Before man can travel into outer space he must first explore and conquer the inner space of his mind.’
Professor Harman Jones – 1995.
How well do you know your best friend?
How would you react if he was suddenly arrested for murder?
At 45 years of age with a broken childless marriage behind him Detective Inspector Nick Burton is just coasting through life. That is until the day his boss, Chief Superintendent Dan Davies, is arrested and charged with murder. In denial Nick’s attempts to get at the truth are further hampered when Dan dies while in custody. Question is did he commit suicide to avoid prosecution? Or was he murdered to prevent a scandal?
The deeper Nick delves into Dan’s life the more he realises how little he really knew about the man. Someone sends Nick a ten year old video of a college professor giving a lecture the content of which although interesting seems to have no bearing on this, or any other case whatsoever. However, when the same professor turns up at Dan’s funeral Nick has to think again. The professor, now in a wheelchair is accompanied by two assistants who act more like minders, one of them a beautiful woman whose startling green eyes draw Nick deep into her web.
Somewhere in the background someone is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for Nick to follow and he starts to resent the feeling of manipulation. Why don’t they just come forward and tell him what they know? If it was bad news about Dan would he believe them? He has to find out the truth for himself.
As he puts the pieces together Nick is drawn into the mysterious world of parapsychology and psychic phenomena to a conclusion that belies everything he thought he understood. But beneath the academic calm of Cambridge University there lurks a dangerous undertow that everyone seems to have missed.
What a complete and utter waste of bloody time. These were the thoughts of Detective Inspector Nick Burton as he returned to his home patch after a fruitless trip to Wales.
He was trying to imagine if there had been an alternative reason for his boss to want him out of the office and out of town. He didn’t think there were any secrets between them. After all, they were a good team as well as good friends, so why the silly subterfuge?
However, jammed in the window seat of an over crowded train carriage sitting next to a man of very ample girth, whose breath smelled of stale beer and onions, is not ideal to conducive thought. Opposite him across the dividing table sat the man’s wife, a woman of equal size, who fidgeted constantly and managed to kick him every time she moved, with a sickly grin and “sorry dear” every time it happened.
As a distraction, he tried looking out of the grimy rain streaked window, but with the gathering gloom outside and the bright lights inside, all he could see was his own miserable reflection. He grimaced at the sight of the life battered face looking back at him. It appeared older than his forty-five years. Once upon a time, it had been a handsome face, sitting on top of a well built body. However, in those far off days he had had a relatively carefree, easy going attitude to life and he enjoyed the challenges life threw his way.
Twenty odd years a policeman had changed all that, carefree became careworn, easy going had become embittered. The all new politically correct police force and a legal system that cared more for the rights of the criminal than their victims had taken its toll. Add to that a broken childless marriage, a receding hairline, an expanding waistline and the promise of a stomach ulcer, and you had his life in a nutshell.
He dragged his thoughts back towards the half assed reason as to why he was even on this train in the first place. His boss, Chief Superintendent Daniel Davies, or Dapper Dan as he was more commonly called, had sent him on this fool’s errand to review evidence held at another police station. Evidence that, as far as he could see, was completely irrelevant to anything they were currently working on. He was doubly annoyed, given his well known aversion to travel, that Dapper would send him on a job that could so easily have been handled by a first year constable.
Courtesy of his recent travelling companions and the time-wasting exercise, he was still fuming two hours later in the darkness of late evening as he walked towards his own police station.
As he pushed the front door open if he was expecting a sea of calm efficiency, which was the norm around here, he was in for a shock. The place was in uproar, and most of the noise was coming from his colleagues.
There, milling in front of him, was a weird mixture of uniform and plain clothed policemen. The two different day watches were strangely intermingled; all seemed to be talking at once.
He pushed his way through the crowd to the front desk and the uniformed sergeant that stood there. As he approached, he could see the sergeant was not a happy man. His facial expression seemed to darken even further when he saw Nick coming.
He asked, “Tom, you mind telling me what the hell is….”
The rest of the question died on his lips as the sergeant spoke almost in a whisper, “They’ve arrested Dapper.”
Nick’s jaw dropped. “What? Arrested… arrested Dan… what the hell for?”
“Murder,” was the reply.
Nick shook his head. “No way, that’s ridiculous, Dan arrested for murder, this is some sort of sick joke. Let me through, I want to see him.”
The sergeant stood firm, his hand on the folding lid of the counter; he replied as calmly as he could, “Look I know how you feel, but I can’t let you in Nick.”
“The hell you say,” Nick replied. “The head of CID arrested for murder, and the whole station standing out here with their collective thumb up their backsides.”
Now the desk sergeant was getting angry. “Look around you sonny Jim, we’re all here because we’ve been thrown out. CIB is all over this station, your office is off limits to everybody, especially you by express orders.”
“Who’s bloody orders?” Nick demanded.
Nick spun around so fast his vision blurred and a mild wave of nausea hit him. He put a hand on the counter to steady himself as he looked into the cold blue eyes of Superintendent Margaret Joy, recently promoted and made Divisional HQ liaison with the Complaints Investigation Bureau (CIB), what the Americans call Internal Affairs.
A more misnamed person would be hard to find – small in stature, she was as hard as nails and hated throughout the force for her fast tracked promotion through the ranks. Mostly, if rumours were to be believed, at the expense of her more experienced colleagues whose backs she had stabbed, robbing them of their successes. Plus the overzealous pursuit of her new job put her at odds with practically every officer in the force, and it seemed that in her opinion everybody was guilty until they proved otherwise. Her offhand way of dealing with her job had turned officer against officer and friend against friend.
“Of course,” Nick spat the words at her. “I should have recognised your unmistakable handiwork a mile off. The ring of steel, jack boots tip toeing around that, and the sickly smell of burning flesh…..”
Superintendent Joy just stood there, a slow smile growing at the corners of her mouth, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes. “Careful, Inspector! Insubordination to a senior officer comes under my remit as well. Besides we need to talk.”
“Talk?” Nick said, surprised at his own calmness. “Just what the hell do you suppose we have to talk about? If you want to talk to me, you’ll have to trump up some charge and arrest me, and even then I won’t speak to you unless there is a lawyer present.”
Her smile widened. “You’re over wrought and upset, I can understand that. It can wait until the morning. In the meantime, you’re suspended from duty pending further enquiries.”
The colour was starting to rise in Nick’s face. Their conversation was starting to draw the attention of the whole room. “Suspended? What possible grounds could you come up with to suspend me?”
“I would have thought that was obvious, wouldn’t you? Your long association with the accused for a start, everyone knows how close you are. For all I know, you might be an accessory to the murder, and until I can establish the facts….”
Nick took a step towards her, then checked himself. “My God! You can thank your lucky stars you’re a woman, because I wouldn’t take crap like that from a man. You have no grounds to suspend me, I’m not some wet behind the ears constable that you can ride roughshod over. But if you want to pursue the matter, we’ll go to the Chief Constable right now.”
The room was now still and silent. Superintendent Joy realised she had gone too far and it was time to back away. “Have it your way, for now, but be warned I am your superior officer and I will not tolerate another such public outburst.”
And before Nick could say anything else, she turned on her heel and marched from the room.
Nick was trembling with anger. “That bloody woman, who the hell does she think she is?” He pushed his way back to the counter and the desk sergeant. “Who’s in charge upstairs? Tell them I’m here and I want to see Dan.”
The sergeant smiled at him. Not many stood their ground before Superintendent Joy, and it had been amusing to watch. “Dan’s not here, he wasn’t arrested here, and we don’t know where they’ve got him. The first we knew there was anything wrong was when ‘Joy to the World’ walked in with her goon squad and started to chuck their weight around.”
“That’s it, I’m out of here! If anybody needs me, I’ll be at headquarters,” and with that Nick stormed out into the street.
The cold night air hit him immediately, and brought him down to earth with a bump. As he walked through the cold wet streets his thoughts raced, what the hell is going on? Dapper Dan arrested for murder! He shook his head… No, impossible, some huge misunderstanding, it has got to be, there is no conceivable way that Dan would take someone else’s life.
Who the hell is he supposed to have killed anyway? No one had told him that, mind you he hadn’t asked. His mind turned to all the cases they were currently working on. He could think of several lowlife villains currently under investigation that would make the world a better and safer place if they were no longer among the living. But Shit floats; sink one turd, and another one just pops up to take its place.
The only thing that he could think of was that in some extreme case, Dan must have been provoked or somehow caught so completely off guard that he overreacted. But one question kept nagging at him, why had Dan sent him out of town on such a stupid waste of time? Why today? Were the two connected? Nothing was making any sense.
The night air had cooled his anger and cleared his head. He still hadn’t a clue what was going on, but he was determined to find out and before the night was much older. He hailed a passing taxi and headed for the centre of town and police headquarters.
As he entered the building, he had to show his ID card to the constable on duty, and then he had to sign in before he could see anyone. He had already passed at least six people before he saw anyone he recognised or knew from Adam. He made his way to the duty Inspector’s office and knocked on the door, only opening it when a polite female voice called out “enter.”
He recognised her at once: Sandra Goodwood, quite a few years younger than him, but they had worked on a couple of cases together when she was in CID. “Is the Chief in?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
She looked up from the papers on her desk peering over the top of her glasses and said, “Don’t be daft, he’s off to some wingding or other, left hours ago, in fact I think all the seniors are attending. Anything I can do?”
Nick went in and closed the door. “You’ve heard about Dapper, I suppose?”
Taking her glasses off she smiled, “Nick, I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say…”
“You could tell me it’s not true, you could tell me where they’re holding him.”
“Don’t you know? Dan’s been charged with murder.”
“You mean arrested?”
Rising from behind her desk, she shook her head as she came towards him. “No, I mean charged. He was standing over the body in the hospital when they arrested him. He’s confessed… signed a statement and everything.”
The colour drained from Nick’s face, and he slumped into a chair. “I don’t understand…Dan would never…it doesn’t make any sense. Who the hell did he kill? Where is he… is he here… can I see him?”
Sandra was standing over him, her hand on his shoulder. “I think you need to go home. Yes, he’s here but they won’t let anybody see him, especially you of all people. Come back in the morning when the seniors are around. They’ll be able to get you in to see him.”
“Is he alright? Does he need anything? A… a lawyer, has he seen a lawyer?”
“He’s fine, as far as I know. And no, there’s been no lawyer, he hasn’t asked for one, says there’s no need.”
Nick sat there white as a ghost, he didn’t stand up… he didn’t think he could. Sandra was on the verge of offering him a stiff drink when she remembered he didn’t drink any more, or couldn’t, to be more precise.
The room fell silent. All of a sudden, Nick felt tired and sick. Shakily, he rose to his feet, holding the back of the chair for support.
Sandra said, “Let me get the duty car to take you home! Get some rest, start again in the morning. Honestly, there’s nothing you can do tonight.”
Her words were barely penetrating his brain. It sounded as if his hands were over his ears; he heard the buzz of a phone and felt her arm gently supporting him. She led him towards a door that mysteriously looked both open and closed at the same time. The door moved and took on the shape of a big burly policeman. He heard muffled words, “Take him home… get him to bed… stay with him if necessary….”
Inner Space Book One
Inner Space by Merlin Fraser
Published By: A.&I.G. Associates Ltd.
Available for purchase at: www.lulu.com; www.merlin-fraser.com
Reviewed By: Barbara tenBroek, Librarian
This novel, which marks the beginning of a trilogy, has elements of multiple genres that blend well to make a cohesive story. There are elements of mystery starting with a murder-suicide by a prestigious British police officer. Why does a man who has dedicated his life to enforcing the law make it his last act to break the law? His co-worker, and friend, Nick finds the facts so improbable that he sets out to find the truth even though his investigation is against the rules.
Inner Space has elements of romance with the introduction of a green eyed woman, Jilly, who beguiles Nick – and, against her own inclinations, is beguiled in return. My one frustration was Nick’s repeated reference to Jilly as a “scared little girl”. She is a competent woman who works in the academic setting. While bemused by her unexpected attraction to him, she is definitely a grown woman. Woman enough to keep him confused.
The elements of science fiction are blended so well with the new age philosophy of astral projection that it doesn’t seem to be fiction. The science is well thought out and introduced from the academic setting. The contrast between the hero’s reality, dark and danger filled, and the heroines’, learning centered and protected, was well done. It is true that those in academia tend to think in straight lines without considering how their information or invention could be used in the hands of criminals.
The police procedures and criminal elements give the American reader insights into the day to day operations of a British police force as well as the driving force that shapes the hero.
No matter what genre, this book was a page turning success. I was as confused by the action as was the leading characters. The humor and emotional intensity kept me turning the pages to the stunning but greatly satisfying conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and eagerly look forward to reading the authors next offering. - Barbara , posted 06/29/10
Inner Space Book Two The Reluctant Nemesis
When I first read Inner Space I was astounded by how eloquently the author portrayed an in depth murder mystery, without copying the who-dun-it style of the thousands of detective stories which have gone before him.
Inner Space drew my attention not only because it is set in a new style, but also because it is one of the few murder ymstery novels set in Cambridge, where I spent a number of summers during my youth. As the Inner space trilogy explores corruption to the highest levels in the British special forces, it remains gronded around the ancient institution of Cambridge university.
So please read on to find out more about the fantastic Inner Space Murder Mystery Novels!
New Murder Mystery Novel
Inner Space Trilogy by Merlin Fraser
When you are looking for a paranormal murder mystery novel, you are looking for a few basic things. Intrigue, mystery, and something a little out of the ordinary all play their parts. But let's face it, you want always want a little extra kick, something unexpected in any mystery novel.
To help me find the best paranormal books in the mystery genre I ended up joining a mystery book club. Every week I would be introduced to new mystery books, detective books and murder mystery stories which captivated my attention. The mystery book club also allowed me to listen to other people's opinions on some fantastic mystery authors.
It was at this mystery book club where I was first introduced to the new mystery author Merlin Fraser, and his Inner Space trilogy of murder mystery novels which simply took my breath away. The intricate story lines delved deep in to worlds filled with paranormal events, and secret societies with unimaginable powers.
The three murder mystery novels are based around Nick Burton, a detective inspector with a broken marriage. is life seems to be spiralling downwards until his superior, Chief Superintendent Dan Davies, is arrested on murder charges. Soon after Dan is found dead in his cell, and questions start to crop up everywhere.
As Nick begins to investigate the crimes in this novel you are drawn in to the murder mystery novel, which changes the focus away from who committed the crime, more towards why they did the crime. This change in the mystery genre makes for a compelling read, and easily turns this in to one of my top detective books of all time.
As the trilogy progresses these mystery fiction novels follow the eventful career of Nick Burton as he rises in the ranks of the police force. In book two of Inner Space, The Reluctant Nemesis, Nick Burton finds himself dealing with internal police corruption, and the mystery deepens as he comes in to conflict with Special Branch.
In the third and final book of the Inner Space murder mystery novels Nick Burton returns in the All Seeing Eye. This amazing murder mystery novel kicks things up a notch. Secret societies and experiments in to telekinetic powers underlay a seemingly serene campus at Cambridge University. Nick must unravel a series of paranormal mysteries which help bring together a compelling novel, and unstoppable read!
One of the things I really love about the Inner Space trilogy is that it breaks the mould for murder mystery novels. The story lines are intricate, and you will find yourself questioning why things are happening, rather than who committed a murder. This refreshing take on the mystery genre has made Merlin Fraser one of the most promising mystery authors of the year.
If you like detective books then the Inner Space trilogy will undoubtedly be a great collection of murder mystery novels for your collection. These new mystery books take an everyday situation and combine it with the paranormal to give you a truly unique detective novel experience.
Buy the Inner Space Murder Mystery Novels
If you want to read these fantastic books you can find out more on the Merlin Fraser website. You can even get the books signed by the author by buying his murder mystery novels direct!
Inner Space Book Three The All Seeing Eye
Von Patricia Anne Pierce-garcia Schaack
A series demands its tribute, especially when you have allowed yourself to get totally involved with the characters and have given them life. They become those friends you share with, and you look forward to meeting them again. You can compare it to the writer or actor's emersion experience. You become so involve that relationships are formed'relationships that have a touch of reality for you. However, such metempsychosis only occurs if you have been drawn into an alternative world and have enjoyed the visit while reading.
Thus, my expectations for the third book of the series Inner Space, with the title, The All Seeing Eye, by Merlin Fraser were mixed. If I were to use the old outdated statistical measurement of the Bell Curve, I would have put Book Two, The Reluctant Nemesis, at the peak, because I expected the third book to descend with a loud bang.
It is easy to begin a series. The introduction of the characters, the locations, which are featured, and the topics that are introduced, are written to captivate the reader and bring him or her into the reality of the author's world. The first book by Fraser was excellent at doing this. Nick Burton became the beloved cop, or every man's cop. He personifies the hardworking policeman who has worked his way to the top, but is considered lacking in intelligence. He is tough, experienced, and plays by the rules.
Dumb cop meets intelligent woman, and the atmosphere between them crackles like a wooden house, expanding while drying out under intense heat conditions.
The attraction takes place as it should, but it is not the primary theme in the story. The intelligent woman, embodied as the professor's assistant is not only smart, she is also strong. It is this combination of strength versus strength that makes Nick Burton and Jill Tindall so loving. They draw you into all of the themes of Inner Space, Book One and Inner Space, Book Two, The Reluctant Nemesis, and as you walk with them, they grow on you. You will find yourself becoming emotionally involved with the trilogy.
This brings us to the third book of the trilogy, Inner Space, Book Three, The All Seeing Eye.
If I were to describe the emotional ride I went on reading book three, The All Seeing Eye, I would rob you of one of the most exciting rides you have ever had when reading a paranormal book.
If I were to disclose whether or not Nick Burton got passed the stages of doubts concerning Dr. Jill work and entered the knowing and believing stage, you would be bitterly disappointed that I had revealed it, because I will have robbed you of an emotional experience you should have.
If I were to say you would meet two beautiful characters named Skippy and Scooter who would enhance the story in such a manner that they would win your heart, you would probably think I am over exaggerating, but it is so, and I will have robbed you of inviting to new buddies in your life. Skippy and Scooter became my buddies, and I loved the way they could handle any technical problem, and I had a strong desire for them to visit me and bring my technical system in order.
Fraser grows in his storytelling and exceeds the plateau peak of my Bell Curve. He bewitches the reader, until the very last page. Everyone is happy, including the reader. DCC Hardcastle, Dapper Dan, and all of the minor characters play such outstanding roles in this book that you as a reader will join in the expectancy, and in their success, because you know they are going to win.
The fate of the Professor is forgotten, the world runs orderly, and good has triumphed over evil, OR?'..
The paranormal, does it exist? Can we leave our bodies and wander through the city?
Are we spirits? Fraser's beliefs run throughout the book, and you cannot help but consider what he says. It does not have to be your belief. No' his task is not to convert you, but to make you think about what you believe. According to the belief Fraser espouses in his book, there are two categories of spirits; good and bad, and both are equally strong. Again, this theme is approached with the upmost delicacy. Fraser presents the facts of life, the way he sees it.
Returning to my dear old Bell Curve, if I were to rate the trilogy, Inner Space by Merlin Fraser, I would undoubtedly have to detour away from my theory and move into a well-round circle that in my opinion represents completeness.
Plot: Well written, the author knows how to differentiate within his complicated plot to entice the reader with his variations in the theme. The major theme of The All Seeing Eye centers around a world needing to be saved, but it is enhanced by shorter themes, which accompany it.
Evaluation: This is not the first paranormal series I have read. I studied Psychology at the University, and this area of Psychology was beginning to open up at that time. Scientists were beginning to do research and novelists were beginning to write fiction about it. Thus, I have read some fictional books in this genre, but none have impressed me as much as this series. In case you are wondering whether I would buy it, then the answer is yes. You see I bought this series to review it. There were no bribes or blackmail from the author, and when I give out money for a series, I like to know it was worth it.
For those of you who read my second review, you probably remember me saying two strikes for Fraser and two strikes against me. The third ball has been thrown.
'You're out!' cries out the Referee. And so it is, I am out. The Inner Space, Trilogy by Merlin Fraser was worth my money and worth my time. It was a joy to read, and I was sad after finishing it.
Congratulations! Mr. Fraser. I look forward to reading more of your work.