Monday, 29 June 2020

Book Spotlight with an Extract: Broken Silence by Liz Mistry

Broken Silence by Liz Mistry

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…
On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.
Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.
Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.
With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.
But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Let me introduce the brave … the bold … the ferocious …DS Nikita Parekh. A working class, single parent, detective of dual heritage who lives in the working class estate of Listerhills in Bradford.
Chapter 10
Nikki needed to unwind. She forced her shoulders to relax as she drove round the Listerhills Estate streets. This was something she often did before heading home for the evening. Keeping an eye on her patch as she drove had two benefits. One, she kept her finger on the pulse and two, she didn’t take as much of her work home with her as usual.
Fliss! For God’s sake, Fliss? Who’d have thought jagged, cold Springer would be called Fliss? She frowned. Who’d have thought jagged, cold Springer would have a pregnant wife? Shit, Nikki had suspected she ate children for breakfast but that whole scenario was turned on its head. Now that she’d met Springer’s pregnant partner and liked her, it was even more imperative to get Springer home. She was invested in this now.
Her headlights picked up figures scurrying into the darkness of the ginnels. Deliberately, she turned off the side street and into the cobbled back alley that separated two lines of terraces, and trawled down it in second gear. It was three streets over from her own home yet this one was always one she kept an eye on. It backed onto one edge of the Rec and was prime land for drug deals, besides, there had been a worrying increase in machete attacks nearby in the last two weeks. Where there were machete attacks, Nikki’s experience told her there were also Class As, other weapons and gullible kids to get caught up in the bravado and cheap sell of a Lamborghini, a snazzy wristwatch and posh mobile. There was an air of expectancy, like a toxic cloud hovering over her estate and Nikki wasn’t going to stand for that. She reached the bottom of the ginnel, hoping her exhaust wouldn’t fall off – she’d no spare cash to replace that, not if she was going to replace the battery – and waited.
A figure dodged out from a back yard further down, didn’t even look in Nikki’s direction and loped off, dodging the puddles, shoulders hunched and hood up. As he dipped under one of the few still working streetlamps she cursed. ‘Fuck’s sake Haqib. Do you never learn?’ and she was out of her car, leaving the engine running and her door open as she darted after him. ‘Haqib?’
He hesitated, seemed to consider whether to speed up or turn and face the music. Thankfully, for him, the latter instinct won.
Whassup, Aunt Nikki?’ He splayed his hands in front of him, sulky mouth drooping, attitude in the way he hunched his shoulders.
What you doing out at this time? It’s after ten and you, I believe, are still grounded after Fingergate.’ She was well aware that she was being harsh. The lad’s finger had been amputated and reattached nearly a year ago. Sometimes though, it paid to remind him of what his last brush with drugs had resulted in.
Haqib winced and flexed his little finger. ‘That’s a bit tight, innit? That were last year.’
Hands on hips, Nikki inhaled slowly. ‘I’ll tell you what’s tight, Haqib Parekh. Skipping out of the house behind your mum’s back – that’s what’s tight. Breaking your word – that’s tight too, hanging out here—’
Yeah, yeah, I get it. That’s tight too.’ Haqib mimicked his auntie’s tone.
Nikki reached over and gently cuffed the back of his head, ‘No, that’s not bloody tight… that’s stupid. S.T.U.P.I.D. Stupid – got it?’
I ain’t doing drugs, you know. I’m not that mental.’
Nikki raised an eyebrow, not caring how harsh she was being. Haqib worried her. A young Asian lad trying to be cocky, trying to be a big man, was a worry for her. Her sister Anika, Haqib’s mum, seemed content to leave it up to Nikki to sort her son out. She studied the bloom of red that spread across his cheeks. That was guilt alright, but not the sort of blasé, fast-talking guilt she was used to from her nephew. ‘So, spill!’
A voice from behind her had Nikki spinning on her heel.
It’s me he came to see, Mrs Parekh.’
The girl was tall – taller than Haqib, skinnier than was healthy, blonde with blue eyes and a dimple in the middle of her chin. At present her eyes looked worried as she darted glances towards Haqib and each hand worried at the sleeve of her jacket. The girl looked familiar, but it took a minute for Nikki to place her and when she did, she groaned inwardly. Fuck’s sake Haqib, if it’s not drugs, it’s inappropriate relationships. ‘You’re Glass’s sister, aren’t you?’
The girl nodded. ‘Michelle – Chelle-to-my-mates.’
The words ran together and for a second Parekh thought she was telling her she had a different surname to her brother. Chelle-to-her-mates indeed. Who did she think she was – bloody royalty?
Haq isn’t doing drugs. He knows it’s for idiots, don’t you, Haq?’
Haqib, mouth hanging open, looking exactly like an idiot himself at that precise moment, nodded. Lovestruck, that’s what he is. But did he have to be lovestruck over Adam Glass’s sister? Of all the girls on the estate, he had to go for the one most likely to have him losing another digit – if not something worse.
So…’ Nikki chewed her lip, trying to come up with something auntie-ish to say, but could only manage, ‘You’re both bloody stupid. Do you really think your white-supremacist brother, office holder in Albion First, Yorkshire’s answer to the EDL, is going to sit back and let you date an Asian boy… a Muslim boy?’
Michelle’s eyes darted to the ground and then straight back up again. She met Nikki’s gaze. ‘We love each other, me and Haq. We’re like Romeo and Juliet, aren’t we, Haq?’ Her face flushed, her lips turned up, her eyes full of love as she looked at her boyfriend.

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.

Twitter @LizMistryAuthor