Monday 13 May 2024

BLOG TOUR: Crucial Black (Relic Black Thriller Book 2) - Colin Garrow

I really enjoyed the first book in the Relic Black Thriller series, Terminal Black, so I am delighted to be taking part in the Rachel's Random Resources blog tour for the second book in the series, Crucial Black.  You can find out about the book below and scroll down to read an extract.

A brace of corpses. A bone-crunching machine. A new recruit.

Now employed by an Inverness organised crime gang, former petty thief Relic Black is teamed up with hitman Ali McKay, the man he almost killed a few weeks earlier. As the team tidy up the loose ends after the shooting, gang member and bent cop DI McKenzie must investigate the disappearance of two people, knowing Relic and Ali have already disposed of the bodies.

Meanwhile, Rebecca’s unpopular colleague DI Swinney, suspects her of involvement in the shooting. Knowing one of the bodies currently taking up space in the mortuary remains anonymous, he discovers the man’s identity. Can Swinney uncover the truth, dig the dirt on McKenzie and regain his former status with the DCI, or will the gang step in to stop him?

Warning - strong language and adult situations throughout.

Crucial Black is book #2 in the Relic Black Thriller series set in Inverness, Scotland.  

NB book #2 is not a standalone – the series must be read in order.

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DI Ray Swinney has suspicions about his colleague DI McKenzie and believes she may be linked to the villain known as Relic Black. Unfortunately, he has no idea how to tie them together…

Divisional HQ, Old Perth Road, Inverness 9:26am

Behind his desk in the corner of the office, Detective Inspector Raymond Swinney stares across at the display board where only a few days ago several mugshots were exhibited. One of those which has been removed depicted the face of the man known as Relic Black.

Swinney rubs his chin the way Sherlock Holmes might when pondering a complex case. Though it’s been explained to him that petty-thief Black gave a statement exonerating him in the murders of Carl Palfreyman and/or the individual known as Toothbrush Man, Swinney isn’t convinced. How can an arsehole like that be allowed to get away with anything? To make things worse, Swinney doesn’t quite believe that the bloke with one eye missing is the one currently taking up space in the mortuary. And why doesn’t he believe it? Because Rebecca Fucking McKenzie’s got her lesbian paws all over it.

He sighs. Trouble is, he can’t prove anything. Even if he could, she’d waggle her arse and talk her way out of it. What’s needed is to find a link between McKenzie and Black, if there is one, and pin something on her that’ll stick.

But as his old dad used to say, that’ll not get the bairn a new coat. With a sigh, he forces himself back to reality and studies the mugshots on the FBI’s ten-most-wanted page. It’s hardly relevant to Scottish crime, but he likes to imagine one of these tossers might turn up in Inverness one day, allowing the soon-to-be-lauded DI Swinney to make a name for himself. And maybe claim the reward, though he’s not too sure about the ethics of such things. One of the faces—the bearer of several aliases, including Stig Halvorsen—looks vaguely familiar but for the moment he can’t work out why. Clicking through the hundreds of villainous mugshots in his memory, he stares at the image on the screen, trying to place where he’s seen the man before.

Then it hits him.

Standing, he walks across to the display board where the remaining crime scene photos from Wester Dalziel have been arranged. His eyes swivel between the ones showing the two dead men, both shot in the head. One, he knows, is the man identified as Carl Palfreyman. The other one is taken from a few feet away and shows a man wearing an eye patch. And this man has a big nose and a wide mouth.

Swinney struggles to keep his excitement in check but despite his efforts, lets out a low moan of what can only be described as pleasure. One of the plods walks past and gives him a funny look.


‘Nothing, sir.’

‘Fuck off, then.’ He pauses. ‘Hang on a minute.’

The young copper turns and walks back. ‘Sir?’

Keeping his voice low, Swinney says, ‘What’s yer name, son?’

‘Kikelomo, sir.’

Swinny looks him up and down. ‘Not from round here, are ye?’

‘No, sir. I’m from Lossiemouth.’

‘I meant—’

‘I know what ye meant, sir.’ He smirks in that condescending manner Swinney is used to.

Swinney coughs. ‘Didn’t ye pick up Inspector McKenzie this mornin?’

‘I did, sir.’

‘Just out of interest, where did ye pick her up from?’

The young man grimaces, glances across at McKenzie’s empty desk. Next to it, DC Koch is busy tapping away at his computer. ‘Some place on Gordonville Road.’

Swinney flaps his hand. ‘Oh, aye. That’s where…thingummy lives…’

The copper doesn’t bite.

‘Don’t fuck about, son. Who lives there?’

Another grimace. ‘I’m not meant to say, sir.’

‘Aye ye are. Ye’re meant to say to me. Who lives there?’

‘I believe she works at the hospital.’ He gives a short nod and walks away before he’s given the chance to drop himself even further in the shit.

Swinney has a bit of a think. The hospital. That could mean the mortuary, which could mean quite a lot. Ruminating on the possibilities, he turns his attention back to the photo and something else comes to mind—a phrase bandied about by the woodentops suggested Toothbrush Man looked a bit like the actor Daniel Craig. Staring at the image, Swinney notes there is a resemblance, but this man’s nose is too long, his mouth too wide. But there is enough of a resemblance to consider that the body of this man—the not Daniel Craig lookalike—might feasibly have been substituted for the real Toothbrush Man.

About the author:
Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland. He has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. 

His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Word Bohemia, Every Day Fiction, The Grind, A3 Review, 1,000 Words, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. He currently lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland where he writes novels, stories, poems and the occasional song.

He also makes rather nice vegan cakes.

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