Harrowfield is in uproar as Daisy Charlotte Hind vanishes without a trace. It’s up to Senior Investigating Officer Jack Dylan to find her.Dylan’s worst nightmare is confirmed as a body is discovered and another child goes missing, is this the work of a serial killer with a deadly focus?Dylan’s nerve is put to the test. He is attacked on the job and finds his health under increasing strain.Live the story and the tension of the investigation as Dylan struggles to find a balance between his passion for his job and his love for his partner Jen.As the killer increases the pressure, will Jack Dylan be able to maintain the impetus to catch the killer and secure justice for the victim’s families?
Carol gives an overview of the book:
Nine-year-old Daisy Charlotte Hind was proud of the striking,red, curly hair that cascaded down her back in a haphazardfashion. She was often teased and called names like CarrotHead or Copper Top, but she didn’t care. No one had hair like hers atschool. It was special, her mummy told her, just like she was.Being a bridesmaid for the fi rst time was so exciting; Auntie Samand Uncle Tom were getting married, and they’d told her all she had todo was look pretty. Th at couldn’t be too diffi cult, she thought. Daisyloved all the attention it entailed. Th e grown-ups laughed at her as shestood on the kitchen table being fi tted for her dress.‘Stand up straight now,’ the dressmaker mumbled with pins in hermouth as she altered the hemline. ‘Look forward. Don’t look down.Let’s have a twirl now. Gorgeous!’Th e bridesmaid dress was ready at last, and Mum had picked itup. Daisy thought she would just burst with excitement as she skippedhome from school that day.Th e dress hung proudly on the living room door as Mum and Daisywalked into the house.‘Yippee!’ she exclaimed with glee as her mum took off its plasticwrapping so she could try it on. Daisy bounced up and down with joy,her arms waving feverishly in the air as Wendy lowered the dress overher head.‘Oh, wow, it fi ts a treat,’ Wendy said, carefully fastening the tinybuttons on the lace collar.‘Quick, Mummy, I want to look in the mirror,’ Daisy moanedimpatiently, hopping from one foot to the other as Wendy tied thesash.‘Stand still, will you for goodness sake,’ she scolded as she turnedDaisy around. ‘Gosh, you look so grown up!’ she said with a tear in hereye and a lump in her throat.Daisy fl ew up the stairs in her long, silk, jade-coloured dress as fastas her little legs would carry her. She spun round in front of a mirrormaking the skirt balloon out.‘I’m going to be a bridesmaid, I’m going to be a bridesmaid!’ shegiggled. Her black school shoes and old socks looked a bit scruff y shethought, but she had been promised they were going shopping for somesilver sandals on Saturday, and she was going to wear tights just like agrown up on the wedding day. She really was the ‘princess’ Grandmacalled her.‘Mummy it’s so… beautiful. Can I go and show Grandma, please?’she begged as she ran down the stairs.Wendy looked out of the window. It was cold and growing darkbut Irene did only live a few hundred yards away. What harm could itdo?‘Oh, go on then as long as you don’t stay long,’ Wendy laughed.‘But be careful not to dirty it, won’t you!’ she told her daughter as Daisygrabbed her duffl e coat from the banister at the bottom of the stairsand ran out of the door before her mum could change her mind.‘Don’t run!’ Wendy called out into the night as she watched Daisygo. Th e girl’s hair fl ew like a kite behind her as she ran around thecorner and out of sight.Th e street was well lit. Wendy stepped back inside and closed thedoor. Th e house felt warm after the bitter cold wind that rushed up thestreet. She shivered as she pulled the lounge curtains closed and wentupstairs to do the same in the bedrooms to shut out the night.She started to prepare tea, humming softly. Trevor would be homesoon. He was working a day shift at the fi re station, so she planned tobathe Daisy and get her tucked up in bed by half seven. It had beena busy and exciting day and Wendy was looking forward to a quietevening with Trevor, curled up in front of the telly with a glass of redwine. Coronation Street was on twice tonight.Grandma Irene lived on her own; she was seventy but Daisy madeher feel so much younger. Her husband had been dead for ten years,and all of the community activities she’d joined in didn’t begin to fi llthe hole dear Syd had left in her life. As Daisy had grown, she’d gaineda friend, a little girl who lit up her days and talked her to distraction.She idolised her granddaughter.A rap came at her door and although she didn’t normally open itafter dark the tiny voice shouting excitedly through the letterbox wasunmistakeably Daisy’s.‘Grandma! Open up it’s smee!’Grinning, Irene lifted the latch and pulled off the chain, and thelittle girl fell in, stumbling over the threshold in her haste.‘Be careful, sweetheart!’ she said as she grabbed her arm.‘Look Grandma, I’m a real bridesmaid now,’ Daisy squealed withdelight as she threw off her coat, stretched out her arms, and proudlyspun around to show off the dress in all its glory.‘Oh, Princess!’ Irene exclaimed clasping her hands with joy. ‘Youlook beautiful!’‘I can’t stay though; Mummy said I had to get straight back. We’vegot to keep my dress under a plastic cover to keep it clean,’ she chatteredexcitedly.Irene smiled the knowing smile of a grandma. ‘Th ank you forcoming to show me, darling. Here, shall I see what I’ve got in mycupboard for you?’ she asked, opening the door of her dresser.‘Th anks, Gran,’ Daisy said as she struggled back into her coat. Shetook the sweets eagerly in her hand and gave Irene a fl eeting hug.‘Bye bye, sweetheart, see you tomorrow after school,’ Irene saidkissing her on the cheek.Daisy stopped and waved to her grandma, who watched from herdoorstep as Daisy turned the corner into Rochester Street. Bless her,thought Irene as she closed the door and locked out the cold. She’s sucha good little girl.Daisy was almost home when a ferocious blow from behindshattered her skull. She never touched the ground. Her falling bodywas caught, scooped up, and thrown through the side door of a van.She was gone! Her tiny footsteps and quiet singing voice were no more.Warm, dark-red blood oozed from the head-wound, prevented fromsplashing to the ground only by the spread of her dress. Th e vehiclequietly and swiftly was driven away, it’s prey on board. Th ere was noone in sight, nothing to give witness to the fact that the brutal, evilmurder of a child had just taken place.Wendy was getting cross. Daisy had been gone for at least twentyminutes. Where the hell was she? She’d better not have got chocolate onthat dress, she fumed. Wendy knew her mum was a beggar for treatingthe little girl. As her anxiety began to mount, she looked out of thewindow. She stood at the door, but there was no sign of Daisy.‘Have you got an excited little bridesmaid with you?’ Wendy saidtrying to disguise her irate voice over the phone. Irene hated it whenWendy got cross with Daisy. She’s just a little girl she would say, and youwere just the same with your Nana when you were young.Her mother broke her reverie.‘Our Daisy? She left ages ago. I watched her. She didn’t stop aminute. Said you’d told her not to be long.’Wendy felt as if someone had just thumped her in the stomach.She dropped the phone and ran frantically to the door. Th e street wasempty but for a few parked cars. Th e eerie silence in the street wassuff ocating. Her steps pounded the pavement as she ran down to thecorner of Rochester Road.‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ she called, her voice getting louder and louderuntil her screaming echoed for streets around.‘Oh my god, oh my god, where is she?’ she whispered, her warmbreath visible in the air as she continued running. Her heart beatquickly within her chest, sinking against her stomach, and making herfeel sick. At Irene’s door she hammered, frantically shouting for it tobe opened. She fl ew past her stunned mother. Wendy ran into everyroom calling Daisy’s name. Th ere was no time to talk. Irene was leftshaking in Wendy’s wake as she screamed out for her daughter andran back towards her own home. Launching herself through her frontdoor, Wendy snatched the telephone off the hallway fl oor. Breathless,her heart pounding, she dialled 999 with a shaking hand. Impatiently,she tapped her foot and closed her eyes, willing them to answer.‘My daughter’s gone… Please help me….’ Wendy gushed withtears streaming down her face. Her body shook. She slid down thewall and sank to the fl oor, the telephone in her hand, and sobbed, herbody doubled in agony. Th e only explanation she could think of wasthat someone had taken her. Spluttering out her name and address, shegasped, sure she was about to faint, trying to listen, digest and thenanswer the questions the operator asked. Over and over she beggedfor them to be quick before being told the police were on their way.Hearing the dialling tone she rang Trevor’s mobile, although she wassure he wouldn’t answer. She looked at the clock. He’d be on his wayhome! He picked up, ‘I know I’m …’ he was stopped suddenly asWendy’s frantic voice spewed down the phone.‘Trevor, Trevor, oh my God, please come quickly. Daisy’s gone. OhGod, Trevor help me!’ She didn’t hear his response but knew he hadheard her. She didn’t ring off , the phone fell out of her hand and shesobbed heart-wrenching sobs.Blue lights appeared outside their home, illuminating the lounge.Trevor’s car screeched to a halt.‘Wendy!’ he cried as he ran in. Th e door was ajar and he could hearher hysterical weeping.‘My God, Trevor, somebody’s got her, somebody’s taken her,’ shegasped into Trevor’s chest as he bent down to his wife. He picked upthe phone, put it on its cradle and gently helped his wife to her feet. She wailed into his shoulder, her hands clawing the front of his jumperas he held her.‘Tell me what’s happened?’ he said gently, brushing the hair fromher tear-stained face.‘She wanted to show Mum her dress.’ Th e image of her daughterin her bridesmaid’s dress was imprinted in her mind. ‘She hasn’t comehome. I’ve looked for her… everywhere!’ Trevor caught his wife as herlegs buckled beneath her.‘Come on, sit down,’ Trevor said leading her to the settee whereshe collapsed, head in her hands. Trevor sat beside her, holding her andrubbing her back comfortingly.‘Th is can’t be happening. Who’s got her? She can’t just ’avevanished?’Somehow Wendy managed to fi nd the words to blurt out to thepolice what had happened. Repeating it over and over again.‘What can I do?’ Trevor begged the offi cers. ‘Some bastard’s got her.She can’t be far away!’But by now Daisy’s little porcelain-coloured body had been strippedand dumped like rubbish on wasteland – but not hidden. Th e killerwanted her found. He knew it would only be a matter of hours beforeshe was discovered.Th e evening sky changed colour with the arrival of each additionalpolice car’s lights. Th e search between Daisy’s home and her grandma’swas chaotic. Every house in the street was lit. People banged on theirneighbours’ doors and shouted through their letterboxes to ask for helpto fi nd Daisy. Rochester Street had houses to one side only. On theother side was a slope topped with a ten-foot wall, and beyond that wasa railway line. Th ere was no way she could have got over that, althoughpeople crawled with torches up the embankment. Cries for Daisy rangout in the darkness.A young PC brought a distraught Irene up to Wendy and Trevor’shouse so that they could comfort each other. As far as anyone knew,Daisy had vanished into thin air. Every minute that passed caused thefamily more anxiety, more concern, more panic. Th eir eyes clung to thehands on the clock. When would it end?‘She’s a good girl. She would never run away. She was so happy. Igave her sweets and watched her turn the corner from my door. She wasskipping. Where is the poor little lamb? It’s so, so cold!’ Irene panicked.Th e police offi cer tried to comfort her as Irene twisted her hands inworry. All of a sudden she clasped her chest in pain as she struggled tobreathe, rubbing her arm furiously. Her face turned grey, clammy tothe touch, and the quick-thinking offi cer who sat at her side rang foran ambulance. Wendy rushed to her mother’s side and cradled her inher arms.‘Trevor, get Mum some water, could you?’ she asked anxiously. Th eparamedics were quick with the tests, and before anyone knew whatwas happening Irene’s face was covered with an oxygen mask, and shewas being carried on a stretcher into the waiting ambulance. Wendygrasped her mother’s hand tightly for a second as she was taken past.Th e doors were closed. Sirens amongst the fl ashing blue lights ensureda clear path was made for the ambulance to get through the crowds thatwere gathering.‘I should go with her.’ Wendy wailed like an animal in pain as she
watched her mother being taken away. ‘Where’s my baby?’ she sobbed to Trevor and the police officers. ‘I want my Mum.’
RC Bridgestock is a co-author team between husband and wife Robert (Bob) & Carol Bridgestock.
So what makes the couple qualify to write in the crime genre?
With nearly half a century of combined police experience, we try to bring unique insight and...