There’s a killer lurking in all of us. Sometimes you just don’t know it.
Take Phil Mercer, for example, what dark secret from his past changes a decent man, and respected professional into a man with murder on his mind?
Down to earth Northerner, Phil Mercer, begins to question why so-called university friends failed to help him establish a practice at London’s Criminal Bar.
Despite that and colleagues’ professional jealousy, he goes on to achieve success as a fearless defender of society’s less fortunate until his career is threatened by events triggered by something completely out of his control.
Figuring his life and career are about to change forever, Mercer strives to find a way to right wrongs by inventing a new parlour game called ‘Comfort Zone.’
At a dinner party surrounded by colleagues he insists they all play the game. He introduces it after dinner as a ‘storytelling game.’
He adds – “the easy choice is not an option at all. What terrifies you? What scares you shitless? Be brave. Be reckless. You are among friends. What can possibly go wrong? It’s just a parlour game, right?”
Get this dark suspense noir crime novella now.
She heard the footsteps and guessed the guy was about ten yards behind her. It must be a man. They are too heavy for a woman. Another few hundred yards and she would reach safety – her garden flat home. I swear, no more drug runs for Ben Turner, she thought. This is too risky. Her heart pounded faster. She could hear it thumping in her chest until the sound of her panting blocked it out. She could smell aftershave. It wasn’t her cologne, nor was it her breathlessness she could now hear. Before the lights went out, she thought, Fuck you, Ben!
When she regained consciousness her first sensation was movement. I’m in the boot of a car. She was unable to see anything. I must be blindfolded. She tried to check for a blindfold but trying to move her arms was futile. Her hands were tied behind her back and she couldn’t move her legs as they too were bound. Then she felt a searing pain in the back of her head and lost consciousness once more.
Clueless as to time, she knew she was in a strange room. It stunk of urine. In the distance she heard the low rumble of motorway traffic. Her head still hurt, her eyes unable to pierce the gloom, but she could see shadows. The blindfold’s gone. On trying to move, she heard a scuffling noise and knew she was tied to a chair. She heard a door open but was unable to see in the dark. Then she heard footsteps walking away and heard a second door open. A few moments later, a car engine started and the headlamp beams flooded both doorways and the room with bright light, penetrating the darkness. She was forced to shield her eyes from the light by tilting her head to the side, averting her gaze. Curiosity taking over, she scrunched her eyes and made out the figure of a man in front of her. A man dressed in black, wearing a ski-mask. He held a long knife in front of him. He cut the tape across her mouth before running the blade down her cheek. She felt the blood as it ran to the corner of her mouth, giving her the metallic taste of her own blood.
“Who are you?” she asked in panic. “Is this about the drugs? Here, have them.”
Removing his mask, the man in black said nothing.
Stephen Bentley is a former police Detective Sergeant and barrister (trial attorney) from the UK. He is now a freelance writer and occasional HuffPost UK contributor on undercover policing.
His memoir Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story is a frank account of his pioneering undercover detective experiences during Operation Julie – an elite group of detectives who successfully investigated one of the world’s largest drugs rings.
His memoir became a UK bestseller and now translated into Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. It is available in English in these formats: eBook, hard cover, paperback, and audiobook.
He also writes crime fiction in his Steve Regan Undercover Cop Thrillers and Detective Matt Deal Thriller series. He has also written an award-winning short story, The Rose Slayer, which has now been published in an anthology of murder mystery short stories titled Death Among Us, along with over twenty short stories from ten authors.
When he isn’t writing, Stephen relaxes on the beaches of the Philippines with his family where he now lives often with a cold beer in one hand and a book in the other.