OMFG!!!!!!! I am over-the-bloody-moon to be able to #UnleashBoulder into the world today! For those of you who missed Chapter One, head over to By The Letter Book Reviews and have a read of that first. I have to say, being a MASSIVE fan of Graham Smith (#LeaderOfHisCheer) I jumped at the opporchancity to give you all a taste of my #FictionalBoyfriend – Jake Boulder! I will include some links at the bottom which I urge you to also check out as it will give you a wee experience of what you can expect from this new, exciting series by Graham Smith!! Woohoo! Grab a cuppa, kick back and enjoy the new man in town – he is #Boulderlicious! ?
Watching The Bodies by Graham Smith
The guy in the check shirt makes two mistakes in quick succession. First, he throws a punch at me. Second, he misses.
I coil forward from my ducking weave and introduce my forehead to his nose. The crunching thunk is more than a little satisfying.
Before he has time to gather his wits, I grab him by the wrist, bend his arm up his back and use his already shattered nose to open the door. Giving him just enough of a shove to propel him down the three steps without capsizing him, I turn, ready to deal with anyone else who wants to be a ten-beer hero.
Walking back into The Joshua Tree, I see three guys holding the one who’d picked the fight. They are having limited success in their efforts to calm him down.
I have to shout in his ear to make myself heard over the strains of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. ‘I’ve tossed him out because he took a swing at me. You gonna make the same mistake?’
A shake of the head is all the answer I get. I don’t expect anything more. Tom Kerslake is a local man with an image to keep. Getting his ass handed to him in a public place won’t be high on his wish list.
I’d been expecting the fight to happen from the moment he’d walked in. A serial cheat himself, he’d been overly aggrieved when his wife indulged in a spot of revenge sex with the oil worker I’ve just ejected.
Seeing the fight drain out of him, I give a curt nod and retake my position by the bar. From here I can see the whole room and observe everything that’s going on.
As its name suggests, The Joshua Tree is a rock bar, where even the music has to be twenty-one or older to get in. Frequented by bikers, rockers, and horny women hoping for a bad boy to take home, it is the most profitable bar in Casperton.
Serving homemade pastrami burgers with a chilli-based fry sauce as a speciality means the Tree, as it is known locally, also turns a steady dime throughout the days.
I toss drunks every Friday and Saturday night. The extra bucks are always useful and the infrequent scuffles keep my appetite for violence satisfied.
The MacDonald blood in my veins has a long history of warfare and when it boils hot, I find myself spoiling for a fight.
Before my mother had remarried and moved us from Glasgow to Utah, my maternal grandfather had taught me how to fight. Not boxing or any kind of martial art. Real everyday fighting. Down and dirty streetfighting with fists, elbows and any other part of the body which could be used to inflict pain upon another human being.
Grandpa’s teachings served me well. My burring Scottish accent got me into plenty of schoolyard fights back in the day. For some reason the local jocks took exception to a cocksure fourteen-year-old landing in their midst and winning the attention of almost every cheerleader.
The fact I won enough battles to establish myself as handy didn’t help matters any. They just decided to come at me in a group. I put a few of them down before they put me in the emergency room. One by one I dealt with them, until all had received enough of a beating to keep them off my back.
‘Hey, Jake, you heard about Kira Niemeyer?’ The question comes from Alfonse Devereaux, whose family had migrated from France to Casperton to work the oilfields around the same time I arrived. Short and puny by nature, his bookish personality had attracted school bullies the way Capitol Hill attracts liars. His black skin hadn’t helped either.
I’d taken him under my protective wing and we’ve been the best of friends ever since.
‘No. Why, what’s she done?’ Kira Niemeyer is one of the local party girls who lives life to the full.
‘It’s what’s been done to her. Her body was found up by Kangle’s Bluff. I’ve just had a call from her father. He wants me to look into her death.’ The concern written on his face isn’t just there because he’s never investigated a murder before.
We’ve both known Kira the way single men know single girls.
‘Isn’t it a police matter?’ Alfonse’s detection skills are used to track errant husbands and embezzled money. I help him with the odd stakeout and provide some muscle as required, but the idea of trying to catch a killer is both exhilarating and unnerving.
Alfonse’s raised eyebrow is enough of an answer. The Casperton Police Department has the mayor’s son and a bunch of his crones as its detectives. Ineffectual and incompetent are two words that spring to mind when thinking about them. The chief of police is a new guy who’s transferred across from somewhere in Idaho, but the detectives on the ground have the investigative skills of a half brick.
‘What did you say to him?’
‘I said I’d need to speak to my partner.’
Partner is stretching it, but I’m his go-to person for advice and my work for him has steadily increased over the last year or two.
‘We’ve no experience at investigating murders. We’ll be little better than the cops and that’s saying something.’
‘It’s homicide, not murder. Do I take the case or do we pass?’
He never fails to call me on my habit of still using British terms like murder. As with most ex-pats, not only have I retained my accent – it has grown stronger, as has my fondness for the old country.
If we take the case, we’ll not only be up against a killer, we’ll also have to follow in the footsteps of the most useless police force since the Keystone Kops. They’ll have forensic information and coroners giving them aid. We’ll have Google.
Tossing drunks out of a bar is one thing. Going after a killer is another.
On the other hand, the killer is almost certain to get away with murder if we don’t take the case.
‘Have you talked money yet?’
A nod. Three fingers were raised, meaning Niemeyer has offered treble our usual rate.
The money is good, but it needs to be. Catching killers is work for police detectives who carry guns, not investigators who carry an iPad.
‘Call him and take the job.’ I look at my watch. The Tree is due to close in an hour. ‘You go see Niemeyer, I’ll start asking questions round here.’
I scan the crowd with a practised eye to make sure no more trouble is brewing, then go over to talk to some people I knew hung with Kira.
A paperback of Watching The Bodies is currently avaialble for pre order. I bought my copy as soon as I saw it! Click the book to pre order yours! Kindle version available soon! Oh, and ladies- for a bit of fun…..who would you choose as Boulder? Feel free to comment below! ?
Eeeeeeek! See what I mean #bookjunkies! Jake Boulder is going to blow you away! But #BackOffBoulder ladies….I knew him first…seriously….I beta read this badboy back in 2015…so I am laying claim! ❣️?? YUMMY!!! I cannot wait for this book to be out so you can all see what I am talking about! In the meantime, check out these links to learn a little more about the author, the book and anything else to do with Jake Boulder! And keep your eye on the blog tour starting April 25th – Publication Day!!