A Dark Redemption

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Overview

A Dark Redemption introduces DI Jack Carrigan and DS Geneva Miller as they investigate the brutal rape and murder of a young Ugandan student. Plunged into an underworld of illegal immigrant communities, they discover that the murdered girl’s studies at a London college may have threatened to reveal things that some people will go to any lengths to keep secret …
Unflinching, inventive and intelligent, A Dark Redemption explores a sinister case that will force DI Carrigan to face ...

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A Dark Redemption

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Overview

A Dark Redemption introduces DI Jack Carrigan and DS Geneva Miller as they investigate the brutal rape and murder of a young Ugandan student. Plunged into an underworld of illegal immigrant communities, they discover that the murdered girl’s studies at a London college may have threatened to reveal things that some people will go to any lengths to keep secret …
Unflinching, inventive and intelligent, A Dark Redemption explores a sinister case that will force DI Carrigan to face up to his past and DS Miller to confront what path she wants her future to follow.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
…[a] masterfully executed British police procedural…Carrigan is a complex character, someone well worth meeting again. But Sherez is too purposeful a writer to fall into the tired convention of making everything depend on his hero.
Publishers Weekly
This impressive series kickoff from British author Sherez (The Devil’s Playground) introduces Det. Insp. Jack Carrigan, a Scotland Yard veteran regarded as an oddball for his obsessive devotion to his work. Years earlier, after graduating from college, Carrigan and two friends took a vacation in Uganda that ended in tragedy. The shadows from that traumatic experience weigh more heavily on Carrigan after the savage murder of Grace Okello, a student of East African history, in her London flat. Her body is riddled with bite marks from human teeth that have been filed to a point, and her heart was removed—while she was still alive. The victim was studying African warlords who have used revolutionary politics as a mask for their sadistic desire for power, and it appears her research could have been a threat to one of them. The action builds to a jaw-dropping resolution. Readers will want to see more of this convincingly flawed hero. Agent: Lesley Thorne, Aitken Alexander Associates (U.K.). (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609451172
  • Publisher: Europa Editions, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 363,354
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Stav Sherez lives in London. He is the author of the CWA shortlisted The Devil’s Playground and The Black Monastery. He spent five years as a music journalist, mainly for the cult music magazine Comes with a Smile. He has also written for the Daily Telegraph, The Catholic Herald and Zembla amongst others.

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Read an Excerpt

A Dark Redemption


By STAV SHEREZ

faber and faber

Copyright © 2012 Stav Sherez
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60945-117-2


CHAPTER 1

Back Then ...


They came more often now, the headaches. Raging storms within his skull, crippling pain, flashes of light. There was nothing to do but shut his eyes and lie back, let the pain and visions take over.

Memories and flashbacks trailed the headaches. Jack would close his eyes and see blue sky, green jungle, red road. He would try to watch the trees outside his window divesting themselves of leaves, the slow spinning fall of September, but instead he saw the leaves of the jungle, leaves so big you could sit inside them and be wholly encased, leaves which vibrated and twitched and reacted to your presence as if sentient beings.

They'd arrived in the middle of a heat wave. David buckled as he exited the plane, feet planted on the stairway, the sun leaching all colour and breath fromhis face. He stood there and took in the burned yellow country in front of him then turned back into the plane as if the pilot had made a mistake‚ but Jack was right there, taking his arm, leading him back out into the light, whispering in his ear We're here.

They deplaned onto the gleaming cracked tarmac, the customs hall five hundred feet away, shimmering like a mirage in the heat. The other passengers rushed past them, pushing, elbows out, as if there were a prize for the first to get to the hall.

They walked as slowly as they could, savouring the air, the unfamiliar sky – those first moments when you land in a new country and feel a sudden quickening, a snapcharge rattling through your bones.

Their friends were in India, Peru, Vietnam. They were sitting on beaches, cocktails in hand, watching the surf break against the sand, waiting for the night, the drugs, the screaming music and torrential sex.

'Everybody goes there,' Jack had protested after David suggested a trip down the Ganges. 'We'll be on a boat in the middle of nowhere and we'll bump into everyone we know.'

It had been the afternoon of their graduation. They still wore the robes and mortars, still wore the smiles they'd flashed for the cameras, degrees in hand, or parents held close, each trying to outgrin the other. Now the parents were gone, the degrees stuffed into a desk somewhere, the beer and cigarettes flowing.

'Jack's right,' Ben replied, sipping a pint, his fingers playing with an unlit cigarette. Unlike Jack and David, Ben had worn a proper suit underneath the gown and now seemed out of place and out of age in this noisy student pub. 'We might as well stay here as go to India.'

'Just because everyone goes there doesn't mean it's a bad idea.' David slumped back into the booth, his hair draped like a shawl around his shoulders, the button-down shirt and drainpipe jeans a strange contrast with those long black locks.

'Doesn't mean it's a good one either,' Ben replied as he spread out a map of the world in front of them.

Jack moved the glasses away so they could have more room. 'Uganda.' He pointed to a bright orange square halfway up the map. 'Cheap, safe, guaranteed sun, and no chance of bumping into anyone we know.'

They stared at it as if ensnared, the mass of multicoloured land that delineated the African continent, the regimented lines of borders, the names of countries they hadn't even known existed until they saw them printed on the map.

That was all the decision there was to it. David, as usual, acquiesced. That they would be together was more important than where they went. They all knew this would be the last time. Summer was approaching fast and then would come autumn and jobs and careers and the beginning of something, the end of something else.


They went through customs without a hitch. They caught a cab and threaded through sunburned fields, the driver speaking English so fast and fractured he sounded like a man drowning. They nodded their heads, mustered an appropriate yeah every now and then, but their faces were turned away, staring through the grimy windows, watching the plains of East Africa roll by, a landscape of tall grasses and spindly trees, skeletal cattle and dark beckoning mountains punctuating the distant horizon.

Jack rubbed his head and stared out into the London night remembering the tumult of sense and smell and noise as they entered Kampala. His headache began to recede as he let the memories flicker and spin. He remembered David exiting the taxi, bending down and vomiting in the street, his skin pallid as a corpse. Jack had crossed over to a stall, kids instantly surrounding him, their little hands waving and clutching cheap plastic objects he couldn't make sense of, old boxes of matches and photocopied pictures of Michael Jackson. He bought three warm Cokes and came back to find Ben handing out crumpled banknotes to the bright-eyed and smiling children.

They sat on their backpacks and drank the Coke, warm and sickly sweet, and it was the best Coke they'd ever tasted.

The kids delighted them even though they could see beyond the smiles and welcomes to the grinding poverty which underlay their lives. There were always more kids, more hands outstretched; what they asked for was so little in English money that it seemed mean to deny them, but then you found all your time being taken by handing out money and you forgot to look up at the buildings, the sky, the trees, the surly young men lounging on every street corner.

They all went through it once: tears, jags of self-pity, wanting desperately to go home – even Ben, who'd travelled almost everywhere by the time he'd got to university. 'Just good ol' culture shock,' Jack quipped after Ben had come back from the hostel toilet having found it overflowing, an army of cockroaches big as baby shoes swarming over the bowl. When they lay down on their pillows that evening they could smell other men's nights, puke and booze and blood.

'I think we should pick up the car and get out of here,' Jack suggested on the third day.

They paid twice what they'd agreed for the car back home but it was still cheap – they still thought in English money – and though the car, an old white Honda Civic, looked like it would fall apart at the first kick of the engine, it managed to glide effortlessly through the cracked and teeming streets of the capital.

They took the Masaka–Kampala Road west out of the city. In less than ten minutes the concrete gave way to flat pastureland, dry and cracked, small villages everywhere, circular patterns of daub-and-wattle huts just visible on the side of the highway. The road was empty apart from army vehicles blazing down the fast lane, young soldiers bumping along in the beds of open-backed trucks, their eyes lazily drifting to the three white boys and then back to their cigarettes.

They made a detour down to the shores of Lake Victoria and ate fruit and crackers as the sun flashed along the calm surface of the water and Ben explained the history and naming of the lake, the great foolish Victorians with their hats and pomp and retinue of carriers and servants.

Jack suggested they head for Murchison Falls national park, the name a siren song to him, its grandiloquence and archaic quality like something out of a Sherlock Holmes novel.

'We could just stay in Masaka and check out the Ruwenzoris.' Ben was consulting their second-hand guide book. 'What's so special about Murchison Falls?'

'I love the way it sounds,' Jack replied, seduced as always by the poetry of place names, the worlds conjured up by phonetic accident.

'That's why you want to go there?' David had the gift of always sounding flabbergasted, surprised at the world in all its variance, an antidote to their measured and unearned cynicism.

The waters of Lake Victoria glowed like polished glass. 'Forget the guide book,' Jack replied, staring out towards the dark shadowed rim of the horizon, 'let's just start driving.'

Ben and David exchanged a glance that reflected years of growing up together, sharing hidden jokes, conspiring against parents – and agreed, but Ben kept the guide book safely in his bag just in case.


* * *

They backtracked and took the highway north, watching the land change. The fields and crops and empty plains gave way to more rugged terrain; mountains loomed out of the sky and disappeared; the road deteriorated until it was only a narrow lane. The heat became worse, not just sun striking the roof of the car, but a deeper denser heat, a humidity they'd never experienced before, a rottenness in the air that crept into your bones and brain, making your eyes water and the breath die in your throat.

Sweet potato and maize fields stretched out either side of them, dry and willowy in the early-evening heat haze. Termite mounds stood ten feet tall, skyscrapers among the cornstalks and grasses, like totem poles from another race, the tenements of a forgotten people.

The town of Masindi appeared out of nowhere. One minute they were driving the dirt road, yellow fields bordering them on both sides, and the next they were on a dusty corrugated street with white single-storey buildings, women carrying baskets on their heads, kids and more kids, the whole African movie-trailer cliché right before their eyes.

They stopped for beer and food at a tiny stall still bearing the name of the Asian proprietor who'd established it before being expelled by Idi Amin in '30. The old man, the new owner, served them warm Niles, the slogan 'The true reward of progress' making David chuckle as he swigged the sweet beer.

They watched cars go by leaving trails of dust in the air. Far-off volcanoes shimmered on the horizon like things unsubstantial and contingent. Children came and held their palms out, smiled, laughed and danced on the spot as Ben handed them money.

They sat in the rear of the cafe washing the dust and heat from their bodies, glad for the stillness after eight hours of bad road. Murchison wasn't far, another few hours' drive north; they'd stay in Masindi for the night, it was decided, and head there tomorrow.

'I still can't believe it.' David was sitting under a palm tree, peeling the label off a bottle of Nile. 'Being here, I mean.'

'Remember how much we talked about it?' Ben leant forward, spilling ash over the table. It had been their only topic of discussion these last few months, cramming for exams, finishing their dissertations, the horizon of the holiday the one bright thing to look forward to, the question of where to go burning in their minds.

David finished off his beer. 'The three of us here, together.' He paused so they could all savour this. A shadow briefly crossed his face. He stared at the thin tapering road. 'Who knows where we'll be this time next year.'

'I think Jack's got a pretty good idea,' Ben smiled, his teeth shining white in the sun.

Jack looked off into the distance, the volcanoes smoky and out of focus like cheap back-projections in a pre-war movie. 'I wish I did,' he replied, thinking back to the day, three weeks ago, when he'd broken the news. At first, he'd wanted to keep it secret, alternately proud and a little ashamed of his good luck, the way you always are with close friends. But they'd got drunk one evening, another in a long line of housemates' birthday parties, and he told them about the deal: three albums, a decent amount of money, a cool London-based record label.

'I wish it felt real. I wish it felt like something I could celebrate, but I keep thinking I'll come back and find a letter apologising for the mistake they've made.' Jack focused on the table, the empty green bottles like soldiers standing silent sentry.

Ben clapped him on the back, gave him one of those Ben smiles they all knew, the smile that had got them girls, entry to parties, whatever they'd desired. 'Nonsense. Too late for that, it's coming out next month.'

'September,' Jack corrected him, his legs shivering despite the humidity. Only a couple of months to go until the album was in the shops, on the radio. It felt too surreal, too weird, to accept as fact. It had been only a dream for so long that its reality seemed conjured from nothing but wish and desire. He'd made the album, just like he'd made the ones which preceded it, in his room on a four-track. He'd laid down the guitars, vocals and drum machine himself. He'd sent it out like he'd sent the countless tapes before, but this time the record company had got back to him; a man with a silly accent raving and ranting about how Jack was going to be the next big thing. He'd travelled down to London, signed the deal in a Soho restaurant and was back in Manchester in time to finish his exams.

'To Top of the Pops!' David held his bottle up, Jack and Ben crashed theirs against it, the clink and scrape amplified in the still air.

'Yeah, as if ...' Jack finished off his beer. He got up and went to get the next round. He thought about his songs on the radio, tentacles reaching out of the speakers and into the ears of listeners – and then he shut the thought down, knowing the dangers that lurked in daydreams. It was just a small release on a tiny label, nothing to get excited about, the first rung of many.

Still, as he took the beers, the cool glass sweet against his palms, he couldn't help but feel that things were coming together for the first time, that his life was at last taking some kind of shape and that he was here doing exactly what he wanted to be doing with exactly the two people he wanted to be doing it with.


He noticed that something had changed when he came back out with the drinks. Ben and David were sitting silently, their eyes fixed on the opposite side of the road. He sat next to them, doled out the beers, was about to say something when Ben's expression stopped him, made him look across the street.

Two policemen were leaning over something. They were tall, young, dressed in dark blue. They held black sticks in their hands, like truncheons but longer and skinnier. Jack squinted, trying to focus through the heat haze, and noticed the heap of clothes lying on the ground between them. He watched as the heap moved, gradually revealing a face, eyes, hair. The soldiers swung in long deliberate arcs. The crunch of truncheon against bone echoed all the way across to where they sat, a thick heavy stuttering splitting the air. They watched silently as the policemen started kicking the man, passing around a bottle of clear liquid, wiping their mouths, then wiping the blood from their shoes on the crumpled man's clothes.

'No!' Ben grabbed David the moment he stood up, held him firmly by the arm. 'It's not our business.'

David swayed and shuddered in his grip. The soldiers had regained their momentum and were swinging on the man as if breaking rocks. Jack shook his head. 'Sit down before they notice us.'

David pulled away. 'They're going to kill him,' he said, his voice pinched. 'Of course it's our business.'

'David!' A thin line of sweat broke out on Ben's forehead and his voice caught in the sticky air.

Jack sat and watched the soldiers beat the man. His legs felt like they were on fire, as though the only thing that would make them better would be to get up, cross the road and stop this terrible thing, but he couldn't move. The heat and dread sealed him to the spot. With every blow he felt something inside him rip. He gripped the rough splintered edges of the chair until he felt a warm trickle of blood covering his fingers.

Suddenly the policemen stopped, noticing their audience for the first time. They turned towards the three white boys drinking at the bar and started clapping their hands as if they were the ones watching and not the other way round. Jack stood up.

'No!' Ben was almost shouting. 'What the fuck do you think will happen to us if we interfere?'

Jack looked at David, saw his own thoughts and fears wheeling through his friend's eyes, the space between them, the time it would take to cross the road. He sat down. 'Christ!' he ground his feet into the dirt below him, beetles cracking like eggshells under his heels.

David stood for a few seconds staring at the policemen, then shook his head and sat down too. They opened their beers and drank them without saying anything. The policemen eventually stopped and walked off. A woman came and knelt by the bleeding man, crying and shouting at the empty road. They finished their beers and headed upstairs to their rooms.

The next day they drove across dusty dirt roads, bumpy and bone-rattling, the tall weeds bordering them on both sides, trees rising out of the sea of grass like the masts of sinking ships. The land was flat, the mountains always shimmering on the horizon. Their heads raged with pain, last night's beer barrelling through their skulls. Trucks laden with people and clusters of jerry-cans passed them every hour or so, men and women strapped to the roofs like wayward luggage. The passengers waved and they waved weakly back, smiling though the locals weren't. Every now and then an army truck screamed by laden with scowling soldiers, whipping up dust and rocks, heading north. They passed small villages, all identical, a circle of mud huts by a stream and nothing more. They ate peanuts and crackers and cheese squeezed out of a tube like toothpaste. The sun sank somewhere in the west, blazing the mountains red like a caul stretched over the rim of the world.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from A Dark Redemption by STAV SHEREZ. Copyright © 2012 Stav Sherez. Excerpted by permission of faber and faber.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted July 23, 2013

    Great new series. Keep them coming

    I enjoy the edginess of the characters and the freshness of the approach. It shows the complexity of people and is written to keep you turning page after page.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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