Title: The Keeper (Book #2 in the D.I. Sean Corrigan series)
Author: Luke Delaney
Publish Date: July 29, 2014
The second novel in the DI Sean Corrigan series – authentic and terrifying crime fiction with a psychological edge, by an ex-Met detective. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham, Peter James and Stuart MacBride. DI Sean Corrigan is different to most cops. He’s no psychic, but his own dark past has given him the ability to step into a crime scene and see it through the eyes of the offender. He understands what drives a person to commit murder, rape, arson – but sometimes his gift seems more like a burden. When the brutally murdered body of a young woman is found in the woods, Corrigan and his team are on the case. But this is not the act of a one-time offender. They’re on the trail of someone who has been taking women from their homes and keeping them captive before disposing of their bodies. This killer is looking for the perfect woman – and when he finds her, he’s going to keep her. Whether she likes it or not…
THE KEEPER CHAPTER 1
Thomas Keller walked along the quiet suburban street in Anerley, southeast London, an area that provided affordable housing to those attracted to the capital who discovered that they could only afford to live on its edges, financially excluded from the very things they had come to London for in the first place. He knew Oakfield Road well, having walked its length several times over the previous few weeks, and he knew in which house Louise Russell lived.
Keller was cautious. Although confident he would draw little attention in his Post Office uniform, this was not his normal route. Someone might realize he shouldn’t be there and that the mail had already been delivered earlier that morning, but he couldn’t wait any longer—he needed Louise Russell today.
As he approached number 22, he made sure to drop post through the letter boxes of neighboring houses, just in case some bored resident had nothing to do other than spy on the street where nothing happened anyway. As he posted junk mail his eyes flicked at the windows and doors of the street’s ugly new brick houses, built for practicality with no thought of individuality or warmth. Their design provided excellent privacy, however, and that had made Louise Russell even more attractive to him.
His excitement and fear were rising to levels he could barely control, the blood pumping through his arteries and veins so fast it hurt his head and blurred his vision. He quickly checked inside his postal delivery sack, shuffling the contents around, moving the junk mail aside, touching the items he had brought with him for reassurance—the electric stun gun he’d bought on one of his rare holidays outside of Britain, the dishwashing-liquid bottle that contained chloroform, a clean flannel, a roll of heavy-duty tape, and a thin blanket. He would need them all soon, very soon.
Only a few steps to the front door now and he could sense the woman inside, could taste and smell her. The architecture of the soulless house meant that once he had reached the front door he could not be seen from the street and nor could Louise Russell’s red Ford Fiesta. He held his hand up to ring the doorbell, but paused to steady himself before pressing the button attached to the door frame, in case he needed to persuade her to open the door to him.
After what felt like hours he finally pressed it and waited, until a jerky shadow moved from the bowels of the house toward the front door. He stared at the opaque glass window in the door as the shadow took on color and the door began to open without hesitation or caution. He hadn’t had to speak after all.
Now at last she was standing in front of him with nothing between the two of them, nothing that could keep them apart any longer.
He stood silently, in awe of her. It felt as if her clear, shinning green eyes were pulling him forward, toward her glowing skin, her pretty feminine face. She was only a little smaller than he, about five foot six and slim, with straight brown hair cut into what was nearly a bob. She was about the same age as he was, twenty-eight years old. He began to tremble, but not with fear any more, with joy. She smiled and spoke to him. “Hi. Do you have something for me?”
“I’ve come to take you home, Sam,” he told her. “Just like I promised I would.”
Louise Russell smiled through her confusion. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I don’t think I understand.”
She saw his arm moving quickly toward her and tried to step back, away from the threatening-looking black box he held in his hand, but he stepped forward to match her stride. When the box touched her chest it felt as if she’d been hit by a wrecking ball. Her feet left the ground as she catapulted backward and landed hard on the hallway floor. For a few blissful moments she remembered nothing as her world turned to black, but unconsciousness spared her from reality all too briefly. When her eyes opened again she somehow knew she hadn’t been out for long and that she was still unable to command her own movements as her body remained in spasm, her teeth clenched together, preventing her from screaming or begging.
But her eyes were her own and they could see everything as the man dressed like a postman busied himself around her prone body. His stained, buckled teeth repulsed her, as did the odor of his unwashed body. As his head passed close to her face she could see and smell his short, unkempt brown hair, strands of which had stuck to his forehead with sweat. His skin was pale and unhealthy and appeared quite gray, marked with acne and chicken-pox scars. His hands were bony and ugly, too long and thin, the skin almost transparent like an old person’s. Long dirty fingernails fidgeted at things he was taking from his post bag.
Everything about him made her want to turn from him, to push him away, but she was trapped in the unrelenting grip of whatever he’d touched her with, unable to do anything but watch the nightmare she was at the center of. And all the time he spoke to her using the name of another as the pictures adorning the walls she knew so well stared down at her—happy photographs of her with her husband, her family, her friends. How many times had she passed the pictures and not taken time to look? Now, paralyzed on the floor of her own home, her sanctuary, the same pictures mocked her from above. This couldn’t be happening, not here—not in her home.
“It’ll be all right, Sam,” he promised. “We’ll get you home as soon as we can, OK? I’ll get you in the car and then it’s only a short trip. Please don’t be scared. There’s no need to be scared. I’m here to look after you now.”
Question : Do you work with an outline or just write? orchard book club Answer: I always plan quite meticulously – to test the story line’s strength and to make any plot changes easier i.e. make them before you start writing, otherwise things can get very confusing.
Luke Delaney joined the Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1980s, and his first posting was to an inner-city area of South East London notorious for high levels of crime and extreme violence. He later joined the Criminal Investigations Department, where he investigated murders ranging from those committed by fledgling serial killers to gangland assassinations.