I used to be a high-ranking English copper until my temper got the better of me and I broke a fellow officer’s jaw. I was ‘required to retire’ as the British police so delicately put it. I should’ve learned from the experience but no, I still blow the odd fuse or ten. When my wife was alive she used to rein me in, but since her death there’s been no one to do that. I’ve got four grown up kids, by the way, who live thousands of miles away - Nepal, Japan, Haiti and Los Angeles. They’re all impetuous by nature and they worry me, usually with good reason. Thanks to modern technology it often feels like they’re in the same room with me. Is that good or bad? I’m not sure... When I first came to live in this truly beautiful English village I thought early retirement would be a breeze. Wrong! But, as you’ll see, just as I was about to go mad with boredom a neighbour did me the courtesy of being murdered and suddenly it was like the old days. Without the paperwork. Without rules. Without a boss telling me to be careful. Regards,
Haggard Hawk is the first in this modern murder mystery in the classic English style. Hawk is a witty and volcanic English ex-copper with four grown up children scattered across the world. He was ‘required to retire’, as the British so delicately put it. In truth he was sacked. And just as he’s about to go mad with boredom one of his neighbours does him the courtesy of being murdered. The local police warn Hawk against interfering in their inquiry, but he can’t help himself and pretty soon he’s back where he belongs – catching a killer.
Easy Prey is the second story in the Nathan Hawk Crime series. When Teresa Stillman, the daughter of an elderly barrister, suddenly disappears her distraught father asks Hawk to search for her. Hawk's experience tells him that Teresa is dead, so he gently declines the task - and then his own wayward daughter goes missing for 24 hours and he realises the importance of keeping hope alive.
He sets off to find Teresa, a journey which takes him through Britain to the Outer Hebrides. Gradually he begins to unearth a dangerous world of lies and violent revenge but even he, an ex police officer who has solved 35 murders - isn't prepared for the final outcome.
In his spare time - which mercifully he doesn't have a great deal of - he still worries about his four grown up children. They are scattered all over the world but he's desperate to keep them together as a family, even at such long distances. He fears it's a battle he will lose, but his new ladyfriend, Dr Laura Peterson, believes otherwise. She's the voice of reason in Hawk's life but she's discovering that Hawk relies as much on instinct as reason.
And overhanging it all is Hawk's sharp wit and uneven temper which is likely to explode at any moment. Usually it's justified - sometimes it isn't.
Hawk is with his farmer friend, Martin Falconer, one night when the latter finds a titanium plate, just four centimetres long, one centimetre wide. The kind used to heal broken bones. Martin asks Hawk to find the body it must once have been attached to. Against his better judgement, Hawk agrees.
His charming, egotistical son Jaikie comes to England for the London premiere of a Hollywood film he’s starring in. Although on a publicity junket, Jaikie’s far more interested in the body which he and Martin Falconer believe must have been dumped in Martin’s Long Field.
Hawk's new girlfriend, Dr Laura Peterson, discovers rom engraving on the side of it, that the plate was made for The Chiltern Clinic. She phones them and is told that it was made for a young man called Patrick Scott, who broke a metatarsal in a ski-ing accident. A day later she discovers that all trace of Patrick Scott has been wiped from the NHS computer. Hawk has to concede that it’s probably because she’s asked questions about Patrick Scott.
But who wants the world to believe that Patrick Scott never existed? And did they murder him to achieve it?
When two trawlermen are murdered, an old police acquaintance, Tom Blackwell, asks Hawk to house a main witness in the forthcoming murder trial. But are Blackwell’s motives quite as honourable as he makes out? Almost certainly not. Within days Hawk is caught up in a huge drug deal, becomes a likely IRA target and has severe doubts about the murder charge itself…
The witness, a charming down-and-out called Liam Kinsella, isn’t Hawk’s only unwanted house guest. He 's in the charge of two officers from S.O.U, one an attractive 30 year old woman, the other a grumbling and resentful bear of a man called Bill Grogan. Hawk enrols his help to re-investigate the murder. After a testy, monosyllabic start, they become friends.
As unforeseen dangers rise to the surface and as Grogan and Hawk set about dealing with them, so the latter's eldest daughter, Fee, joins the party, unannounced. She’s flown in from Tokyo, having just broken up with her long term boyfriend, and needs her father’s support. Her father is only too happy to see her of course but fears that her presence could put her in jeopardy…
And on top of that her brother, Con, hasn't been seen or heard from for months. In Hawk's effort to keep his family together, in spite of the miles between them, it seems that Con is the first to break ranks.
Hawk is a very English ex-copper. He's full of wit and his unpredictable temper bubbles away beneath the surface. As his children have told him, carefully, he really is too old get into fights and win them. He refuses to believe it...
Small beginnings leading to grand finales, arrived at with plenty of humour, a chaotic family and a short fuse - that’s always been Hawk’s style. It’s no different in Jericho Road ...
It starts with a stolen pocket watch that allegedly belonged to Heinrich Himmler. Hawk agrees to try and find it, but within days of poking his nose in the girl who stole it is murdered. The watch’s current owner, a bad-tempered old man whose dangerous behaviour and verbal violence, make him a prime suspect, is charged with the crime...
Police are delighted to have such a straightforward result, but it seems far too easy to Hawk, too pat. He digs further, driven by a feeling that if he’d kept out of it the girl would still be alive.
And as he digs he uncovers a far nastier crime than mere murder...