Faith by guest author Chris Parker
I am delighted to welcome the fine author Chris Parker to my blog today. He is sharing an excerpt of the third book in his Marcus Kline trilogy, Faith. Geoff Thompson, the BAFTA Award Winner says. ‘I began reading Chris Parker twenty years ago. He was amazing then. He is amazing now.’
After the terrifying events of Belief, Ethan Hall has been charged with multiple homicides. His trial is about to begin – will it bring closure for Marcus Kline and those he loves? Ethan has been in solitary confinement in the medical wing of a prison for several months. However officers still have to interact with him and he has hypnotised two of them to kill ex-offenders. He has also chosen to defend himself in court. Surely justice will prevail?
Faith is Chris Parker’s thrilling final book in the Marcus Kline trilogy. Can Marcus Kline ultimately triumph over his deadly nemesis?
MONDAY – TRIAL DAY 1
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jones was feeling as calm as was
Sitting alone in the Crown Court building in a room he had
requisitioned to serve as both police waiting room and a store for
exhibits, he let his mind review it all one last time.
He had read and reread all of the relevant files. He had cleared his
diary, provisionally at least, to give himself the best chance of being
available every day until a verdict was reached. He had tried every
way he knew to share with Mike Coopland his insights into the
threat posed by Ethan Hall. He had spent dozens of hours quietly
reviewing every aspect of the investigation and eventual arrest.
Every detail was clear and recorded.
At least, every detail they had.
It was the missing details that were fraying the edges of his
calmness. The missing details from the missing hours. The
unaccounted time between Ethan Hall’s escape from hospital
and his subsequent arrest. There were just too many hours when,
according to their records, Ethan Hall did absolutely nothing at all.
And to Peter Jones’s way of thinking that didn’t make any sense.
Ethan Hall was a class A predator. A shark. And sharks didn’t stop
moving just because they were out of sight. So the questions were
Where did he go?
What did he do?
Simple questions his team had still not been able to answer,
despite their ongoing investigation.
Now, even though it felt as if there was still unfinished business,
it was time to step back and let Mike take the lead. Now his role
was to support the barrister as best he could. From past experience
he knew that meant providing answers, ideas and reminders only
when asked. When a trial began Mike demanded the spotlight.
Which was ideal as far as Peter was concerned, even though he did
torment his friend about it relentlessly.
‘You are the world’s biggest Diva!’ He had once proclaimed.
‘God forbid, if you could sing like Mariah Carey you’d have an
entourage twice the size and make more demands than a terrorist
group who’d kidnapped the American President.’
‘And I’d ban you from all my shows,’ Mike replied.
‘Wouldn’t need to. It’s all I can do to cope with the courtroom
Which was an absolute lie. Peter had long been an admirer of
Mike’s creative and charismatic delivery. He had seen it be the
deciding factor in more than one trial.
‘We can’t guarantee justice,’ Peter mused, ‘ but we do go after it
with everything in our power.’
His words triggered a memory of Calvin Brent; of a conversation
they had shared several months before.
‘Detective Chief Inspector,’ the drug baron had said in his loud,
mocking voice, ‘I am a law-abiding businessman who contributes
to society by meeting the needs of my local community. So why
don’t you stop wasting time and money and leave me alone?’
Brent, known on the streets as The Numbers Man, had leaned
forward across his heavy mahogany desk. ‘Besides, you can’t ever
catch a big fish with a small fishing rod.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean exactly?’ Peter kept his face
He had tried for many years to end this man’s criminal reign,
but no one had ever been brave enough to testify against him and
Brent had always ensured he was far removed from the action.
‘It means you’re not equipped to fish in the deepest waters. You
should stay in the shallows, picking up what you can, convincing
all the good tax payers of Nottingham that you are in control and
keeping them safe.’
‘I catch everything I go after,’ Peter said grimly. ‘Besides,
sometimes the biggest fish are so sure of their invulnerability they
swim where they shouldn’t and find themselves beached. We all
know what happens to a fish out of water.’
‘The trick is to always be clear which way the current is flowing.’
Brent sat back. ‘Anyway, to return to your original reason for being
here, let me say again I have never met or, indeed, communicated
in any way with Ethan Hall. The fact that one of my occasional
employees, Matthew Lawson, had dealings with him has nothing
to do with me. The fact that he was then taken prisoner by Hall
suggests they had problems of their own. I, obviously, know
nothing about that. As an upstanding member of the community,
I assure you I would tell you if I did.’
‘Forgive me if I don’t find that at all reassuring.’
‘Of course. I’m famous for my forgiveness. You know that.’ The
Numbers Man bared his teeth.
Peter left without saying another word. Two days later a package
had been delivered to his home address. It contained a copy of
Moby Dick. He gave it pride of place on his bookshelf.
Now Peter looked round the small room he was sitting in. ‘Ahab,
you should have killed that fucking whale for sure,’ he muttered.
And you should never have let it drag you down.’
Peter stood up and stretched, forcing Calvin Brent from his
consciousness. Here and now, in the real world, the trial was all
His mobile phone began ringing at precisely the same moment
Detective Sergeant Kevin McNeill knocked on the door and
entered the room.
‘No need to answer that Boss!’ McNeill raised his right hand
as if stopping traffic. ‘Whatever it is, it’s not as important as this!’
Peter hesitated briefly and let his anger show. ‘I’ll be the judge
of that.’ For all sorts of very good reasons his DS had never before
come close to giving him an instruction. Which was reason
enough to ignore the phone. ‘You’d better hope you’re right.’
‘Yes Boss.’ It was McNeill’s turn to hesitate.
Peter watched him realise the risk he was taking. The ringing
stopped. ‘It’s too late to turn back now, Kevin. You’ve placed your
bet so roll the dice.’
‘Yeah. Of course.’ McNeill wiped his mouth with the back of
his left hand. ‘There’s been a murder. Body found at 5.56am this
morning. The entrance to Mount Street car park. Multiple stab
wounds to the lower abdomen. And a sheet of A4 pinned to his
chest with the word Paedo written on it.’
‘What have we got, someone who doesn’t know how to spell
long words or someone who’s just saving ink?’
‘Might be a frugal, illiterate butcher.’
‘Yeah. The victim’s bollocks were cut off and left on the paper.’
‘Dear God! Do we know who the dead man is?
‘A local businessman – ex-businessman I should say. He lost
everything fairly recently. His name’s Naseem Akhtar. He was
investigated as part of Operation Sandcastle.’
‘I remember. He had a family member who was the ringleader
of the gang. Akhtar, though, was freed without charge. He
disappeared off the grid sometime after that.’
‘The thing is the killer posted a photo of the body on all the
usual social media.’
‘Fucking technology! I keep telling you we’d be better off
‘That’s as might be Boss, but the really bad news is – ’
‘- You don’t think what you’ve just shared is bad news?’
‘Yeah, it’s bad. It’s just that this is worse.’
‘Excellent. Go on.’
‘He gave the picture a headline – a call to arms – and a hashtag.
He wrote, Reclaim our streets. Hashtag Pass it on. It’s gone viral.
Thousands of responses already, most of them cheering their
‘Anyway you look at it Boss.’ McNeill raised an eyebrow.
‘Yeah, fair point,’ Peter chuckled. ‘Who’s the lucky sod who’s
drawn this one?’
‘Let’s hope he can sort it quickly. As it stands the press are going
to have a field day, what with Ethan Hall in here and a lunatic
paedophile killer out there.’
‘You never know, it might distract from the trial; ease our
pressure a bit.’
‘Doubt it. To be honest with you, even though it seems clearly
disconnected, I can’t help but wonder about the timing of it all.’
‘It can’t be anything to do with Hall.’
‘That would be the logical conclusion.’
‘But sometimes gut instinct trumps logical conclusion, and this
just feels wrong in my gut.’
‘I keep telling you, you’re eating too many curries.’
‘Let’s hope that’s what it is. Anyway, it’s not our case so let’s
focus on what we’re here to do.’ Peter looked at his watch. ‘Because
if all is going to schedule our main attraction should be making
his way into Court Number 1 right now.’
‘Here we go then,’ Kevin sighed and shook his head. ‘Ladies and
gentlemen, for the first time ever, a murderous hypnosis weirdo
meets men in wigs. All fucking rise.