Стюарт Макбрайд: Now We Are Dead

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Стюарт Макбрайд Now We Are Dead
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    Now We Are Dead
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Now We Are Dead: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel got caught fitting up Jack Wallace — that’s why they demoted her and quashed his sentence. Now he’s back on the streets and women are being attacked again. Wallace has to be responsible, but if Detective Sergeant Steel goes anywhere near him, his lawyers will get her thrown off the force for good. The Powers That Be won’t listen to her, not after what happened last time. According to them, she’s got more than enough ongoing cases to keep her busy. Perhaps she could try solving a few instead of harassing an innocent man? Steel knows Wallace is guilty. And the longer he gets away with it, the more women will suffer. The question is: how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop him?

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Stuart MacBride

Now We Are Dead


Alan Alexander Milne

for writing the book

that made me

a reader


In the autumn of 2016 I did a Very Foolish Thing: I allowed myself to be talked into appearing on Celebrity Mastermind.

Now that might not sound so Very Foolish to you, because you’re a sophisticated person-about-town type who can remember Important Things, like when the Battle of Hastings was and what you had for breakfast yesterday. I’m not, I’ve no idea, and I think it was an egg (but I can’t be certain). I have a terrible memory and I really don’t like quiz shows, because watching them just makes me feel thick.

But I let myself get talked into it anyway. Tried to back out when I came to my senses. And was talked back into it again. Oh dear.

Then came the Big Question — what would my specialist subject be? I picked ‘The Life and Major Works of A.A. Milne’ because the first book I can ever remember reading is Winnie-the-Pooh. It’s the book of me: the one that sits at the core of my being, way down there in my dark and sticky heart. The first book I loved. The book that made me into a reader. So off I went and studied and crammed and revised and Worked Very Hard not to make a complete and utter goat-squirrelling bumhole of myself on national television.

Now, I am a great believer in recycling and there was no chance in hell I was going to let all that studying go to waste after the horror of sitting in the Big Black Leather Chair had faded (I still get flashbacks), so I decided to channel it all into a book.

It just so happened that there was a story I wanted to tell that I thought would probably fit quite well with this newfound A.A. Milne-flavoured knowledge swirling around in my head.

It’s the story of what happens to Detective Chief Inspector Roberta Steel after she was caught being Very, Very Naughty in In the Cold Dark Ground. After all, I did rather leave her hanging and she’s been impatient to be getting on with things.

Logan, on the other hand, was adamant that he’d Worked Very Hard in the last two books and he’d really much rather go on holiday somewhere nice and sunny: where no one ever got murdered, beaten with a claw-hammer, threatened by criminals, slapped by their sister, or had to frisk Extremely Smelly People for weapons and/or drugs. So he won’t be appearing in this book (except for a tiny cameo, where he wandered into a chapter or two by mistake {then wandered right out again, when he realised this story isn’t about him [because it’s about Roberta]}).

But don’t worry, she’s got Detective Constable Stewart Quirrel to keep her company and stop her from doing anything we’ll all regret. Or at least he’ll Do His Best, and that’s all we can ask of anyone...

Oh dear: Roberta’s glaring at me and tapping on her watch. She clearly thinks I’ve spent quite enough time on this introduction and I should get my finger out and actually start the book.

She’s probably right.

S. B. MB

are you sitting comfortably?

Halfway Down the Stairs

Jack whistles as he works his way downstairs, one step at a time: the ‘Funeral March’, but the tune falls apart because he can’t — stop — grinning.

OK, so today started out pretty bad, but it’s going to end absolutely perfect. Class one. Grade A. Whoop-de-bloody-doo. Terrific.

It’s a nice house, maybe a bit on the frumpy side, but big. Bet it’s worth a lot of money. No way an honest cop can afford all this. But then she isn’t honest, is she? No, she’s a dirty lying, corrupt, BITCH.

Jack shifts his grip on her ankles and looks back over his shoulder. Keeps hauling her down the stairs, nice and slow so the Bitch’s head bounces off each and every step.

Bump. Bump. Bump.

Could she be dressed more like a dyke if she tried? Dungarees? Honestly, some people have no sense of style at all. She’s even wearing comfortable shoes, for Christ’s sake. What a cliché.

And what’s with the hair? Looks like someone tumble-dried a Scottie Dog then stapled it to a wrinkly chimpanzee. Lesbians in porn films look nothing like that. They’re all lithe and young and pert. Compliant. Willing. Grateful. Completely unlike Detective Sergeant — Oh I’m So Special — Roberta Bloody Steel in her bulldog-dyke dungarees.

Still, she’ll not be wearing them long.

Her eyes flicker open as her head bumps against the next step down. Mouth moving like it’s not been wired up right. ‘Unnnngggghhhh...’

Gwah... The smell coming off her: like someone drowned a tramp in cheap chardonnay and cheaper perfume.

Still, Jack’s prepared to overlook all that, cos he’s a gentleman. And this one’s been a long time coming.

He gives her a smile. ‘Oh, we’re going to have so much fun!

Bump. Bump. Bump.

Chapter One

in which we are introduced to Roberta Steel

and her Horrible New Job


Tufty lunged, arm outstretched, fingertips just brushing the backpack... then closing on thin air. Too slow.

The wee scroat laughed, shoved his way through a couple of pensioners examining the pay-as-you-go phones, and exploded out through the doors. His mate hurdled the fallen oldies, hooting and cheering. Hit the pavement and ran right, twisting as he went to stick both middle fingers up through the Vodafone shop window.

Tufty sprinted after them. Burst through the doors and out onto Union Street.

Four-storey buildings in light granite lined the four-lane road, their bottom floors a solid ribbon of shops. Buses grumbled by, white vans, taxis, cars.

The foot traffic wasn’t nearly thick enough for the pair of them to disappear into a crowd. They didn’t even try. Running, laughing, hoodies flapping out behind them. A couple of mobile phones clattered to the paving slabs, screens shattering amongst the chewing-gum acne.

Look at them: neither one a day over thirteen, acting like this was the most fun they’d ever had in their lives. Expensive trainers, ripped jeans, one bright-blue hoodie — violent orange hair — one bright-red — dark with frosted tips — both with stupid trendy haircuts. Earrings and piercings sparkling in the morning sunlight.

Tufty picked up the pace. ‘Hoy! You!’

The clacker-clack of Cuban heels hammered the pavement behind him.

He glanced back and there she was: Detective Sergeant Steel, actually giving chase for once. Didn’t think she had it in her. Her dark-grey suit was open, yellow silk shirt shimmering, grey hair sticking out in all directions like a demented ferret. Face set in a grimace. Probably hadn’t done any serious running since she was a kid — trying not to get eaten by dinosaurs.

A man wiped coffee off his jacket. ‘You rotten wee shites! I was drinking that!’

An old woman grabbed at her split bag-for-life, its contents rolling free. Off the kerb and into the road. ‘Come back here and pick this up, or I’ll tan your backsides!’

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