I am lucky today, to be able to publish an extract from an exciting new novel by author Dylan H Jones and set on the stunning Welsh Island of Anglesey.
It’s not the homecoming Detective Inspector Tudor Manx was expecting, but solving the case is just the start of his problems. Recently transferred from the London Met to the North Wales Constabulary, Detective Inspector Tudor Manx has come to the Island of Anglesey hoping for a quiet life. But his hopes are dashed when a brutally mutilated body is found crucified to the bow of a fishing boat sending shockwaves through the peaceful community. Manx faces pressure to solve the case quickly equipped with an inexperienced team. Is the body a message or a premonition of more murders to come? Adding to his problems, Manx’s troubled past returns to haunt him. Manx left the island after the disappearance of his younger sister, Miriam, a cold case that still remains unsolved.
Can Manx solve the case before the body count rises?
How will he cope when he is forced to choose between his family and his duty as a police officer?
They meant to kill him. He understood that now. There would be no time to process this thought, or plead for his life. Decisions had been made, plans were to be executed, and loose ends disposed of. It was the natural order of things, as inevitable as the slow rise of the sun, which had chosen this moment to cast its ghostly radiance over the late October dawn. The captain, speaking from behind the chamber of his pistol, addressed the crewman in a deliberate manner, as if speech itself might absolve him of the act he was about to commit. “No witnesses,” he said, pinching back the trigger. Fear clotted in the crewman’s mouth like a dry cloth. The remaining seconds unspooled before him, as if in slow motion: the captain’s eyes narrowing into a cruel, merciless squint, the unlit cigarette falling to the deck, the crush of the captain’s heel over the thin wrapping of tobacco, the inevitable crack of a firing pin, shattering the morning’s brittle silence. The bullet shattered the crewman’s shoulder, narrowly missing the vital web of arteries and veins. To his left, he heard the grind of machinery slipping from its gears. The sharp corner of a metal lobster basket struck his temple, whirling his senses into a blur of indiscriminate shapes and colours. Stumbling, he reached for a lifeline, finding only dead air to cling to. As he descended through the dark mass of seawater, he felt a swell of adrenaline surge through his veins. If he were a religious man, he would have thanked God for this thin sliver of mercy, but his faith was in practicalities and facts, not miracles and fairy tales.
This was merely his body’s primal need for survival, pushing upwards towards the shallow filter of sunlight. He broke the surface, and gulped at the oxygen-rich air. Pain gnawed at his shoulder and temple, as the saltwater seeped into the open wounds. If nothing else, it was a sign he was alive, and if he was alive, there had to be hope. As he pulled the surrounding landscape into focus, he scanned the horizon for any familiar landmarks, but this was no place he recognised, at least not in this light. He’d always considered himself a strong swimmer, but already, his muscles were struggling. How long could he survive out here? Hours, maybe less? Ahead of him, the grind of the boat’s engine spat a final insult of saltwater, before fading into the thick swell of fog. He was alone—the revelation fell on him like a rock. As he drifted, his hand brushed against something thick and solid. His chest tightened. He reached for the object, and felt a momentary sense of elation at his good fortune; the driftwood was large enough to support his weight. He folded his arms around the knotted timber, laid his head down, and rested. Where was he? They were scheduled to dock in Liverpool later today. Hadn’t they passed the coast of Ireland some hours ago? Or was that yesterday? Lights blinked along the mainland, as the inhabitants woke from their sleep, warm in their beds; he envied them those most mundane of luxuries. He should have studied the route more carefully, asked more questions. But, this was his maiden voyage; he was instructed to keep his head down, do what he was told, and if he worked hard, they might hire him again. Only yesterday, the Captain had offered him three hundred euros to carry six crates from the secondary hold and onto the deck. ‘Easy money,’ the Captain had said. His mother would have called it by another name: the devil’s penny. He thought of his wife, Katia. She’d be at the apartment now, making breakfast. Was she thinking about him? Or was she worrying about the day ahead? She worked too hard, worried too much.
But, that would end. He had promised her this at the dockside. He could still sense the dampness of her tears on his cheek as she kissed him. She had said nothing, just smiled, and then pulled away, as if she herself were retreating into the scenery—drawn back to the routine and rhythm of her life. The image of his father passed through his mind. He remembered the factory Viktor had worked at since he was a boy—the sort of work that broke a man’s body—a relentless grind which had shaved the layers off his heart until it was fit for nothing but scrap. He’d sworn to never permit life the satisfaction of beating him down like that. He would never be like his father; this he had promised himself. But, at this moment, he would have gladly stepped into Viktor’s boots, sweating under the filth of the steel-works, his eyes scorched by the hellish molten liquid spilling like lava into the colossal iron buckets. Maybe he’d been too rash in dismissing the apprenticeship his father had secured him. ‘A job for life, son,’ Viktor had explained to him, as if that was all that mattered. He saw it differently; it was a life traded for a job. A bargain struck at the age of sixteen, the contract fully obligated at sixty, then, if you were lucky, a handful of years in retirement, before death came to claim its inheritance. Maybe it was like his father had always said: a fool dreams of riches, a good man dreams of happiness, but to end up with neither, what did that make him? Hours later, or was it days, his body was dragged further out into the open sea. Discordant memories flickered before his eyes, yet he felt strangely at peace, as the images played out their acts. Maybe he was becoming resigned to his fate, and death would come to claim him like a soft, dark palm pressing down until he no longer felt its sting. As the cold and now familiar darkness drew over his eyes, a flash of light appeared to the east, like a large, silver-winged fish fracturing the surface. It travelled rapidly towards him, skimming across the ocean, until its transparent wing obscured the day’s scant sunlight. His fingers curled tighter around the driftwood. Above him, the great billowing wing shredded the air with noise. He closed his eyes and prayed: a childish, nursery rhyme of a prayer he remembered from school. Shadow and cold fell over him. Then, the impact, potent and precise—a direct hit to his sternum, which emptied the last remaining pockets of air from his lungs. The crewman sank, without complaint, into the unforgiving darkness, the crumbs of the half-remembered prayer still unfinished on his lips.
Dylan is a native, Anglesey-born Welshman who now lives in Oakland, California with his wife Laura and daughter, Isabella. He has worked as a media executive and copywriter at numerous TV networks and advertising agencies both in London and San Francisco. Currently, he is owner and Creative Director of Jones Digital Media, a video content agency.
Dylan was born on Anglesey and moved away when he was seven years old to the Northeast of England. His family then moved to the Wirral for several years before settling back on Anglesey when he was fourteen. Dylan studied Communication Arts and Media at the University of Leeds, then moved to Cardiff, working for S4C. In 1993 he relocated to London as a Creative Director with Channel 4 TV. Today, he lives in Oakland, California. His parents, sister and most of his immediate family still live on the island.
Anglesey Blue is the first in a series of crime novels featuring the sardonic, sharp-witted but troubled detective, Detective Inspector Tudor Manx. Dylan’s life, both on and off the island, inspired him to develop the series.
“Creating flawed, compelling, and believable characters is the core of my storytelling.” Dylan says. “I want DI Tudor Manx and all the supporting characters to come alive as readers turn the page. Tudor Manx’s journey is just beginning, and I’m looking forward to writing more about this complex and troubled man as he confronts the demons of his past and hopefully finds the peace and redemption he’s searching for.”
Anglesey Blue is published by Bloodhound Books.
The book can be bought from Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06X9Z8132/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488026245&sr=1-2&keywords=anglesey+blue