Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
“Diamonds are nothing more than compressed carbon.”
Veteran cop, DCI David Jones, is tough and uncompromising. His Serious Crime Unit has the best arrest record the Midlands Police Service has ever seen. Jones and his dedicated team work hard to keep it that way.
Locksmith turned jewel thief, Sean Freeman, is the best in the UK. He's never been caught—the police have never even come close. When Freeman's vicious gangland boss, DB Parrish, forces him to break into the Stafford Museum, the UK’s most secure premises outside of the Bank of England, he's in trouble. The Stafford Museum is in the middle of Jones' jurisdiction.
Someone's record is going to suffer.
In this opening instalment of the DCI Jones Casebook series, veteran detective, David Jones tackles a series of cases and faces a clever and engaging criminal he respects and would probably like—under different circumstances. But Jones has a job to do and Freeman is going down.
Tuesday 3rd March
Digby Bertrand ‘DB’ Parrish rapped the butt of his Montblanc on the table to silence the boardroom and turned to the final page on the agenda: Any Other Business.
“‘Arry. You found anyone yet?”
Human Resources Director, Harry Bryce—slim bordering on scrawny, with a huge overbite and Toby jug ears—wilted under the scrutiny. He opened his mouth but didn’t answer.
“Well?” Parrish kept his voice low. He learned long ago that a quiet voice in a big room could travel a long way if you carried a big stick. In Hutch, his ever-present pit-bull, he had a stick big enough to silence a roar.
Six directors of Parrish Enterprises Ltd—all competent, all men—stared at Bryce, their expressions ranging from studious concentration to relief. Each had been on the receiving end of Parrish’s interrogations and he liked to keep them sharp.
“Hutch. Am I speaking Russian?”
The blue-eyed giant with the muddy-blond hair rose from his seat in the corner of the soundproofed, electronically secure room and positioned himself at Parrish’s right hand. He towered over the table.
“No, Mr Parrish, you spoke English,” Hutch said, matching Parrish’s volume. “I could understand you perfectly.”
“So why ain’t he answering my questions, d’you think?”
“No idea, sir. Perhaps he’s deaf.” Hutch curled his fingers into fists, cracking his knuckles.
The hairs on the back of Parrish’s neck tingled at the narrow-eyed dread the noise induced in Bryce and the others. “Yeah, maybe that’s it. He’s gone fucking deaf.” Parrish jabbed the Montblanc towards Bryce. “‘Arry?”
“Yes, Mr Parrish?” Bryce’s voice cracked. He kept his eyes fixed on the pen.
Parrish looked up at Hutch, the only person he’d allow stand that close to him outside of a bedroom or a barber’s shop. “See, Hutch. He ain’t mutton.”
Hutch nodded. “I have to agree with you, Mr Parrish. There doesn’t appear to be much wrong with Mr Bryce’s auditory sense.”
“Yeah, right, but if that’s the case, why ain’t he answering?”
“Sorry, Mr Parrish,” Bryce mumbled. “I was trying to put my thoughts in order.”
“You ought to come to the boardroom prepared.”
“Yes, sir. Sorry.”
“Get on with it.”
Bryce stiffened his backbone. “We’ve tried hiring from within the organisation, but there’s no one as fits the bill, see. They’re either useless, past their sell-by date, or banged up. I trawled the other firms but none of the applicants was good enough. Not even close.”
“Fuck,” Parrish said. “Vacancy’s been open nearly a month. I want someone in place before I have to pass on another job. If I’d known it would take this long I might’ve given that piece of shit a reprieve.” Parrish nodded toward a vacant chair, the back of which rested against the table’s edge.
The directors looked anywhere but at the empty space.
Bryce found his voice again. “It’s not easy finding an applicant with that particular skill set, Mr Parrish. Cracksmen are a dying breed.” He flicked a glance at the empty chair, blanched, and soldiered on. “These days it’s all hacking, electronic locks, and money transfers…”
Parrish threw the Montblanc. Bryce ducked too late and squeaked as the fountain pen hit him below his left eye and bounced onto the tabletop.
“Don’t fucking tell me what ain’t easy, shit-for-brains!” Parrish yelled. “Human Resources is your responsibility. Or are you tellin’ me you ain’t up to it no more?”
Parrish’s gaze returned to the empty chair and wondered whether Bryce had pissed himself yet.
“N-no, Mr Parrish. It’s not that, see. I contacted the Locksmiths Guild last week but it took them an age to get back to me.”
“I-I don’t know. It took them a while to find the information.”
“Give Hutch the name of the tosser what dragged his heels. Hutch has ways of teaching people not to keep me waiting. Don’t ya, Hutch.”
The blond giant dipped his chin in agreement.
“Yes, Mr Parrish,” Bryce said. “All the relevant names will be in the personnel report.”
“So, what they say?” Parrish asked.
“Turns out they do have a bloke on their books who meets the criteria.” Bryce picked up the Montblanc and stretched to place it on the table in front of Parrish. His mouth turned up at the edges in a weak smile. “It’s just that I didn’t want to say nothing until we’d found him.”
“What you mean, ‘found him’? Where is he? Gone on his ‘olidays?”
Bryce shook his head. His shoulders twitched into a shrug. “That’s just it, Mr Parrish. Nobody knows. The Guild lost track of him a year or so back. He got into financial bother and they dumped him from their system.”
“Financial bother?” Parrish frowned. “Is he inside too?”
“No, sir. Nothing criminal. Bankruptcy. His business failed and he closed up shop and moved away.”
Hutch leaned close and spoke. “It’s a toilet south of Birmingham, just off the M42.”
“How comes I’m only learning this now?” Parrish picked up the Montblanc and twiddled it between thumb and forefinger.
“My contact at the Guild only called late last night, Mr Parrish. One of my girls is working up a file on the bloke. I told her to call me when she prints it off.”
Parrish dropped the pen. “Give the bitch a bell. Tell her to pull her finger out her fanny and get me that file.”
Bryce pulled out his mobile.
“What’s this geezer’s name?” Parrish asked.
“Freeman, sir. Sean Freeman.” Bryce bowed his head and dialled.
“Right,” said Parrish. “I want him found—yesterday. Call in some favours from our favourite plods. This Freeman sort’s gotta be somewhere. Am I right?”
Seven directors nodded. Seven voices chimed out in unison, “Yes, Mr Parrish.”
Parrish waited a second before exploding. “Well? Why you all still sitting on your arses? Go find me Sean Freeman!”
Terry Tyler on Amazon wrote:
I won this book in a raffle and gave it a go. I actually finished it in one day! Good thing I had nothing important to do on my day off!
The story is well written and the characters are engaging (obviously!). I'm sure we ALL know people that are described.
I'm not going to put in a synopsis, you can read that on the main page. I'll just say that you feel invested in the characters and want to get to know them better, even Charlie. I definitely want to get more of this author.
I read Peter Robinson and Val McDermid and this author is right up there with them. You'll not be disappointed!
CathyR on Amazon wrote:
The first part of the novel consists of two storylines: DCI Jones and his merry throng in the present day, and locksmith turned jewel thief Sean Freeman's journey into the dangerous criminal underworld of Digby Parrish. Eventually, the two threads collide....
This book's plot is quite a masterpiece, so well thought out, with plenty of nice little twists that I didn't see coming at all. I was most impressed by the research that had obviously taken place to make the details authentic, but this is woven artfully into the storyline and is never obtrusive. The characterisation is terrific, in particular Digby Parrish (wonderfully scary!) and Detective Charlie Pelham, the latter of whom is a stereotypical 1970s throwback type of crime fighter - very funny! I liked DCI Jones, who is a little eccentric in a mild sort of way, and Sean Freeman is one of those criminals who you find yourself rooting for - I always admire a writer who can make you root for the 'baddie'! I must applaud the dialogue all the way through the book, too.
I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a good, current, British crime thriller. Kerry Donovan is a most talented wordsmith and I hope to read more from him soon.
Sheri A Wilkerson on Amazon wrote:
The story begins eighteen months previously when Digby Parrish, criminal mastermind, is looking for a locksmith with particular skills. He finds what he’s looking for in Sean Freeman, who is biding his time working in a specific locksmith’s shop for his own reasons. Sean has an agenda. Parrish visits the shop and sets Sean a test – making a perfect copy of a one-off, damaged key.
Back to present day and DCI David Jones has just returned to work after a weeks break and is catching up with his team’s caseload. A spate of unsolved diamond thefts are brought to his attention, involving millions of pounds and someone who is an obvious expert when it comes to locks and electronics.
Ultimately the two storylines merge into a complex, detailed and well thought through plot, incorporating offshoot cases that keep the team on their toes. It kept me guessing too. Great writing, believable dialogue and engaging, well portrayed characters, particularly DCI Jones and his partner, Detective Sergeant Phil Cryer.
I like the slant of knowing who the offender is from the start, and also that there’s more to his story than is, at first, apparent. Hints are dropped as the story progresses, until the full extent of Sean’s story is revealed. Sean Freeman is a likeable rogue and I found myself hoping there would be a favourable outcome for him. Not so much for Digby Parrish and his cohorts, however, who are a combination of the worst aspects of human nature.
Lots of action, unexpected twists and great pacing keeps the story moving forward towards an excellent ending.
In the first installment of the DCI Jones Casebook series, Detective David Jones faces a difficult case with a cunning jewel, thief Sean Freeman (He has never been caught). Freeman's boss forces him to break into the Stafford Museum, which puts him is in the heart of Jones' jurisdiction. Jones is determined to be the one to catch Freeman. Freeman is determined not to be caught. Who will win?
A well written thrilling story. I really Like DCI Jones, he has a style of his own. I also like his partner Phil Cryer, they make an awesome pair. And (this does not happen often) but I do like Sean Freenman as well. He is cunning , sly and very good at what he does. Sean Freeman may be the one that Jones may not be able to catch.
There is action, mystery, thrills and drama all wrapped neatly into a perfect read. I liked the originality of the plot, the characters are well formed and the story moves at an even pace, and keeps you wanting more. I strongly recommend Sean Freeman to those who love a great detective story.
I also recommended the other two in the DCI Jones series; Raymond Collins and Ellis Flynn.