Merrily Watkins 11 - The Secrets of Pain

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The Secrets of Pain
 

PHIL RICKMAN
was born in Lancashire and lives on the Welsh border. He is the author of the Merrily Watkins series, and The Bones of Avalon. He has won awards for his TV and radio journalism and writes and presents the book programme Phil the Shelf for BBC Radio Wales.

 
PHIL RICKMAN
 
‘Phil Rickman is one of my all-time favourites. I love everything he’s done, from horror to mystery to supernatural thriller – often all in the same book’
DIANA GABALDON
‘No-one writes better than Rickman about the shadow-frontier between the supernatural and the real world’
BERNARD CORNWELL
‘Rickman writes mysteries in the classic sense, cleverly combining the supernatural and criminal elements to illuminate the darkest corners of our imaginations’
JOHN CONNOLLY
‘I like Merrily. She’s got vices, she likes a smoke, she swears, she’s not easily fooled and she’s nobody’s pushover’
BARBARA NADEL
‘A completely new approach to crime’
BARRY NORMAN
‘A haunting quality beyond crime fiction’
RUSSELL JAMES
‘First rate. We don’t praise our home-grown thriller writers enough. It’s high time we praised Phil Rickman’
DAILY MAIL
‘Compassionate, original and sharply contemporary, one of the best crime series around’
SPECTATOR
‘The clever combination of modern idiom and the timeless echo of history leaps from every page. You are there with poor Merrily every step of the way’
DAILY EXPRESS
‘Feuds, intrigues and murder. A most original sleuth. Terrific’
THE TIMES
‘A first class thriller with a difference’
GUARDIAN
‘Conveys evil like no other writer… A major talent’
SFX
‘Tough-minded, atmospheric mystery’
BARRY FORSHAW
‘A dark no-man’s-land where murder mingles with superstition. Complex, absorbing, fascinating’
ANDREW TAYLOR
 

 

ALSO BY
PHIL
RICKMAN
 
THE MERRILY WATKINS SERIES
The Wine of Angels
Midwinter of the Spirit
A Crown of Lights
The Cure of Souls
The Lamp of the Wicked
The Prayer of the Night Shepherd
The Smile of a Ghost
The Remains of an Altar
The Fabric of Sin
To Dream of the Dead
The Secrets of Pain
 
OTHER BOOKS
The Bones of Avalon
 
PHIL
RICKMAN
The Secrets of Pain

 

 

 
First published in Great Britain in 2011 by Corvus,
an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.
 
Copyright © Phil Rickman, 2011.
 
The moral right of Phil Rickman to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
 
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
 
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
 
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
 
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84887-273-8
Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-84887-274-5
eBook ISBN: 978-0-85789-474-8
 
Printed in Great Britain.
 
Corvus
An imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd
Ormond House
26-27 Boswell Street
London WC1N 3JZ
 
www.corvus-books.co.uk
 
Table of Contents
 

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

1. White Hell

Part One

2. Longships

3. Wet Cassock

4. Talk About Paris

5. Gangland

6. Exhaust

7. Old Evil

8. Neglect

9. Towards the Flames

10. Male Thing

Part Two

11. Stable Doors

12. Act of Sacrifice

13. Killing Fields

14. Not Going

15. Dead Game

16. The Rule

17. Get the Drummer Killed

18. An Island in the Night

Part Three

19. Icon

20. Who We Are

21. Liberal of the Old School

22. Ground To Air

23. Swab City

24. Demons

25. A Lovely Thing

26. Bergen

27. The Loser

28. Like the Poet

29. Impaler

30. Share

31. Blue Sparks

Part Four

32. A Soul in Camouflage

33. Colleagues

34. Burned

35. Comper’s Bling

36. The Having Done It

37. Loaded

38. The Energy of Sorrow

39. Seer Takes Fire

40. Magic Dragon

41. Pain

42. Don’t Go There

43. Brazilian Decaff

44. From the Killing House

45. The Thorny Night

46. Crucible

Part Five

47. Fizz

48. Aggressor

49. Spout

50. Girlie Returns

51. Criminal Damage

52. Grassed

53. Sideshow

54. Hell’s Kitten

55. Cutting Edge

56. The Beast Within

57. Arena

58. Poultry Contest

59. Cheated

60. Cult

61. Passed Away

62. Blood Sugar

63. Syd’s Candle

64. Control

65. The God of the Regiment

Part Six

66. Anything You Want

67. Savage Ballet

68. Punching at Smoke

69. Law of the Hunt

70. Pot… Kettle… Black

71. Something Insane

72. Sham

73. Raven

74. Sleeper

75. Plug

76. Night of the Last Supper

77. Migraine Lights

78. The Wafer and the Moon

Part Seven

79. No Fuss

80. Slasher

81. The Toxic Dilemma

82. Revelations

Credits

The Secrets of Pain
 

 

FEBRUARY
 
They came for me in darkness
They were black-eyed, grey and thin
Lol Robinson, ‘
Mephisto’s Blues

 
1
White Hell
 

T
HE HOUSE WAS
right next to the road, wherever the road was.

And out in front there was a woman.

Not exactly dressed for the weather, thin cardigan all lumpy with snow. Stumbling about in Bronwen’s lights and the blinding white hell, waving her arms. And they were going to run her down, cut her in half.

‘Gomer!’ Danny roared. ‘
No!

The snow was coming down like rubble now, had been this past four hours, and if Danny couldn’t see through it there was no chance that Gomer could. When Bronwen lurched and the snow sprayed up, Danny was thinking,
Oh Christ, it’ll be all blotched red
.

Then they’d stopped. Apart from Bronwen’s grumpy chuntering, there was silence. The front door of the house was wide open, yellow light splattered over the snow like warm custard on ice cream. Some of it reaching Gomer, sitting at the wheel in his old donkey jacket, with his cap and his sawn-off mittens and his muffler and the snowlight in his glasses.

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