Killer Email is a fast-paced thriller set in England's Foreign Office Secrity Department.
This is the opening book in the series which introduces the main character of Senior Investigator Tony Caxton. He works for the Security Department which is a part of the Foreign Office. Early in the story he learns about the death of a colleague and fishing buddy who has died in America whilst taking an unauthorized vacation. Tony is detailed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death which leads him on a hunt for a vicious killer.
Tony is assisted by Sue Lyle who has been promoted to help him solve the case. As they work together, more deaths are uncovered and eventually linked to the owner of a high-tech company in New Jersey who is set on stealing vast sums of money via the internet.
Before too long Tony uncovers the fact that all of the victims are linked via email and the race is on to stop the killer before he executes his latest hostage. With the aid of Police and Security Services in the UK and overseas, the net is slowly closing.
Killer Email is an intricate and fast-paced tale which switches from one country to another and always leaves the reader guessing what might come next.
Who is reading your email?
This was Boston, Massachusetts, in the middle of January. This was cold - as cold as hell. Ian Hall stood on the filthy sidewalk outside the snow-covered bus station rubbing his gloveless hands together for warmth. He was watching the grime laden bus pull out. The cold diesel engine spurted stinking black clouds of smoke into the icy air. His racking cough was due as much to the smoke, as to his exertions in trying to catch the diminishing form of his transport to the suburbs.
With no cab in sight at this early hour, he turned towards an elderly, hunched sanitation worker pushing a balding broom along the gutter.
‘How do I get to Flesher Street?’
The crumpled black face turned slowly as a stream of tobacco stained spittle arced from its lips.
‘Catch a bus,’ was the drawl of a response.
‘I just missed it,’ he said, stifling anger.
‘Try walking that way,’ replied the old man, pointing in the direction of the vanishing bus. He turned slowly to resume his never-ending task of corralling the traveller’s detritus.
Feeling cold and thoroughly miserable, Hall raised the collar of his smart new cashmere coat and headed south into the biting wind. He was grateful for the warmth that this extravagance was giving him. Occasional snowflakes were now melting on his metal-rimmed glasses obscuring his vision. He pulled out a sodden handkerchief and moved the stains around the lenses, thinking yet again that he ought to save some more money towards laser eye surgery.
At 6am it was still as dark as Satan’s soul as he trudged through the deserted streets. This was decidedly not the best part of town; few of the street lights were working, and the stench of the sewers rose as puffs of steam from gratings and assailed his nostrils. The silence was only broken by the sound of the occasional rat scurrying around the overflowing dumpsters looking for food. Twice, he could just make out the distant wail of an ambulance siren, speeding off to yet another scene of human tragedy, and then all was quiet again.
A discoloured map hanging lopsided in the window of a little-used souvenir shop confirmed that he was heading in the right direction. Half an hour into his trek, he was feeling weary, due in no small part to his recent transatlantic flight from Heathrow. The wind began to carry ribbons of the tantalising and delicious smell of freshly baked bread.
As he turned a corner, a blinding light from a bagel shop illuminated the blackened sky.
He was still far too early for his appointment. He gave in to his craving for warmth and sustenance and pushed hard against the resistance of the old door. A classic cappuccino and toasted bagel, coupled with the luscious warmth of the bakery slowly revived him. He was aware of the elderly couple sitting opposite who appeared transfixed by the sight of steam rising from his water-laden leather shoes. He ignored them and continued to enjoy his coffee. The last thing that he wanted right now was conversation.
With renewed energy and enthusiasm, Hall left the womb-like comfort of the shop and resumed his journey along the ice and snow covered sidewalk.
Apart from a disastrous fourteen day package holiday in southern Spain – which left him ill for weeks - this was only the second time that Ian Hall had left the safe and familiar environment of his native England. His lowly position in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Her Majesty’s Government meant that it would be many years before he was entitled to official overseas travel on business. In the meantime, he was content to pursue his extra curricular activities without his employer’s knowledge or permission. If they wanted to sack him, so what, he could always get another job – perhaps even one that paid him better and provided him with more job satisfaction than he currently enjoyed.
It was another half an hour before he had the distinct and uneasy feeling that he might not be alone on these early morning streets. He paused and turned slowly: there didn’t appear to be anybody behind him. He turned back, slightly mystified, and continued his cold, lonely walk. He quickened his pace, causing him periodically to slip and slide, like a drunk. At times, he had to grab hold of a street sign to steady himself. He was now sure that he had heard the ‘crump’ of a foot treading heavily into the freshly fallen snow nearby. There was no one in front of him and no one either side of him. Another swift glance over his shoulder confirmed the emptiness behind him. Nevertheless, he was convinced that he was not alone, and he was scared.
He had no wish to become another crime statistic, so he stopped abruptly at the window of a corner store and peered at the reflection – just in time to catch the briefest glimpse of a dark figure slipping into a doorway behind him. His worst fears were now confirmed: someone was stalking him, but why? Apart from the girl he was going to meet, nobody else here knew him. Perhaps it was a mugger. He silently cursed the fact that he had stupidly consigned his mobile phone to the left luggage locker at the airport with his other belongings. He could really do with it right now, even just for a little reassurance.
Stumbling even faster along the sidewalk, he was certain that he could reach the approaching safety of a well-lit intersection in time to reassess the situation and decide what to do next. He continued onwards, faster and faster. He was slipping and staggering even more now. His heart rate increased measurably as beads of sweat were beginning to appear on his brow. His rasping breaths came in spasms as his lungs demanded more oxygen. His sight became even more obscured by the snow and sweat on his glasses, making the desperate trudge harder by the minute. Just another block and he would be safe – at least safer than he felt right now.
The intense cold meant that he hardly noticed the small dart penetrate the skin on the back of his neck. If he had been able to describe them, he would probably have said that the next few moments passed in ultra-slow motion. He slumped to the ground. His head cracked against the ice-covered sidewalk with a sickening thud and fresh warm blood oozed across the pristine snow, forming a surreal scarlet pattern. The snake-like trickle slowed as his heart stopped beating. He was now the late Ian Hall.
There were no witnesses to this event. No one to see the stranger step quickly forward and remove the tiny dart, or tear the inside pocket of the new coat as the shiny round disk was swiftly transferred to the other’s pocket. As the fall of snow increased its pace, silence once again filled the dark cold street.