Sunday 21 January 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ The Cover Up by Marnie Riches

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Cover Up by Marnie Riches where I welcome Marnie to my blog once again where she has kindly provided an extract. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

It had started with a scuffle. A little pushing and a testosterone-fuelled hokey-cokey where neither had conceded ground to the other.

‘No guns,’ Frank had prayed quietly to a God that never seemed to listen. ‘Please don’t let them have sodding guns.’

The transition from minor altercation to full-on fisticuffs had taken less than a minute. Otis, his burliest bouncer, had taken a right hook from one of the guys with dreads that had sent him flying backwards into a podium like an ungainly clown. 

Now, Degsy had pulled a gun to best the Asian lad’s knife in an underworld rendition of rock, paper, scissors. Shit, shit, shit. The lying, lanky arsehole was armed to the teeth. Should he stop the music? Should he call Conks, after all?

Frank withdrew a baggie of coke from the pocket of his jeans. Took a hefty pinch of the white powder and deposited it on the back of his sinewy hand. Snorted what he could. Rubbed the rest around his gums. The effect was instant. Pharmaceutical Columbian courage followed soon after.

‘Right, you bastards,’ he said to himself, pulling the sleeves of his old James T up in some deluded act of strong-arm bravado. ‘Nobody messes with an O’Brien.’

Ignoring his racing pulse and the feeling that his legs were liquefying, he crossed the club, heading towards the scrum. No need for that big Northern Irish bollocks. Not tonight. Remember Jack. Don’t make this all for nowt. He approached one of the white rogue dealers from behind.

‘Get out my sodding club!’ he screamed in the man’s ear, grabbing him tightly by the scruff of his neck. Turning his collar into a garrotte. Kneeing him in the sweet spot on the backs of his legs so that they buckled.

Frank was a warrior, now, posthumously defending his son’s honour. Heard his own voice, hoarse and venomous above the music.

‘Who’s your boss? Tell me or I’ll rip your bleeding head off.’ Fingers in the man’s kidneys.
‘Fuck you!’ the dealer shouted, elbowing Frank in the stomach.

There was a flash of metal as the Asian lad stabbed one of the bouncers. Fists flew. It was carnage.
‘Back off, or I’m gonna blow you all into next Wednesday!’ Degsy yelled, waving his piece at the interlopers.

But the guy with the dreads and bad acne scarring was suddenly upon Degsy, waving a semi-automatic. ‘Drop the gun, Manc twat, or I’ll put a bullet in your ugly head!’ His death threats were levelled in a sing-song accent like some nightmarish nursery rhyme. 

Degsy and Dreads both clicked their safeties off. A stand-off. Not good.

Frank was dimly aware of the shrieking of the clubbers on the fringes of his ill-fated dance floor and of the speed-daters who were clattering up the iron staircase from Jack’s Bar below, fleeing the scene. Gloria Bell’s face in among them, somewhere. An overwhelming sense of déjà vu and fear that his club-owning days were finished bore down on him. But his melancholy musings were interrupted by the unmistakeable growl of Conky McFadden, striding through the phalanx of onlookers.

‘Hands in the air, you scabby wee turds or I’ll take the lot of yous out!’ 

Who the hell had called the Loss Adjuster? The bouncers, almost certainly.

Upon them now and casting a long shadow over the interlopers like an avenging dark angel, Conky held a SIG Sauer before him. The music had stopped, as if to pay respectful tribute to the fabled Loss Adjuster’s appearance on the charged scene. 

‘Do you remember me?’ he bellowed, bearing down on dreads-with-a-gun. Striding right up to him, as though his opponent clutched a child’s toy weapon. Pressing the nose of his gun right into the dealer’s jaw. With his free leather-gloved hand, he removed his shades with a flourish. His bulging eyes shone with obvious professional glee. ‘Do you know who I am?’

Dreads dropped his pistol. Held his hands up. Swallowed visibly. ‘Yeah.’ 

‘Get out of this club and get on a train back to Birmingham, like the yokels you are,’ Conky said, encasing Dreads’ throat in a large hand. ‘Tell your eejit boss Nigel Bancroft that if any of you set foot in South Manchester again, you’ll be going home in Tupperware stacking boxes. And you make sure he understands fully that if I see his ponce’s bake in O’Brien territory again, I’ll shoot some fucking wrinkles in him that Botox will never remove.’

Realising that he had been holding his breath all the while that Conky had been speaking, Frank straightened himself up. Inhaled. Exhaled. He acknowledged with some bitterness that he’d been unable to control what went on in his own environment. He felt the humiliation neutralise the bravado in his body. But his pulse thundered on apace and for a moment, as pain travelled up his left arm and encased his tired heart in pure, uncut agony, he wondered if he too would be going home in a wooden overcoat.

‘Frank. Are you okay?’ Conky’s voice, close by.

Clutching his arm, Frank dropped to his knees. I’m coming, Jack. I’m coming.

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