October can be one of the most beautiful months in Edinburgh, and the first two weeks of the month are often warm and sunny, but this morning was chilly, but the cloudless sky and slight breeze promised a typical ‘Indian Summer’. Children back at school enjoyed the challenges the academic year has to throw at them. College and university students, who invaded the city in August and September, find their feet and take full advantage of their freedom from parental restrictions. They have enthusiasm for studying their courses, but even more interest in studying each other.
Jamie Thomson pulled up outside HMP Edinburgh in Saughton. He had driven his pop’s favourite old Range Rover to meet him. Pop was to be released from prison, at last, and would get out this morning. He was being let out very early in the morning to avoid a rush of journalists. Ian Thomson was one of the best-known inmates in the jail, and fame always comes at a price.
Jamie leant on the car and flicked through the Facebook messages on his phone as he waited. He was glad his pop would be back to run their car showroom, Thomson’s Top Cars. Jamie and his cousin Frankie had done their best, but it would be good to have Pop back at the helm. Although goodness only knew how they were all going to fit into that three-bedroomed semi-detached house he shared with his cousin Frankie and Frankie’s twin baby daughters. With Pop out, Frankie’s brother Harry and his pal Gavin home on leave from Afghanistan, that would be seven of them squeezed in there. Jamie was sure it wasn’t going to be him sleeping in the bath!
“That’s a nice welcome, son! You with your eyes glued to that phone!”
“Pop! Good to see you. It’s great to have you out of the big house.” The men shook hands then hugged. Jamie had missed his pop.
“It is good to be free, that’s for sure. Did you remember to bring me a hat?”
“Of course. Here you go.”
“It didn’t have to be an Andy Capp style like this, boy!” Ian Thomson doffed his cap and laughed with his son.
“I didn’t think you wanted it as a fashion statement; just something to hide you from the journalists?”
“Well, it’s certainly not a fashion statement, lad! Let’s make tracks, before the paparazzi realise they’ve been conned. Oh, and I’ll be driving, Jamie.”
“Well, seeing you’re back now, Pop,” Jamie said as he handed over the keys with a grin.
“Aye. We’ll go back to the house first and I’ll get a proper shower and change into decent clothes before we go over to the showroom.
“You’re certainly looking fit. Been working out in the gym inside, have you?”
“Not much else to do, really. But I have got a surprise for you. I did a wee deal inside, and we’ve got two new betting shops to add to our business empire.”
“Betting shops? You mean you’re a bookie now, Pop? That’s mental! Whereabouts are they?”
“One in Frederick Street, one in Lothian Road.”
“Wow! That’s brilliant. Fine and central. They’ll make good money.”
“Aye, they do.”
“So, you kept that very quiet. Who’s been minding them?” Jamie asked excitedly.
“Arjun Mansoor’s wife,” Ian said.
“What the fuck? You’ve got back into bed with old Argy Bargy. You’re mad, Pop!”
“No, I’m not. With him and his brother-in-law inside his wife needed a job, and she’s damn good at keeping the books straight.”
“Well, I think you’re insane. That old bastard Mansoor did your business over before, and I bet you’ll find his wife’s just as bad. But it’s up to you.”
“Yes, it is up to me. Now let’s not fall out already, son. I know what faults the Mansoors have, but the wife doesn’t ask any questions. Better the devil you know and all that, and, while Arjun Mansoor is still in the big house, he has nothing to do with this.”
"You better hope not, Pop," Jamie said as he shook his head knowingly.
MORE ABOUT VAL:
Val Penny has an Llb degree from the University of Edinburgh and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer but has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.
Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, nonfiction books, and novels. Her novels are published by SpellBound Books Ltd.
Val is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and their cat.
MORE ABOUT HUNTER'S FORCE:
Hunter by name - Hunter by nature.
Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?
Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son. Cameron's flatmate was murdered. Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city?
Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation due to the reorganisation of police services. Hunter's ability to be involved, however, is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing, and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks?
Meanwhile, Hunter's team must work closely with the MIT and, with or without him, solve the murder in this taut crime thriller.
To get your copy of Hunter's Force, click here.