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Forget the Page 69 Test here's the Page 18 Test for Lethal Waves

Reading Lethal Waves, Inspector Andy Horton crime novelThere’s a peculiar sort of test that claims that if you turn to page 69 of any novel and like what is written on that page then the chances are you will like the rest of the novel. This form of literary torture was told to be by a prospective buyer of one of my crime novels so, like all good authors, I went away and looked it up on the font of all information (and disinformation) the Internet. I discovered that it was first created by writer Marshall McLuhan and championed by John Sutherland in How to Read a Novel: A User’s Guide. Yes, such a book does exist.

Lethal Waves, Inspector Andy Horton, by Pauline RowsonI have applied this test to a few of my crime novels here on my blog, namely SHROUD OF EVIL, A KILLING COAST and DEAD MAN'S WHARF. But this time I thought what the heck let’s break the rules and go for another page or in fact two pages so this is Not The Page 69 Test but The Page 18 Test on LETHAL WAVES, number thirteen in the Inspector Andy Horton crime series. Maybe if you like what you read you’ll buy the novel now out in paperback (UK1 Feb 2018) (USA 1 May 2018) and also now available as an e book on Amazon Kindle and on Kobo (worldwide). Published by Severn House.

Lethal Waves, an Inspector Andy Horton crime novel - Page 18/19

His phone rang. With surprise Horton saw it was the station. He wasn’t duty CID. In fact, he wasn’t even due back at work until the morning. He considered ignoring it but he didn’t have anything else to do except drink coffee and get maudlin.
‘Thought you might like this, Andy, it’s right up your street,’ Sergeant Warren said cheerfully.
‘You mean Guernsey.’
‘Heard you were flying back today.’
‘News travels fast.’
‘We’ve got a body, male, Caucasian, and as you’re on the spot, so to speak, I thought you’d like to take a look.’
Guilbert had said almost the same yesterday evening.
Warren added, ‘If it’s a suspicious death then you can get the Big Man out of his nice warm house instead of me.’
Warren meant Detective Superintendent Uckfield, head of the Major Crime Team. Horton was already heading below to fetch his jacket and keys. ‘Where?’
‘By one of the houseboats at the end of Ferry Road.’
‘Tell the officers I’m on my way.
‘Already have.’
Horton gave a grim smile and rang off. He grabbed his powerful torch, shrugged into his waterproof sailing jacket, and locked up. There was no need to take the Harley – the handful of houseboats were barely half a mile at the end of the road which culminated in Langstone Harbour. They had been there for as long as he could remember.
He turned left out of the marina and broke into a run. The wind was singing through the masts of the boats on both sides of the spit that extended into Langstone Harbour. There were no houses here, just the marine institute building belonging to the University of Portsmouth on his left and the sailing and diving club on his right facing out on to the Solent. To its left was a narrow strip of beach, then the lifeboat station and opposite that the houseboats and the turning circle for the bus which had stopped running this late. Parked in its space was the police car and, inside it, sheltering from the wind and slanting rain, was PC Johnson. In the back PC Seaton sat with a man Horton didn’t recognize, so he had to be the person who had reported the gruesome find. Seaton climbed out. The wind whipped around them and the stinging rain drove into Horton’s face.
‘The body is partly wedged under the houseboat,’ Seaton said solemnly, leading Horton towards a black-and-white painted wooden structure. It was propped up on stout wooden stilts resting on square concrete blocks which in turn were bedded in the shingle. ‘By his appearance, I’d say he was a vagrant.’
Horton played his torch over the body, swiftly registering the sturdy walking boots, the old and worn trousers that were soaked through, threadbare, patched and dirty, the camel-coloured overcoat tied around the waist with a thin leather belt and the bloody mess around the chest. If he wasn’t mistaken it looked very much like a gunshot wound. There was no question of this death being suicide or natural causes like Evelyn Lyster’s. This clearly was homicide. A brief sweep of the ground around the body with his torch revealed no weapon.
His beam travelled up to the face. It was deeply etched with lines but clean-shaven. The hair was light brown with grey flecks and reached the collar. The eyes were open and looked slightly startled but perhaps that was his imagination.
He turned away and, reaching for his phone, called SOCO. Then he rang through to Warren and requested more officers to seal off the area. Not that they needed to worry about nosy parkers at this time of night and in this weather, but the scene would need to be preserved as best it could. The rain would have destroyed a great deal of evidence if the victim had been killed here but he could have been dumped by car or by boat.
Finally Horton punched in a number on his mobile phone and called Uckfield. It was going to be a long night and he wasn’t the only one who was going to get wet, cold and very little sleep.

Lethal Waves, an Andy Horton Marine Mystery by Pauline Rowson

"Nothing in this police procedural is as it first appears. The Harley Davidson–riding, boat-dwelling Horton is a fascinating man to get to know, and his thoughtful approach to detection is a pleasure to read." Publishers Weekly

"This heart-breaking story of ambition, greed, jealousy, and revenge makes a good choice for fans of no-nonsense British procedurals." Booklist

Available in paperback, hardcover and as an e book and on Amazon Kindle and Kobo. Also available for loan from UK, USA and Commonwealth Libraries.

Set against the visually strong, unique and atmospheric backdrop of the sea in the vibrant and diverse area of the Solent, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight on the South Coast of England.

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FEBRUARY 18TH, 2018 @ 15:03:13 UTC

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