I'm currently working on the eighth novel in the series, working title "Silent Crimes", but this may change.

 

Updated January 2019

Prologue

The western sky was ablaze with an orange glow, the remnants of a glorious sunset. Would it be too much to hope that it heralded a warm summer to come? Impossible to say, given the ever-changing weather in these temperate isles, governed by the vagaries of the northern Atlantic. The dusk had brought out the bats and they were now flitting between the trees, swooping on swarms of insects that were out in the cooling night air. The bats veered clear of the air above the small fire despite the fact that it had burned down to little more than ashes. The man picked up a stick and poked the few remaining bits of branch into the embers, causing a myriad spark to fly into the air and a blaze of light to illuminate the small clearing. He stacked the blackened pot together with his dish and spoon. He would rinse them in the morning, when he went down to the shore for his morning wash.

A sudden distant sound, as of a dead branch snapping, disturbed the near silence. The small dog raised its head and growled softly, so the man reached across and tickled its head to calm it. Even he wondered what had caused the noise. Was there a creature in these woods heavy enough to snap a dead branch hidden in the undergrowth? Maybe it was only a small twig caused to break by a fox or badger, but the sound had somehow become magnified in the still air. Nevertheless, he rose and walked slowly in the direction from which the sound had come. The dog followed, sniffing the ground.

The night was growing darker by the minute. Once in the woods all traces of light were blocked by the dense overhead foliage, all sound seemed somehow lost in the heavier air. He walked several hundred yards up the gently rising ground. The dog had run off somewhere, maybe chasing rabbits.  The man heard a slight rustling sound and started to turn. The darkness exploded into a million stars that momentarily streaked across his vision. He fell like a stone.