Mortal Shuffle mixes crime and horror to chilling effect. Self-destructive and drug addicted policeman, Nathan Wrench, creates havoc in a Cheshire town. Detective Chief Inspector, Kate Moreton, is ordered by her Chief Constable to visit sleepy Cheshire town, Adbury, and investigate the corrupt relationship between the police and sinister local gangster, Alex McGrath. After her arrival, her investigation is complicated by murder and the behaviour of Nathan. Kate has to not only keep an investigation on track, she has to solve a murder, keep Esther, the girlfriend of Nathan at bay and somehow save the love that she never forgot.
Written by Liverpool author, Jim Lawler, ‘Mortal Shuffle’ is an original thriller that offers plenty of surprises and shocks.
Stylish and serious, ‘Mortal Shuffle’, like its rebellious yet romantic hero, it rejects the standard conventions of the police procedural. It should appeal to readers who like crime fiction but who also prefer to avoid the repetitive norms within the genre.
Jim Lawler has written two books. The other is ‘Hate Until Warm’. Both books will be available from Red Rattle Books in 2014.
A Mortal Shuffle Taster
The blood was confined to a small area around McGrath’s two feet. If it had not been for his feet and the sweat on his head, McGrath could have been settling down to read a book. He wore no shoes and his white socks had a hole on the top of each foot. Each hole accommodated a huge nail. The heads of the two nails were as large as giant mushrooms. The stems of the nails were as thick as broom handles. Around the nails, Bob and Mary had padded his damaged feet with cotton wool and bandage.
The blood had seeped into the thick pile of his grey carpet. The effect matched the red and grey colour scheme. The blood in the carpet looked as if it had seeped down between his toes. McGrath dropped ash around the bloodstains on his carpet. Even that complimented the colours.
‘I couldn’t answer the door,’ he said.
‘We got in through the back,’ said Bob. ‘We try all the doors when we have to.’
‘I bet it’s painful,’ said Kate.
‘Like all my toes have got toothache,’ said McGrath. ‘The pain was worse half an hour ago.’
Kate walked around the back of the room to the bay window. She pointed at the marble table with the strange legs.
‘Where did you get this from? It’s awful.’
‘He’s had a painkilling injection.’ Bob spoke out of the side of his mouth.
‘I’m not convinced about the pain,’ said McGrath.
Mary and Bob looked affronted.
‘It’s better,’ said McGrath, ‘but I’m losing confidence.’
‘Won’t your guilty conscience help?’ said Kate.
Bob straightened his shoulders. The back of his head nearly touched the mantelpiece. ’He’ll be all right when we’re in hospital. We’re quite good with pain.’
‘Giving it?’ said Kate.
Alex McGrath smiled before taking a deep drag on his cigarette. He removed the cigarette from his mouth very slowly. He let tobacco smoke slide out of the corners of his mouth.
‘They can’t get the nails out,’ he said.
‘Not without taking his feet off.’ Mary sucked her teeth.
Kate thought her black hair was impressive. She imagined it just washed, clean and with extra sheen.
‘Alex, don’t think about it.’ Bob avoided looking at the damaged feet.
‘Couldn’t we lift him up by the shoulders?’ said Kate.
McGrath pulled his cigarette away from his face, left his mouth open.
‘Only trying to lighten the situation,’ said Kate.
‘We won’t get those nails out, will we Bob?’ said Mary.
‘He’s nailed to concrete,’ said Bob.
‘I’ve not been lucky,’ said McGrath.