- Author: Peter May
Book online «A Silent Death Peter May (i read book TXT) 📖». Author Peter May
Also by Peter May
The Lewis Trilogy
The Lewis Man
The China Thrillers
The Fourth SacrificeThe Killing RoomSnakehead
Chinese WhispersThe Ghost Marriage: A China NovellaThe Enzo Files
Extraordinary PeopleThe Critic
Blacklight BlueFreeze Frame
The Man With No FaceThe Noble Path
I’ll Keep You Safe non-fiction
Hebrides (with David Wilson)
Copyright First published in Great Britain in 2020 by
an imprint of
Quercus Editions Ltd
50 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0DZ
An Hachette UK company
Copyright © 2020 Peter May
The moral right of Peter May to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
HB ISBN 978 1 78429 498 4
TPB ISBN 978 1 78429 499 1
EBOOK ISBN 978 1 78429 500 4
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover design © 202 Head Design
For Jon Riley
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things.
CONTENTS A Silent Death
He has not the least idea as he turns off the lights, that what he is about to do will lead to the spilling of blood on this warm May evening. And, ultimately, to death. Innocence is so often the precursor to calamity.
It is the moon that first catches his eye. A gibbous moon, lifting from the black of the Mediterranean to cast its reflection on a surface like smoked glass. He could not have said whether it was waning or waxing. The weather in the last week has been uncharacteristically overcast, and it seems like an age since he last stood on his terrace gazing up at a firmament fighting to make itself evident beyond the light pollution of this congested Andalusian coastline. But those clouds have dropped their tears on arid soil and moved on, green shoots of renewal rising almost immediately in their wake.
The heat has resumed. With the promise of a return to the daily ritual of endless sun. Why else would they call it the Costa del Sol? It is a prospect that stretches off towards summer, and the distant autumn, unpunctuated for the most part by rainfall. A fierce angry heat reaching its crescendo as the tourists arrive en masse to spoil the beaches, turning white skin red, then brown, whilst locals move among the shadows cast by tall buildings in narrow streets, sleeping in the heat of the day, eating in the cool of the evening.
It is fresh now in this midnight hour, the faintest of sea breezes rattling palm leaves in the garden beyond the pool, the chirr of cicadas pervading the night air. And it isn’t until he flicks a switch to extinguish underwater lighting that he notices a glow beyond the wall, where he expects the neighbouring villa to simmer in darkness. Light spills across the terrace from sliding glass doors casting the long shadows of pool loungers across terracotta tiles.
He tenses as a silhouette moves in the open-plan living space beyond the glass and momentarily passes through the light. His heart rate increases. A pulsing in his head as his blood pressure soars, and he imagines his doctor’s disapproval. Has he not been taking the diuretics prescribed? A man of his age must be careful.
His mouth is dry. He recalls the handful of occasions he has sat with Ian on the terrace opposite sipping Harris gin, large chunks of ice jostling for space in his glass with the grapefruit. A nice young man. Scottish. But an educated accent, a pleasant lilt. And not so young, perhaps. But then, when you have reached your seventh decade everyone else seems young. He has never really thought about what age Ian might be. Forty? It is so hard to tell these days. But there is little grey in his hair. His body is lean and fit and evenly tanned. How he wishes he were Ian’s age again. Even though he knows he never looked quite that good when he was.
He recalls the cheery wave of his neighbour only that morning, calling across the wall that separates their gardens. He and Angela would be gone for a few days. A spring holiday. Barcelona. And a night or two in Sitges.
Really? A holiday? When you live in a place like this who needs holidays? And he thinks back briefly to the years he spent working in the City. The daily commute through the dark of cold English mornings, to sit in a steamy office, eyes fixed on scrolling screens, watching the rise and fall of financial charts like the swell of an ocean after the storm. It’s the one thing he and Ian have in common. Their single topic of conversation before they run out of it and lift drinks to lips to fill the silence with the rattle of ice against glass.
Now there is someone in Ian’s house, and there shouldn’t be. He thinks about walking down