• Embers of Bridges

    Four friends. One robbery. What price loyalty?


Van driver Mickey's been following best mate Gaz from one scrape to another since primary school. He's been deluding himself about the reasons for almost as long: Gaz is fun; Gaz brings excitement to his otherwise dull life; Gaz's sister Trudy is hot enough for any kid to die for.

Now the Live Hard, Die Young gang's all grown up and the scrapes have turned into robberies, but the excuses stay the same. Mickey's loyalty is about to be tested, though, as Gaz is acting weird and the robberies keep going tits-up. As their latest job in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter leads to a bizarre getaway on a canal boat, he can think of only one thing. Not him. Not Gaz. This can't be lurve. Can it?

But Mickey isn't the only one with a secret. And when he finds out what Gaz is hiding, he has to decide which of his bridges to burn...

This noirish comedy of errors, set around the back streets and canals of Birmingham, is available right now on Kindle and (free) on Kindle Unlimited.

"Embers of Bridges has it all: dark wit, a distinctive Birmingham setting, and a grifter you can’t help liking." Margot Kinberg

Tasty morsels

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A quick snippet from the very beginning of the book...

Mickey was stuck in the traffic jam from hell when Gaz phoned. He knew it was a jam in spite of the HGV blocking his view because it had been on the radio. Some smash-up on the Middleway, apparently. Near the Mosque. Which was still three quarters of a mile away. Christ.

He knew it was Gaz because the mad bastard had got hold of his phone the other week and reprogrammed his own ring tone. Now whenever his mate called the phone made a demented squawk, like someone grabbing a chicken and shoving the egg back in. It was stupid and had earned him some weird looks at work, but he hadn’t had the heart to change it back.

He tried to ignore the little skip of his heart. It was boring stuck here in the van on his tod, that was all. And Gaz would be his usual fount of silly jokes and mad schemes and would cheer him up. ‛All right?’

‛Hey, Mickey. Why did the hamster give up tap dancing?’

So the jokes had started already. He felt the corners of his mouth tug upwards, even as he dreaded the reply. ‛Go on then.’

‛Because it kept falling in the sink.’

Gaz was cackling like a drain and the corners tugged harder, but he had a reputation to maintain. ‛Mate, that’s not even funny.’

‛You know what your trouble is? You’ve got no soul.’

‛Yeah, yeah, so you keep saying. Tell me you didn’t phone me just to give me that.’

The cackles became a snigger, then died away. ‛Well, no, obviously. Just thought you might need cheering up. Heard on the radio that the traffic’s bad.’

He stared at the back of the HGV—which was carrying eggs, appropriately—and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. ‛Bad doesn’t even start. I’ve been stuck here for twenty minutes already and now it’s nearly rush hour. And it’s starting to rain.’ Sure enough, fat drops landed on the windscreen with a splat. He switched on the wipers and watched them flip back and forth, smearing arcs of damp and dust. How long since anyone cleaned the van? Months, probably. It was never off the road for long enough.

‛Tough shit. This might cheer you up.’

Another joke? Please God, no. He wasn’t sure he could cope. ‛Go on.’

‛Got an idea for a job. Bit different, like. Not sure you’ll approve.’

And that was typical Gaz too. Reverse psychology, or so Mum said—although what that meant was anybody’s guess. But he always told Mickey why he wouldn’t be interested in a job. And probably knew full well that Mickey immediately was. He drummed on the wheel again. That thing he’d heard on the radio the other day. Dit-dah-dah, dit-dah-dah. Blast. Never mind ‛you’, now he couldn’t get the song out of his head. ‛Well I can’t tell if I approve or not if you don’t tell me what it is.’

‛Fair enough. There’s a place in the Jewellery Quarter. Sort of warehouse plus storage and some workshops or something. Looks pretty run down but I’ve seen deliveries going in and out. And the best thing is, there’s hardly any security.’

‛Seriously?’ That seemed unlikely. Too many of Gaz’s hare-brained schemes turned out to be the equivalent of chasing hares. ‛Sounds fishy to me.’