, I was a cop myself. London Metropolitan Police. Thirty years on the job. Murder squad. This is not what it looks like.’
His words had an emotional impact on the officer, who’d seen more than his fair share of brutal sexual murders and pitiless rapes, and who had a daughter of twenty himself. The gall rose up inside him before he had a chance to control it, and he pistol whipped H viciously across the face, splitting his check open and sending him crashing back down onto the gravel.
Bridgewater pulled him up again and got set to administer another helping. He raised his pistol arm, but Johnson stayed it.
‘No Bran. Not now. This fucker is going to pay, and pay big. No way he can get out of this. Let’s not give his lawyer anything to work with. We’ve got him. We’ll take him in now. On your feet, you Limey bastard.’
H struggled to his feet with minimal assistance and looked Johnson straight in the eye.
‘Listen to me. I’ve done nothing. Whatever’s happened here ‒ and it looks bad, I’ll give you that ‒ I’ve never hurt a woman in my life. Contact my people in London. New Scotland Yard.’
‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ said Bridgewater. ‘Tell it to the judge, Sherlock.’
About the Authors
Garry Robson has written a variety of books and articles, from the acclaimed No OneLikes Us, We Don't Care, a classic study of working class football subculture in London, to the London Large crime thriller series, an altogether grittier romp through the same streets. In between he wrote on subjects as diverse as gentrification, London dialects, the British cultural revolution, and surveillance. He was born in South London but now lives in Krakow.
Roy has worked as a squash coach, a youth worker, a service delivery manager and an IT project manager. He started his writing career with local history books before turning to gritty crime stories that mix suspense and murder mystery with intense action. The London Large books are set on the streets of South London where Roy still lives. They often portray human nature at its most brutal are not for the faint of heart.