Published Novels

HUNTED (Avon Books, HarperCollins, 2015)


Heck had encountered all kinds of creepy killers in his time, but as a rule the creepiest were those who prized the chase more than the catch. These were the slow hunters, the patient planners, the ones who set themselves complex tasks and gradually brought them to completion, revelling in their own genius as they did. Unless he was way off in his assessment, this was very possibly what they had here – though in some ways it could be even worse. The pet shop thing, not to mention the hideousness of the actual attacks – death by inflation, by slow burning, by poisonous spider – all that was bad enough, but apparently other buttons were being pushed as well. Finding pleasure in horrific suffering? Finding comedy value in it? There was an abnormal, and then there was super-abnormal.
Of course, it all boiled down to the same thing in the end.
‘Enjoy your sadistic gratification while you can, boys,’ Heck said to himself. ‘Time’s almost up.’

After his traumatic stint in the Lake District, Detective Sergeant Mark‘Heck’ Heckenburg is back in the Serial Crimes Unit at Scotland Yard, where he is cautiously feeling his way around his patched-up relationship with ex-girlfriend and current boss, Detective Superintendent Gemma Piper.

As a favour to Gemma, Heck heads south to Surrey, to look into the apparent open-and-shut case of a fatal car accident. Wealthy businessman Harold Lansing has died in a horrendous, fiery car-wreck. However, Heck then discovers that Lansing had only recently left hospital, having survived a bizarre near-drowning accident a couple of weeks earlier.

Local cop, Detective Constable Gail Honeyford is also suspicious about this, but while she thinks that Harold Lansing was involved in dodgy dealings and that this must be a consequence of that, Heck wonders if something even more sinister may be afoot. His enquiries then uncover a whole range of unlikely and elaborate fatal accidents stretching right across the county – a pair of car thieves bitten to death by poisonous spiders, a sales rep impaled alive by a piece of scaffolding.

Is it possible that some kind of crazy prankster is at large?

Gail doesn’t think so, and is reluctant to cooperate when her own boss, Detective Chief Inspector Will Royton teams her up with Heck in taskforce of two, to investigate the crimes in full.

A rollercoaster ride then follows as the duo – initially antagonistic to each other, but soon working hand-in-glove – follow one tenuous lead after another, following a winding trail, which takes them from the idyllic farm country of rural Surrey, to the rich suburbs of the stockbroker belt, and finally to the desolate badlands of inner South London.

Meanwhile, the strange and inexplicable deaths pile up – a drunken watchman is dropped hundreds of feet from an advertising blimp, a poacher bleeds rapidly to death after losing his arm in a bear-trap!

The truth, when they finally uncover it, will shock even Heck to the core. It will also put him on the spot in a way that no previous case thus far has ever done. Because he and Gail are a team of only two; not only that, they’re on foreign soil – all of which puts the odds firmly in favour of a very clever but also exceedingly deranged perpetrator.   

HUNTED is the fifth in a series of no-holds-barred British police thrillers, featuring the dogged and energetic Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, an investigator who literally lives to bring felons to justice, and a guy whose reckless determination to hunt down the depraved takes him all over the country and sometimes - and this case is possibly the best example to date - into the orbit of some truly insane killers. 


DEAD MAN WALKING (Avon Books, HarperCollins, 2014)

Heck felt queasy at the mere thought of Mary-Ellen – who, for all her confident athleticism, was still only a young lass – having to face this guy on her own.
With such fears in mind, it was probably not the ideal time for him to spot the writing on the far wall of the boathouse interior. This only happened slowly, as his eyes adjusted to the deep gloom, but once the piece of crude graffiti had swum properly into view, he jumped to his feet.
Now that he was fully out of the water, it was bitterly cold. Ice felt as if it was forming inside his clothes, but fleetingly Heck was too distracted to notice that. He limped around the interior to the far pier, so that he could examine it up close.


REMEMBER ME?


     There was no question about who’d written it or what it meant. In the dimness he was colour-blind, so though he didn’t immediately realise the sentence had been inscribed in blood, the idea occurred to him immediately when he dabbed at it with a fingertip, and it felt both slimy and congealed ...


After a calamitous disagreement with colleagues in the Serial Crimes Unit, Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg has now left the National Crime Group and is cooling his heels at a scenic but remote posting in the heart of the Lake District.

However, the winters up there can be brutal, and when the worst November fog in living memory descends on the fells and tarns, everyday life grinds to a halt. Not a good time for the Stranger, a mysterious killer long thought dead, to start claiming victims again - this time at a terrifying pace.

Cut off and blinded by the fog, and with only one inexperienced copper to help him, Heck soon realises that he may be the only thing standing between this frightened, isolated community and complete annihilation.

The only solution, apparently, is to play the madman at his own game, throwing away the police rulebook in the process.

DEAD MAN WALKING is the fourth in a series of in-yer-face British cop thrillers, featuring the young and relentless man-hunter, DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, who normally feels collars for fun but on this occasion is taken far out of his comfort zone. However, Heck is nothing if not versatile. Dark city streets or bleak, foggy moors, it's all the same to him - the bad guys are out there, and he's gonna nail them.


THE KILLING CLUB (Avon Books, HarperCollins, 2014)

He too wore a woolly hat - but was now in the act of pulling it down over his face, to reveal that it
was actually a ski-mask.
     The twosome at the back of the Romeo did the same, and spun around.
     Quinnell reacted, throwing his car into reverse, slamming the pedal to the floor. In seconds they were thirty yards away, but had to swerve sideways with a screech of rain-sodden tyres to avoid colliding with vehicles behind, before the two men opened fire with blistering flashes of flame and an ear-numbing dadadadadada! A strobe-like burst flared from the end of the rolled newspaper as the man in khaki opened up too.
     Heck and Quinnell weren't quite caught in an enfilade, they were moving too quickly for that, but streams of lead raked the Subaru from different angles, safety glass exploding, bodywork buckling and puncturing on all sides, projectiles whining across the interior ...

It's business as usual for Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg. He is busy investigating a trio of murders in the Northeast of England, when news suddenly reaches him that Mad Mike Silver, former head of the Nice Guys operation in Britain, has been broken out of Gull Rock high security prison, leaving a trail of police corpses in his wake.

But it doesn't end there. More murders follow. All across the country, wealthy men of high standing are found atrociously tortured and killed. The Nice Guys Club, it seems, having written Britain of as a business venture, are now 'cleaning house' - literally wiping out anyone with a possible connection to them: informers, operatives and even ex-clients.

When a massive counter-operation is put in place, the Serial Crimes Unit joining forces with the Serious Offenders Control and Retrieval programme, or SOCAR, Heck, as one of the original arresting officers, fully expects to be part of it - only to find himself brusquely and inexplicably sidelined. Even Detective Superintendent Gemma Piper, his former girlfriend and closest ally inside the job, is cool with him, seemingly wanting him out of the way.

But Heck is determined to play some part in sending these villains down. The Nice Guys have been the bane of his career for many years. He doesn't want to go AWOL in order to confront them again; it would be too much an abrogation of duty. But when a vicious effort is made on his own life, it becomes apparent that he may need to go AWOL just to stay alive. Heck isn't just after the Nice Guys, the Nice Guys are after him ...

THE KILLING CLUB is the third in a series of no-holds-barred British police thrillers, featuring the young but obsessive DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, who hunts his foes relentlessly, and yet thanks to his status as a detective in the Serial Crimes Unit, frequently finds himself pitted against killers and madmen who literally know no boundaries.


SACRIFICE (Avon Books, HarperCollins, 2013)

It was Heck who eventually gave voice to the numbing horror they all felt. ‘You mean he just ... played with her.’
     Perkins noddd and swallowed. He couldn’t take his eyes off the butchered horror lying below; his face was white as a bowl of curdled milk. ‘All night, they reckon. He was still at it this morning, when the security lads arrived.’
     ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph,’ Shawna breathed.
     She hadn’t intended it as a prayer, but Gary Quinnell continued it in that vein: ‘Have mercy on us all … and this poor soul, who died here alone and in such pain.’
     None of the others held religious beliefs, but none of them objected.
  
Detective Sergeant Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg finds himself embroiled in the most distressing case of his career, when a bunch of faceless maniacs begin to ‘celebrate’ famous feast days with ghastly and ever more imaginative human sacrifices.

Once again, the Serial Crimes Unit, who have a remit to cover the whole of England and Wales, find themselves travelling from one location to another – Liverpool, Yorkshire, Manchester and the leafy North Midlands – in pursuit of a fiendish crew who operate seemingly without rhyme or reason, ready to select any victim anywhere and at any time – never with any kind of warning, but always with two things in mind: a determination to inflict the maximum amont of suffering possible, and a desire to shock and appal the rest of society.

What is more, they are highly organised and incredibly eager to write themselves into the record books. Heck and his colleagues aren’t just racing against the clock in their efforts to bring an end to the horror. They are racing against the calendar too – for with each special day another body is found. The tally goes up and up and up …

SACRIFICE is the second in a series of no-holds-barred British police thrillers, concerning the investigations of DS Mark ‘Heck’ Heckenburg, a tireless and dogged hunter of criminals, who because of his status in Scotland Yard’s elite Serial Crimes Unit, almost invariably finds himself pitted against the very worst of the worst.


STALKERS (Avon Books, HarperCollins, 2013)

McCulkin laced his tattooed, nicotine-stained fingers in a tight, tense ball. ‘There are red flags all over this, Mr. Heckenburg. Any time it comes up in conversation, it’s like “you don’t talk about this”, or “do not even go there”.’
     'That’s Halloween stuff, Pat. It’s designed to stop people asking questions.’
     ‘Look, these people are bad news.’
     ‘And I’m not?’ Heck leaned forward. ‘These bastards are going to find out different. Now you tell me every single thing you know.’
     ‘You really going to spread it that I’m a snitch?’
     ‘Just watch me.'


When Detective Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg comes to suspect that 38 missing women may all have been abducted by the same unknown party, he finds himself embroiled in the most deadly and disturbing case of his entire career.

A case that will take him from the glitzy heartland of London's financial Square Mile to the desolate, decayed badlands of inner Manchester. From the menacing environs of high-level organised crime to the squalid underbelly of Britain's sex-for-sale industry, where weirdos, freaks and psychos of every description are lurking in the shadows.

It will also match him against the semi-mythical 'Nice Guys Club', a crime syndicate so infamously ruthless and cruel that most felons are too frightened to talk about them, while most senior cops don't even believe they exist (or rather, hope they don't) ...

STALKERS is the first in a series of hard-edged police thrillers, concerning Scotland's Yard's elite Serial Crimes Unit, and its most effective investigator, Sergeant Mark 'Heck' Heckenburg, a sharp, hard-working detective, who will stop at nothing to bring justice to the streets, but who, in this very first outing, may already have bitten off far more than he can chew.


DARK NORTH (Abaddon Books, 2012)

The story of Sir Lucan, the infamous ‘Black Wolf of the North’, who held King Arthur’s northern
frontier against the Celtic armies of Rheged and the Pictish hordes of Alba.

Forged in battle from his earliest days, Lucan was one of the most difficult characters for Arthur to manage at his Round Table, combining knightly beliefs and skills with a vengeful nature and innate ferocity, which made him almost unstoppable on the battlefield and a dominant warlord in the wintry wilds of northern Britain. Only the constant presence of good people – his older brother, Sir Bedivere, his idealistic squire, Alaric, King Arthur himself, and more important than any of these, his beautiful wife, Trelawna – kept Lucan on the chivalrous straight and narrow. In times of peace, he became as good a lord to his tenants and as loyal a subject to his king as anyone could ask for. But in times of war, a more sinister personality would emerge.

What then can Arthur’s court expect when a war to end all wars is declared on Camelot and its allies? How will the volatile brotherhood of the Round Table respond when an army more colossal than any previously seen in Dark Age Europe masses on the other side of the Channel, its intent to invade Britain and wipe out every last vestige of the Arthurian renaissance?

In Le Morte d’Arthur, Thomas Malory (1405-1471) writes tantalisingly about an attempt to reconquer Britain by the newly reinvigorated Roman Empire. Few real details are given, but he hints at prolonged and torturous campaigns, epic battles and astonishing death-tolls – he describes a war comparable with modern wars in terms of the numbers involved and the destruction wreaked. He talks of Albion (pre-Saxon England) as a nation-state suddenly battling for its very existence.

This is the backdrop to DARK NORTH. This is the theatre in which the Black Wolf of the North must finally come of age as a warrior and a man – because for Lucan there will be a war within this war. Not long before Rome’s intentions are made clear, his beloved wife, finally seeking a better life than that she has known in Lucan’s rugged castle at Penharrow, absconds with a young Roman officer. Lucan thus answers his monarch’s call to arms with angry delight. For him, the coming battle, with all its slaughter and devastation, will be very, very personal … but there are other forces at work here, not least the fearsome Malconi clan, to whom Trelawna has unwittingly attached herself: a ancient Roman dynasty with the power to raise demons!


SPARROWHAWK (Pendragon Press, 2010)

In December 1843, embittered Afghan War veteran, John Sparrowhawk, is released from the debtor’s prison by the beautiful but enigmatic Miss Evangeline.

Penniless, alone and tortured by the demons of his past, Sparrowhawk has no option but to accept
employment with his mysterious new benefactor. The job she offers him is to stand guard over a house in Bloomsbury for the duration of the Christmas period. It sounds simple enough, but as the coldest winter in living memory descends on London, Sparrowhawk senses the presence of an unseen but very dangerous enemy, who will soon start to manifest in the most horrific and terrifying ways …


STRONGHOLD (Abaddon Books, 2010)

In the year 1295, a band of English knights is sent over the border into Wales to quell an uprising. Their leader, Earl Corotocus of Clun is a skilled but brutal marcher baron, who is determined to impress King Edward with his efficiency. He thus massacres the Welsh rebels and terrorises and punishes the civilian population. Afterwards, he and his men take hostage the daughter of Countess Madalyn, a Welsh noblewoman, and hole up in the impregnable Grogan Castle, from where they will rule the district with a rod of iron.

Not all of Corotocus’s retainers are comfortable with their overlord’s methods. One knight in
particular, Ranulf FitzOsbern, has fanciful notions that knighthood is should be about honour and chivalry, and is ashamed of his involvement in these atrocities. However differences between the English disappear when a terrifying new enemy emerges through the woodland mist.

Countess Madalyn has made a pact with the druids, who have raised a host of the dead and set it against the English interlopers. A nightmarish siege follows, as the English defend their ramparts against an army whose rotted, raddled soldiers can be hacked, stabbed, slashed, burned and mutilated, but just will not die …


CAPE WRATH (Telos Books, 2002)


An elite university team heads to Craeghatir, a lonely rock off Cape Wrath, mainland Britain’s most northerly point, and a place wreathed in mystery, superstition and a primitive fear of the unknown.

The island is scenic but wild, embattled by crashing waves, roaring whirlpools and thunderous gales. However, the team – led by the beautiful and domineering Professor Jo Mercy, are a hardy bunch and will not be put off. They are here to unearth and excavate a long lost Viking tomb, by which they hope to make their names.

Unfortunately, an ancient energy lies dormant in the rocks of Craeghatir. Even buried deeply, its uncanny influence has reached out over the centuries to cause terror and madness. But now people have come here with picks and shovels. They intend to dig, to tear the island open … and an unstoppable force is set to be released!