Recuperating in Cornwall after being injured in a terrorist attack, anti-terrorism officer DCI Ross O’Bryan discovers a dark secret.  An unthinkable crime that somebody has attempted to cover up.  Tasked with investigating, he soon finds himself immersed in a world of deception, police corruption and organised crime.

O’Bryan has his own dark secrets too. In a place where he has no alliances and is viewed with suspicion, it is only a matter of time before he is found out.

For so many years the dramatic and rugged coastline of Cornwall had been the scene to smuggling, deception and murder.  Now, O’Bryan will find out how little has changed.

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He glanced at his watch. The sun was below the furthest-most headland towards Restronguet. The timing would be right. He turned and ran back to the house. There was the occasional dog walker, who said, “Good evening…” or nodded a greeting. He could not get used to it. People actually spoke to strangers down here. In London they’d call the police, because you would clearly have escaped from some sort of institution if you behaved in such a way.

The boat’s rough-sounding engine belied its speed and O’Bryan had to run a good pace to catch up with it as he rounded the point and drew close to Barlooe Creek. The Hemingway House looked as splendid as ever, but the light was low here and he knew that there may not be enough light to watch what happened next.

Breathless and tentative, he ran through the doors and into the lounge. Anderson had appreciated ornithology and kept a pair of Zeiss binoculars on the bookshelf next to the glass doors. O’Bryan picked them up. They were a good magnification and a series of symbols on the side of the frame indicated they were suitable for low light conditions, as well as their degree of magnification and width of angle. There were no lights on in the house and he stood a few feet back to remain invisible. He raised the glasses and watched the boat. It skirted the fallen tree, throttled backwards, and suddenly O’Bryan could see how significant the tree was. It all but hid the boat from view. There were enough branches to disrupt the silhouette of the vessel, combined with the trees on the shoreline and the ambiance of dusk, the boat had disappeared. O’Bryan knew this was what Anderson had meant for him to see. The time, the date, the location. But why? Why would a commander in Special Branch have an interest in this? These men could be fishing, or poaching from the nearby estate. There were deer all over that headland. O’Bryan had heard gunshots the night before. But this was the country, not London and nobody seemed to bat an eyelid. He had mentioned it at The Smuggler’s Rest, and one of the men at the bar had offered him some rabbits the next time he went out.

The men on the boat could be bringing in cigarettes and alcohol to escape duty. A questionable activity, and one that no police officer would ignore, but merely a tip off to the local constabulary would be action enough. Why had Anderson seen fit to offer his house to a recuperating officer? What wasn’t O’Bryan seeing? He kept his eyes on the area where the boat had moored. He could no longer see the tree, and only guessed at where the boat was, but he could see a figure on the jetty. One of the men for sure. Then, two more figures. No, three. Varying sizes, perhaps indicating either different sexes or ages. O’Bryan closed his eyes for a moment. There were the reports, the newspaper articles. He opened his eyes and pressed them closer to the binoculars in vain. He strained his eyes, moved the focus. He took them away and checked the magnification. There was a dial. He was on seven and it went to ten. Perfect. There was a switch on the top of the frame simply marked ‘on’ and ‘off’. It had to be better if you turned it on. He raised them and looked again. For a fleeting moment he saw a figure looking back at him, a set of binoculars raised. The light in the room illuminated him, cast his silhouette in the open doorway. He visibly jumped.

“What on earth are you doing?” Sarah asked. She walked in, carrying two brown paper bags and an aroma of Chinese food wafting in with her.

“Switch off the light!” he yelled. She looked at him incredulously. She was not accustomed to being shouted at. Either that, or she had been once and had now drawn a line in the sand. He suspected the latter. “The light, the bloody light!” he yelled again. He turned back as she tutted loudly and switched it off. He raised the binoculars. The man on the distant jetty had gone. O’Bryan felt the tiny hairs rise on the nape of his neck. He had a sinking feeling that he had witnessed something that someone would go to great lengths to make sure he hadn’t.

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Author Bio

author_photoA P Bateman is an Amazon #1 Best Selling author.  Three of his novels have reached the #1 slots in Amazon’s paid top 100 categories.

He has previously worked as a private investigator and trained and worked in close protection with ex-military, police and special forces.  Having trained on US SWAT ranges in the past with serving police officers gives him a unique insight into weapons and tactics which adds realism to his writing.

Author web site

Praise for AP Bateman’s earlier work

Rob Stone Series

It is fantastic to be able to purchase the three books in the Rob Stone series and read in order. Each book stands alone, or as a series, and all are fast moving and hard to put down. Good plots with a lot of twists and turns that are unexpected. The characters are brought to life so vividly and descriptions of weapons are really excellent. Field craft and scenery descriptions so realistic that one can imagine being there and taking part. All together a good five star must buy. I have so far bought all A.P.Batemans books and am awaiting the next one for more exciting reading. He compares to top authors like Cussler, Child, Baldacci, McNab and many more top writers.” – Elizabeth D

A lot of the Amazon reviews for this compare Stone to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and the thought did occur to me as well during my reading so there must be some nugget of truth there. I was also reminded of David Morrell’s John Rambo – Stone is a don’t push me, I’ll push you back twice as hard type of guy and at the moment of reading this was the perfect book for me.” – col2910

This book is part thriller, part mystery, full of action and suspense. Guaranteed to keep you wanting more every time you have to put it down.” – Kindle Customer

The plot and storyline were great. I like the detail and the story moves right along.”AquaEyes

Alex King Series

The Contract Man is a good thriller type book with lots of action from the start to finish. You can feel that author knows the subject and is familiar with the theme. Very detailed and well written action novel. Have to admit, book was keeping me glued to it, because it feels so real and true story. Well done!”EvoD

Alex King was an outstanding agent, but AP Bateman’s amazing creative genius made it so. The book deserves all the love it can get!”Samuel Johnson

Very fast, action full and twisted thriller.” – Andris

I grabbed this one because I do love me a good thriller and this was very much a good thriller… Highly recommended.” – Joey

The story is intricate and has many twists and is spun around half a dozen different groups, with a lot going on, but it flows effortlessly from one part to another.” – Elizabeth D

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  • David Oaten

    I am so pleased Anthony contacted me with the offer of an advance copy of Hell's Mouth. I enjoy his books and have reviewed several already. Although I prefer a pdf copy I can handle mobi as well. We have very recently featured his bio on the website. Thanks and regards David Oaten