When Flies Strike – Philip J. Gould

They invade.  They feed.  They kill.  They breed…

When Flies Strike is a bone-chilling horror story that fans of dark
psychological suspense and adrenaline-rushing mysteries will love.

AVAILABLE IN EBOOK AND HARDBACK.  DUE FOR RELEASE IN PAPERBACK ON NOVEMBER 27

Residents of Fulbarton adore its idyllic setting and small-town charm.  Nothing ever happens to disturb their equilibrium.  That is, until an inexplicable death cloaked in a shroud of dead flies shakes them to their core.

Detective Inspector Baylem and Detective Sergeant McCardle are assigned to investigate an unexplained death.  The circumstances are unusual, but not alarming enough to cause concern… until the body count begins to rise and alarming similarities about the crime scenes lead them to believe they’re up against someone, or something far more dangerous than a serial killer.

As word of the troubling findings begins to circulate, panic sets in.  With the media and residents clamouring for answers, the detectives struggle to alleviate their fears and make sense of the dark force that is bent on destroying anyone or anything that gets in its way.

Do the seasoned detectives have what it takes to fend off another attack, or has the fate of the remaining townspeople – and the rest of the world – already been sealed?

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About the Author

Philip John Gould, was born during the hot summer of August 1974 in Suffolk, England.  From an early age he escaped reality by spending many hours daydreaming and aspiring to be an author.  It’s owing to positive feedback on the back of a short story when, aged 13, Phil’s English teach wrote an encouraging phrase at the end of his assignment, that inspired him to persevere with his ambitions deep into adulthood.

In 1990, Phil left school and took a job in shipping where he worked as an export clerk.  He changed careers in 1993, joining a large insurance company where he undertook a number of positions, including training guide writer and culminating in a junior manager role which he maintained until he was made redundant in 2003.  A day after the announcement of losing his job, he had blood tests in relation to a growth in the side of his neck.  A month later he was diagnosed with having Hodgkins Lymphoma.

In 2002, work on The Book of Alternative Records had begun, written with the assistance of Ralf Laue who owned the second largest database of achievement records in the world, behind the Guinness behemoth.  Together, the book was compiled and completed in 2003 and published in 2004 by John Blake Publishing.  In 2005 a German translation of the book was produced.  Phil’s ambition to be published was fulfilled, but his health and personal circumstances thwarted any hopes to pursue an immediate career in writing.

In fact, it wasn’t until 2011 that Phil got the itch to write again after recovering from another battle with cancer (this time testicular cancer).  Having been working back in insurance for a while, he decided that he would leave his paid day job early the following year to fulfil two things.  One, to spend more time with his family (his wife had given birth to a son in October 2011 and Phil wanted to be more hands-on with his newborn’s upbringing, an opportunity he’d missed with his two daughters), and two, to start working on a new writing project.  Actually, an idea for a series of novels had been at the back of his mind for some time, but it wasn’t until September 2012 (after an extended holiday), that Phil finally sat down and started working on what would be The Girl in the Mirror.

In 2015, The Girl in the Mirror was published, followed by books two and three in the series, The Sons of Gyges and The Whisper of Persia in March and November of 2016.  Published this year, When Flies Strike is Phil’s latest novel.
Still spending too many hours daydreaming, Phil continues to live in Suffolk with his wife, Beth, and three children, Rebecca, Sophie and Matthew.

Excerpt

Slipping into the forensic outfits, the police officers shuffled along the short distance towards their destination and stepped on to the garden path leading to number fourteen Surbiton Close.  At the door a plainclothes officer was waiting to greet them.

“Morning, sir.”

Baylem twisted his wrist and checked his stainless steel chronograph watch.  The time was just after midday.  “Afternoon,” he corrected mustily.  “Tell me, what do we know?”

“A male body discovered this morning by the homeowner’s mother; she identified him as her son, Sean Wallace.  He was twenty-three; a labourer for a local building contractor.  There are no signs of forced entry into the property, and no obvious cause of death, though Doctor Hamilton is with him now doing a preliminary.”

“Thanks, Prior.”

Detective Constable Tom Prior stepped to the left to allow the two senior officers admittance.  “The victim is in the master room up the stairs, first on the left.  Mrs Wallace is in through the kitchen.”

McCardle smiled appreciatively.  “Do we know that he is definitely a victim, Constable?  Isn’t it a bit early to say?  He may have died of natural causes.”  Not waiting for a reply, she stepped into a hallway that ran eight feet in length and less than a metre wide.

Immediately to her right was a staircase and a little along, to her left, was a door that led into a living room.  “Are they signs of a struggle?”  She asked aloud, indicating the smashed remains of a telephone sprawled around the hallway.  Joining it, less spectacularly, was a broken photo frame, tossed to the floor.  Some shards of glass remained in front of a picture of an attractive woman wearing a bikini standing next to a bare-chested man.  A smear of blood had recently been added.

“Could be,” replied Baylem thoughtfully.  “You speak with the mother; I’ll take a look upstairs.” Baylem backtracked to the staircase, the narrow hallway made it awkward to pass the sergeant without body-checking.  She stepped out of the way over the threshold of the living room.

“Right you are.”

* * *

The pathologist was stooped over the body when Baylem entered the room.  A trigger-happy crime scene photographer was present taking myriads of pictures, splashing flashes of light from his Nikon D810 DSLR camera around the room.  He was taking particular attention to the body and the room’s layout, that when uploaded int a special programme, could reproduce a 3D visual record of the crime scene.

“Afternoon, Inspector,” welcomed the doctor, standing up.  He was similarly attired to the newcomer.  Both wore standard issue disposable blue forensic coveralls and overshoes.  Although the outfits had elasticated hoods, either man wore them.

“Floyd,” replied Baylem informally.  Both men were frequent acquaintances in their line of work, but were also known to socialise from time to time over a pint.  They were clearly easy within each other’s company.  “What can you tell me?”

“Oh, I dunno.  With confidence?  The victim is male, aged approximately twenty-to-twenty-five; some superficial antemortem injuries to the knuckles of his right hand.  Possibly from a fight…”

“Or, maybe from striking a picture frame downstairs?” Baylem ventured.

“Quite possibly.  That could also account for the minute glass fragments found,” Hamilton weighed aloud.

“Cause of death?” asked Baylem, not pressing the matter of the glass.

The doctor shrugged. “Nothing obvious, I’m afraid.  Apart from the lacerations and bruising to his hand, there are no visible signs of trauma, and nothing to suggest there had been a struggle; could be asphyxiation.  Then again, may just be a myocardial event.  I can’t speculate at the moment; you’re going to have to wait for my report.”

“Suspicious?” pressed Baylem.

“Unexplained,” replied the doctor.

“Okay, what about the time of death?”

“I can’t tell you anything conclusive, I’m afraid.  I measure the body temp at roughly 21.5°C, which is the current room temperature… this tells me that he’s been dead for more than twelve hours.  There are no perceptible signs of rigor, which normally presents itself six hours after death, usually wearing off completely between thirty and forty-two hours later.

“Mrs Wallace indicated to the officer first on the scene that she spoke with her son two days ago on Monday, specifically in the evening… so that narrows it down a little.  At a guess, I estimate time of death sometime between the late hours of Monday night – and the early hours of Tuesday morning; between eleven p.m. and five a.m. – give or take a couple of hours.  Of course, I may be able to give you something more accurate once I’ve carried out the post-mortem.”

“That’s great, thanks.”

“I’m not sure this is anything, but I’ve noticed something very peculiar.  I don’t think it’s contributory to the cause of death, though.”

“Oh?” Brayden raised any eyebrow quizzically.

“Yes, quite strange.  All around the body, look – “ Hamilton stooped down and pointed to a spot on the bed. “ – dead flies; literally hundreds of them!  They’re scattered all over the covers and on the floor; I even found some in his mouth and nostrils.  Most peculiar…”

“Is that significant?”

“It could be.  I don’t know.  I’ll have them bagged up and sent over to entomology to take a look.”

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