Hunter's Revenge is the second novel in the series of novels DI Hunter Wilson Crime Thrillers published by SpellBound Books on 30 November . You can read the blurb and an extract here to get a flavour of the story.
Hunter by name – Hunter by nature.
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is a loyal friend and a fair leader. He is called to the scene of a murder in Edinburgh where the corpse has been fatally shot. He is dismayed to find the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Hunter must investigate Reinbold’s murky past in Germany to identify George’s killer. At the same time, Hunter is tasked with looking into a previously undetected criminal gang supplying drugs from Peru. There seems to be no connection between the murder and the drug supply until Hunter unexpectedly secures help from inmates of the local jail.
Hunter’s investigations are hampered by distracted members of his team and unobservant witnesses.
Reinbold was not the quiet, old man Hunter believed him to be and his killer bore their grudge for a lifetime.
Hunter and his team have a briefing to discuss the cases they have investigated.
DCI Mackay looked very pleased with himself and beamed beatifically across the team at the briefing.
“I understand you have been busy, and we have results.”
“Yes, sir.” Everybody nodded.
Bear grinned. “Most importantly, Mel didn’t need surgery. She is sore because her wound needed staples, but she should be out of hospital later today.”
“I am delighted, DC Zewedu,” Mackay said. “Send flowers from us all, will you, Hunter?”
“Done, Sir. They will be waiting for her when she gets home,” Tim said.
“Bear, I would like an opportunity to see Mel and speak to her parents,” Hunter said.
“Of course, Sir. You are welcome anytime. But I have to warn you, we only have instant coffee.”
Nadia walked around collecting the cartons from the Chinese takeaway of the previous night. The room smelled of fried food and garlic. She opened a window just as Mackay called for attention.
“DI Wilson, can you bring me up to speed?”
Hunter stood up. “We have charged Brian Squires with assault on Jamie Thomson. But it’s a first offence, so I wouldn’t hold out for a long sentence.”
“We can't have everything, I suppose,” Mackay said.
“June Dormer, otherwise known as Mrs Saleh, will be reprimanded by her professional body, and also, I suspect, by her husband. But she has committed no crime.”
“I still wouldn’t like to be in her shoes,” Tim volunteered.
“Hadi Akram and Kasim Saleh have both been charged with drug smuggling and trafficking,” Hunter said. “Saleh has also been charged with assault on a police officer in course of their duty.”
“What about Reinbold?” Mackay asked.
Hunter sighed. “Nothing, really. He did send George postcards, which frightened him. He also agreed to facilitate Lenny’s intended crime by causing a diversion, but apart from that, and hating George, he’s off the hook. He’s been charged with conspiracy and on bail at the moment, but I can’t see the Crown taking this one forward. There are bigger fish to fry.”
“What will happen to George’s books?” Tim asked.
“I don't know for sure, but if George hadn’t made a will, Heinrich will inherit them by default,” Hunter said.
“That’s galling, isn't it?” Tim sighed.
“Hunter, what I want to know is who killed George and who did in that poor wee girl. Do we know?” Mackay asked.
“Yes, we do, Sir. Well, I do.”
“Go on, Hunter, my patience is wearing thin.”
“Merkel and The Lizard were both economical with the truth. They were honest up to the point when they both told us that The Lizard got Merkel to pick up the Volvo for him because Jamie would recognise him.”
“That makes sense,” Mackay said.
“Merkel is going to face drug charges because we found him in possession of such a huge quantity of cocaine. We have charged him with Jenny’s murder.”
“But she died after the car was set on fire, didn’t she, boss?” Nadia asked.
“Yes; Doctor Sharma found evidence of burning in her lungs. That proves she was breathing during the fire, although we don’t know if she was conscious.”
“God, I hope she wasn’t, poor kid. What a horrible way to die,” Colin said.
“The positioning of the car means we are unable to see who started the fire, but my guess is it was Merkel,” Hunter added.
“Guesses don’t provide us with evidence to convict, Hunter,” Mackay said.
“Even if Merkel didn’t set the car alight, surely, as he left her bound and gagged in the boot, we can charge him with murder – or at least culpable homicide?” Tim asked.
“Yes,” Hunter said. “We can and we have. I will be glad if we can get justice for the girl, but I’m still not looking forward to telling Mrs Kozlowski.”
“Can I tell Jamie, boss?” Tim asked.
Mackay banged the desk. “What I really want to know is: who killed George?”
“That was Merkel too. He went to check out the house, didn’t he, boss?” Colin asked.
“He did check out the house, and he intended to kill George,” Hunter said. “But no, it wasn’t him. He told the truth when he said that he went to George’s house intending to kill him, but George was already dead when he got there.”
“Really? The Lizard said it wasn’t him.” Tim looked confused.
“He did say that Tim, but he lied,” Hunter said. “I couldn’t understand why The Lizard needed both Heinrich Reinbold and Max Merkel to use cars from Thomson’s at the same time. Then it clicked. The Lizard was in this up to his neck. He needed money to finance the lifestyle demanded by the lovely Janice and came over here precisely to do the job for Mansoor, receive the cocaine hidden in the Volvo as payment, and sell it to keep Janice. It was just his bad luck – or maybe good luck – that he was delayed by his mother’s illness. That delay meant he never collected the cocaine, even though he’d kept his side of the bargain. That’s why he was so bloody furious.”
“Of course; that’s why he thought of the car, and its contents, as being his,” Tim said.
“Do you remember when we saw him at breakfast in the hotel, Tim?”
“Oh, yes, the waiter made a comment about how smart The Lizard looked that day in his suit rather than his tracksuit and asked whether he hadn’t gone for a run. It was around the time that I hurt myself whilst I was running,” Tim agreed.
“That’s right. The morning George was killed, The Lizard went early to do the deed and claimed he had been for a jog. We had no witnesses to this earlier visit to George’s home, only the later one when Merkel tried to kill a dead man, just before the Winnie the Pooh book was delivered.”
Tim nodded. “Now it all makes sense, boss. That’s why The Lizard was so angry when he found he had been cheated out of the cocaine, his payment. Why did he send Squires round to collect the car when he had arranged with Merkel to pick it up from Comely Bank?”
“Because Merkel didn’t leave the car in the agreed place, so The Lizard couldn’t find it. He supposed, wrongly, that Merkel had returned the Volvo to Thomson’s Top Cars by mistake, and Lizard sent his muscle, Squires, to Thomson’s to get the car.”
“Why not just get it himself?” Tim asked.
“Because The Lizard knew Jamie would recognise him. And he also needed time to get rid of his bloody tracksuit. Our uniform guys found it in the hotel bins.”
“Ugh! That must have been a dirty job,” Nadia said.
“It was. If they get hold of The Lizard after that job, we may have another murder on our hands.”
“I don’t blame them. Nasty!” Tim said.
“So how do we know Lenny killed George, and that Max Merkel and Heinrich Reinbold are telling the truth about that, Hunter?” Mackay asked.
“Jane’s witness saw the blue car and the man in the grey suit. Heinrich wears a grey suit to work. Surely Heinrich killed his Uncle?” Nadia asked.
“No, Nadia. Heinrich was certainly angry enough to kill George, but he didn’t do it. He terrified George with the menacing postcards, but he didn’t murder him.”
“So, what happened, DI Wilson?” Mackay asked.
“Merkel saw Heinrich take the Bentley for its test drive, and that was when he forged his plan. He knew this distraction bought him time that evening. He also knew the book George had purchased from him was being delivered the following morning, because he tracked it. It was an opportunistic plan. He went to shoot George about an hour before the book was due to arrive.”
“I can see that,” Tim said.
“But Merkel's plot was foiled because The Lizard had already killed George before he arrived. Merkel was telling the truth about that. He felt cheated about evening the score with George as he had killed his father, so he ordered the meaningful wreath as a final ‘Fuck you’ to George.”
“The Lizard felt cheated because he did the job for Mansoor but didn’t get paid,” Mackay said.
“Ian Thomson told us early on that The Lizard was a gun for hire. We should have listened,” Hunter said.
“You’re right, boss, we should,” Tim said.
“Was it Merkel that Mrs Roberts saw, then?” Bear asked.
“Yes, Bear. Jane’s witness saw Merkel in his grey suit and blue Volvo pull up outside George’s home, but neither she, nor any of the other witnesses, heard a shot, because Merkel didn’t fire one. George was dead when he got there. Merkel simply drove the Volvo out to the airport and got a tram back to the hotel, where he had breakfast, as if nothing had happened. It was early. Nobody thought about it because he was there for breakfast as usual.”
“So, the car the witness saw was the one Merkel was in,” Tim said.
“Yes. The witness confirmed Merkel’s version of events. The blue car pulled up, the man got out, walked up the path, paused at the door and walked back. We saw the Volvo on the CCTV but couldn’t identify the driver. We weren’t looking for another earlier car.” Hunter paused.
Nadia and Colin looked disappointed.
“Nadia and Colin, you did good work,” Hunter continued, “but The Lizard slipped through the net. Merkel did take The Lizard’s gun away and got it professionally cleaned. He must have cleaned his fingerprints off his own gun himself, to avoid having to explain two revolvers to the gunsmith.”
“With German precision, boss,” Colin said. “There’s not a mark on it.”
“Unlike my poor Mel,” Bear sighed. “She’s all bruised, and they had to shave the back of her head to put in the staples. I can’t wait to get her home.”
“Then go, Bear,” Hunter said quietly, “and do just that.”
Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.
Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction, and novels.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.