PROLOGUE PART 1
MANCHESTER UK POLICE HEADQUARTERS
Nigel Holmes knew he was in deep. He had broken every rule on the case. He was supposed to maintain a professional detachment and not get involved with the witness in any way. That was his first mistake. He had taken one look at Nikki Harrison and he was a goner. His grey matter turned to mush and from then on his boys were doing the thinking. They shagged at every opportunity and he decided he was in love. After the case was solved, he and Nik were running off to elope at Gretna Green just over the Scottish border.
That never happened. Two days ago Nikki was found dead in her flat. Bludgeoned by a hammer and lying in her own blood. It was his fault. When he should have been protecting her from a vicious killer, he was banging her senseless. He did his best to keep his cool at the scene, but directly after, he lost his lunch, cried like a baby and nearly poisoned himself with a bottle of Glen Fiddich.
Here he was the day after getting his stomach pumped, up on the carpet in front of his superior officers about to receive a new butt hole. Nigel was already blaming himself for not keeping that distance. That wasn’t the end of the story. A killer was free to kill again and his only witness and the love of his life was dead.
“Nigel Holmes, you have been accused of interfering with a witness in the case you are working on. What say you in your defense?”
“There really is no defense, sir. I clearly overstepped the bounds with the witness and got involved with her romantically. This led to some distractions and I wasn’t watching my back as closely as I should have been, or hers. As a result, I wasn’t on guard the night she was murdered providing the killer with the opportunity to break in and murder her. As a result, we have no witness and the killer is still running free. This is all on me, sir, and I deeply regret my lack of professionalism.”
“Very well Holmes. I’ve discussed this with the disciplinary team and since you have come forth and admitted your guilt. We will not be firing you. However, we decided to send you over to North America for a period of six months. It is during this time that I hope you will learn from the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force how they solve crimes. It’ll give you time to reflect on your misdeeds and come back home with a fresh perspective. I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to learn from your past indiscretions. Also while you’re there, you can brush up on your people skills.”
“What’s wrong with my people skills, Inspector?”
“They are sorely lacking Holmes. Keep in mind that your superiors are not your best friends and going around and asking everybody on the force how it’s hanging just will not do. Your ability to solve the crime is indeed first rate. However, people simply don’t want to work with you because of your crass attitude and lack of respect for those higher up in the food chain. When you come home. I better not hear you once say the old broad in the castle or we will fire you. Are we clear?”
“Quite sir. When am I to leave?”
“You have four days to get your affairs in order over here. Clean out your locker and your desk as somebody will be using them in your absence. You’ll be reassigned a new one when you come home.”
“I have to find someone to sublet me flat! That could take weeks!”
“You don’t have weeks, Holmes. I suggest you get moving as soon as possible. Time starts now. The clock is ticking.”
Nigel left Inspector Clemons’ office. He was clearly flummoxed over the whole affair. He was being sent into the world like a brand-new baby never having stepped out of Manchester in his entire life. He had to figure it could have been worse. They could’ve just fired him. He lived in shame over the whole mess he had gotten himself into. Not only that, he sorely missed the woman he loved.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
TORONTO POLICE HEADQUARTERS disciplinary Board hearing.
Kristen Sherlock sat nervously awaiting her time to testify in her own defense. The events of three weeks ago were still clear in her mind like it was yesterday. Things were going sideways pretty quickly that day. She was still flabbergasted that they believed she was the one dealing coke out of the back of her Crown Royal. Someone had set her up. She was sure of it. She was going to find out who, if it with the last thing she did. Her fate was in the hands of a panel of internal affairs officers, whose job it was to investigate crimes allegedly committed by police officers. She knew that it was a necessary evil put in place to deal with dirty cops. She was not dirty! Her partner Chris Eversley could vouch for her good character and ability to solve crimes.
The door to the hearing room opened and she was summoned to go in. “Here goes nothing.” She said to her partner. “I may not have a job to come back to when this is over. Depending on how much they want to fry me. Wish me luck. I’m going to need it!”
“Stay positive Kristen. The guys and I are behind you on this.”
“Thanks. I’m going to need it!”
Kristen took her seat in front of the panel and swore that she was telling the absolute truth.
“Please state your name and tell us the events of the day in question.”
“My name is Sgt. Kristen Sherlock. On May 18, 2015 I was working surveillance in an area near Parliament Street that our task force believed was being used as a center for trafficking in heavy narcotics. I was alone in the vehicle watching the building in question. My partner Detective Eversley was with the rest of the task force, about to enter the building to make an arrest. I was approached by members of the squad, that I did not know and asked to step out of the car. I did as I was told. The man and the woman asked me to open my trunk so they could inspect it. I asked what it was all about, but they said nothing and just repeated their instructions. I asked for my union rep to be present, but they refused. Thinking I had nothing to hide, I opened the trunk as instructed.”
The head of the panel spoke up. “What was in the trunk Sgt. Sherlock?”
Kristen cleared her throat and continued. “There was a large cash of bricks of cocaine, bags of ecstasy and crystal meth pills. None of it had been there the night before, when I parked the car in the police lot. I had no clue how it got there.”
“What happened next?” One other panel members inquired.
“I was grabbed by the female officer and slammed against the car while she cuffed me. I was read my rights and then escorted to their police car; then I was taken in to be processed downtown.”
“Thank you Sgt. You may step down now.”
Prosecution calls Sgt. Eversley to the stand. The bailiff led Kristen out of the room as she would not be allowed to hear to Detective Eversley’s testimony.
She was told to sit in the hallway where she had waited before. Chris winked at her gave her the thumbs up, which said, “I got your back baby!”
I certainly hope you do, because no one else seemed to. Somebody was trying to get rid of me. The question was who and why.