RUN THE GAUNTLET
DI Donna Davenport and her team are under pressure.
With the hunt on for the country’s most notorious cop killer and an ongoing complex international investigation, the murder of a local thug during a football match is the last thing the police need.
But as more incidents overload the police, and fear brings vigilante mobs onto the streets, suspicion grows that the mayhem is being orchestrated.
CUT AND RUN
One man can make it stop. With the city heading towards chaos and disaster, Donna prepares to abandon caution and the rules, even if it means she is ostracised by her own team.
Jackie’s influences when writing Run
RUN is part three in the DI Donna Davenport series, which began with TOXIC. I wrote TOXIC mainly because I wanted to write a book set in my home town (Arbroath), but as it progressed, I realised I was going to have to leave it on something of a cliffhanger. By then I already had some of the elements of the second book (SHADOWS) in mind, and knew it wasn’t going to be the right place to resolve that ending. However, I didn’t want things to drag on – I don’t like that myself as a reader – so I decided to write the third book with the sole purpose of bringing it all to a conclusion.
Having said that, I did have one stipulation before I started writing RUN: I wanted the opening murder to take place at Arbroath Football Club. I contacted the Club to check that they’d be okay with that (crime writers often have to make bizarre requests), and I was delighted at their very positive response. In fact, they invited me to attend on a match day, and to bring my notebook with me for a wander around behind the scenes. They even made the suggestion that perhaps my victim could be the referee…
The excerpt here is set in the Ethie Woods, which sit directly across the road from the house I used to live in. One of my household tasks was to walk the dog there, and I often felt there was something creepy about them. I wonder if this comes across in the book?
Excerpt from RUN
The Ethie Woods lay off the east side of the A92, just two miles out of Arbroath heading towards Montrose. It would normally be pitch dark out here at this time, being well away from the town’s streetlights, and with only a couple of houses tucked away on the other side of the road and set well apart. There were few signs of activity to give away the existence of the nearby tiny hamlet of Marywell, or of the farms in the surrounding area.
Despite the road being single carriageway, it was the main route for long distance truckers going between Aberdeen and all routes south. It didn’t take much for the route to become snarled, and by the time Donna and Alice approached, a line of police and other vehicles were snaked along the coned-off northbound road. Their blue lights, flashing silently, obscured any view there might have been of the night sky. The thrum of idling emergency vehicles provided a steady soundtrack to the trucks that were following the white-capped traffic cop’s directions, passing north and south, one at a time.
Donna glared at a lorry driver who leaned out of his cabin window to gawp at the scene on the other side, and flicked her head, indicating for him to get a move on.
The traffic cop halted the flow of trucks to let Donna and Alice cross the road to the woods.
PC McClure was standing there, wearing a heavy overcoat and enormous gloves, like goalie gloves. Donna found herself wondering if he’d nicked them from the McKinnes murder scene, but pushed the thought away again just as quickly. He was stamping his feet, and breath clouds blew from his mouth. As soon as he saw Donna and Alice, he used his teeth to remove one of the gloves, and fished his notebook from a pocket to record the fact of their entering the crime scene. Behind him was the head of a rough track that quickly disappeared from view as it plunged into the darkness of the woods. To his left and right, yellow police tape trailed across the trees that lined the roadside.
“Follow the crowd, Detective Inspector,” he said, indicating a spot further into the woods, where the vague outlines of human shapes created the illusion of movement amongst the dark, bare trees.
A cloying, sickly sweet smell seemed to cling to the trees as Donna and Alice picked their way along the dirt track, crunching their way through dried leaves and bracken, careful to step over the gnarled roots that veined the way.
On reflex, Donna brought tissues from her pocket and covered her mouth and nose, as she would do at a post mortem. She noticed Alice doing the same. The smell, now like burning rubbish, found its way through the tissue, and it was all Donna could do to stop herself from gagging as the noxious air reached for her taste buds.
Just as the stench threatened to overpower, she and Alice found themselves at the backs of a team of blue-clad forensics personnel. One of them turned round, alerted to the arrival of the two officers. Donna saw that he recognised her from the murder scene at the football club. He nodded to her, trying to form a smile, but the grim line his mouth made only served as a warning of the horrific scene she was about to look at. He allowed her to peer past him and lean in for a look.
“Oh, dear God,” she heard Alice at her shoulder.
Jackie writes crime fiction, and spies on people in real life for ideas and inspiration…
She lives in Glasgow and has a varied background, including being a government economist, a political lobbyist, and running a pet shop in Glasgow’s Southside (ask her anything about pets). She currently works with East Ayrshire Council, where until recently her job involved frequent visits to Kilmarnock Prison.
Toxic is her first crime novel, introducing DI Donna Davenport, and was shortlisted in the Yeovil Literary Prize before publication by ThunderPoint Publishing Ltd.
The sequel, Shadows, was published in October 2017, and
Her third book in the DI Davenport series (Run) was published in October 2019.
Jackie has appeared at crime writing festivals Newcastle Noir, Crime at the Castle and Literally @ Newbattle, and regularly appears at Noir at the Bar events (including Edinburgh, Newcastle, Dundee and Dunfermline). She also forms part of the Dangerous Dames and Murder & Mayhem along with a number of other crime writers, and has appeared at events in libraries and bookstores across Scotland as part of these.
Until recently, Jackie ran the writing group at Waterstones Braehead, and has also run creative writing sessions with the men in Kilmarnock Prison.
More Books in the DI Donna Davenport Series
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B077GQBY1Y