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With only TWO MONTHS to go until the launch of Code Runner and our first exciting review, it’s time to share the first three chapters of the second thrilling installment in The Amy Lane Mysteries.

It begins on St Mary’s Street in Cardiff…

Chapter 1: Overheard in Cardiff

DS Rich Porter was sick to death of Cardiff.

What was supposed to be a capital city was a soggy little nothing town—no prospects of promotion, no chance to shine. He wished he’d realised that before he’d accepted the transfer, but the Met had been all abuzz with their work on a serial killer case and he’d been enthralled by the manhunt, the digital forensics, the cutting-edge police work.

But what he’d found was a bunch of past-it detectives who had blundered through the investigation and only found the bloke because of some nerdy girl with a computer and her criminal sidekick. It was a sham from start to finish and now he had their useless unit attached to his CV.

At least the lads back home in Camden had taken pity on him and organised a piss-up to make the most of the May Day weekend. He needed to be back among the living in London.

Making his way down St. Mary’s Street in Cardiff’s piss-poor excuse for a city centre, Rich checked his watch, rubbing at the rain that splattered it. Twenty minutes—he could stroll it. He passed McDonald’s and the chavs propping up the windows, disaffected youth in fake designer gear and gold-looking chains. He clocked three of them who he’d seen on the unsolved boards in the office. Petty theft, possession of a negligible amount of cocaine, school arson. What a gallon of twats.

Speaking of twats… Rich became aware of a skinhead coming up behind him on the street, and automatically pulled his jacket closer. He subtly checked him out in the reflection of the shop window: a tall, broad twenty-something with a light coating of stubble on his cheeks. He wore a nice leather jacket—looked vintage, but you could buy that crap from the indoor market for a pittance. Cheap Chinese crap that kids thought made them look cool.

This boy didn’t look like the usual breed of neo-Nazi scum, but DI Hesketh had been wittering on about an increased presence of English Defence League—or was that Welsh Defence League?—hooligans on their streets. They were supposed to be on the lookout for racially motivated crimes, but Rich had never been keen to police what was going on in someone’s head. And if the Welsh bastards wanted to keep Wales for themselves, they were welcome to it.

Yet this kid made him antsy precisely because he didn’t fit the bill. He had his shoulders hunched down and was walking at a pace that his long legs could easily have exceeded. Why was he walking so damn slowly?

Rich suddenly felt a deep sense of unease, the hairs on the back of his neck rising up. Had he done something to piss off the boys down in grubby Splott? Had they sent a friend to take care of him? He regretted leaving his badge at home.
It wasn’t yet nine o’clock but the streets were dark and quiet, falling into the lull between the day’s shoppers heading home and the nightlife coming out to play. There were barely twenty people the entire length of the street and no one close to them. The skinhead could easily come up behind him, slide a knife between his ribs, and that would be him done. Nobody would even know until Rich spilled his lifeblood on the ground, spreading pink in the rainwater gutters of the street.

Download the first three chapters of Code Runner here
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