An Initial Countdown
A Haszard Narrative, Book 9
Kevin E. Hatt
Date Published: January 2018
About the Book:
After witnessing what transpired to be the murder of a seemingly innocent man, Haszard be-comes yet more intrigued when he hears of a vicar spontaneously combusting in his own church, locked from within. To add fuel to his intrigue, both men were from the same remote country village.
As Haszard begins looking into the matter, he is bombarded with peculiar tales of people connected to the church, and of strange goings-on. Piecing the facts together, Haszard be-comes convinced that he knows what’s been going on, but there is only one choice of action, which is fraught with danger…
Praise for Author Kevin E. Hatt and his Haszard Narratives:
“The recurring detective and his delightful band of cronies lead a sharp, absorbing mystery.” - Kirkus Reviews
“. . . a fun and exciting mystery with just the right amount of dry British humor and ludicrous sensationalism.” - New Apple Literary
“This is truly a spellbinding, entertaining mystery that will have you reading non-stop until you have reached the end!” - Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite
“Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in a Haszard Narrative.” - Cheryl E. Rodriguez, Readers’ Favorite
“Suspense and twists will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, unable to tear their eyes from the page.” - K.J. Simmill, Readers’ Favorite
Other Books in A Haszard Narrative Series:
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
Unfortunate in life and unlucky in love, the mysterious Haszard is intrigued by the death of an acquaintance at the local hospital, in which he works. Suspicious about the circumstances, he begins to look into the matter, meeting the woman of his dreams along the way.
After joining forces a local businessman, he speaks to a number of people, discovering irregularities in the life of the murdered woman. As he makes progress, he realises that the key to the matter lies in the dark and murky world of drug dealers, and has to face the possibility that the killer may well be someone he knows . . .
MAPS, LEGENDS AND MISDEMEANOURS
When asked to frame an old map, Haszard discovers that it’s linked to lost valuables from the past. Intrigued, he begins looking into the legend, discovering there to be cryptic clues on the map that must be deciphered. Unfortunately, though, Haszard isn’t the only person interested in the whereabouts of the missing items, and the other contingent resorts to violent tactics, which leads to a chilling climax . . .
PHOENIX FROM THE FLAME
When told by a former colleague that she saw her dead husband walking around a quaint market town, Haszard’s curiosity is engaged. As he begins to look into the matter, he unearths a number of facts that lead him to believe that there’s more to the sighting than merely a dead man walking. Also, there are people who are prepared to kill for something that’s worth a lot of money . . .
THE HEIRLOOM REPOSITORY
Haszard is asked to look for a family’s missing inheritance. Guided by words provided by a medium, he goes about the case with his typical fervour. Side-tracked by other matters, and spooked by a mysterious man in the woods, Haszard soon comes to realise that he isn’t alone in his quest, and persons unknown are not afraid to kill . . .
RACE FOR THE PRIZE
When on holiday with his friends, Haszard sees a girl who went missing a number of weeks previous. Fuelled with his usual determination, he sets about looking into the matter, although all is not as it appears, and it isn’t long before matters become eventful.
Having befriended a local artist, Haszard moves closer to an answer, yet the odds are stacked heavily against him. In order to win through, he must endure his most arduous and perilous challenge yet . . .
NO REASON FOR INSANITY
Intrigued by the bizarre events surrounding the murder of a friend, Haszard is asked by the family to look into the matter. Against the advice of his friends, he begins making enquiries, and is disturbed when he realizes that it may well be someone he knows. As progress is made, further events occur, endangering the life of Haszard and his friends, and he is forced to delve into the deepest recesses of his resourcefulness . . .
When asked to look into the death of a man in a town known for pagan connections, Haszard quickly makes progress, and it isn’t long before matters become dangerous. With little to work with, Haszard makes progress, yet the task is a daunting one, and not everyone he encounters is friendly.
Collating interesting and significant information from various sources along the way, Haszard has to link factors linked with the past, and as he does so, he realizes that in order to save someone from certain death, he is in a race against time.
The Ambiguity of Guilt
Items discovered in the attic of a new house belonging to a friend of Haszard are intriguing to him, and he sets about looking into the family who lived there previously. His efforts, however, are thwarted by the fact that nobody knew them very well, and he soon discovers that they are nowhere to be found. As he progresses, more discoveries point to the possibility that the family members were master criminals who were diverse in their activities, yet Haszard sees things differently. After speaking to a number of people and encountering persons unknown, who are not afraid to use firearms, he feels convinced that he knows where they are, but is uncertain of the reception he will receive . . .
Read an Excerpt from A Haszard Narrative:
‘Somewhere just outside Upper Bramsdean, on the Dewton Road.’ I tried opening my door, only it wouldn’t budge. I looked out of the window to see a tree beside me. ‘We’ll have to get out your side. Make sure that you leave the headlights on.’
‘I’ll make the call first.’ I sat motionless while Sabrina called the emergency services, who as ever wanted her life story before actually sending anyone to help. She placed her phone back in her pocket. ‘Let’s get out.’
Gingerly, she opened the door, but due to the angle that we were at, it wouldn’t remain open. In an effort to counteract the problem, she shuffled her legs onto the seat, pushing the door forwards whilst resting her foot on the side of my seat. Struggling against the door she crawled forwards, flopping out onto the muddy ground, cursing as she did so. Finally, she worked herself free, standing and holding the door open for me.
Repeating the process that Sabrina had performed, I felt shaky, Sabrina taking my hand and helping me out. ‘Your head’s bleeding,’ she said.
‘I’ll be fine,’ I grumbled, turning away from her. I began making my way up the bank, my feet slipping on the mud that was making it nigh impossible to make progress. Conscious of the fact that Sabrina was in flat-soled shoes, I clung onto a tree in order to help her up, grabbing her hand. The rain, meanwhile, came down in torrents, the sound of the raindrops creating a sinister symphony which reverberated malevolently around us.
Little by little, we made our way up the bank, struggling like we’d never struggled before, slipping on the odd occasion, our clothes completely drenched and covered in mud by the time we reached the top of the bank, utterly breathless.
We stood in the pouring rain, uncertain of what to do. I looked to the direction the other cars had emerged from, noticing a glow from the other side of the road, fifty or so yards from us. Still confused, I glanced down the bank at Sabrina’s stricken cabriolet. A glow… a glow. I looked back across the road.
In the other direction, a couple of hundred yards away, I noticed a set of rear lights. The car was stationary. What was he doing? Had he realised what he’d done and was undecided as to what to do? I moved out further into the road, the car moving away as I approached. I shouted for him to come back, but he just kept going. Typical, I thought, just bloody typical! Cause an accident and run away. It didn’t surprise me because it’s the way the world is. I turned my attention back to the glow I’d seen.
‘Sab, what’s that glow coming from?’
‘I don’t know.’ Looking at Sabrina in the eerie light, I noticed that she was shaking.
I placed a reassuring arm around Sabrina, hugging her. ‘We’d better go and see.’
We walked towards the source of the glow, the rain somehow becoming heavier. Crossing to the other side of the road, I looked up at the sky, cursing the wretched weather. Nearing the source, I could see that the glow was a light—a car headlight. It just didn’t make sense… I thought back. One set of lights moved across. They must have been forced off the road like us. I began running, glancing back at Sabrina, who was struggling.
As I reached the vehicle I could see that it was small—old and small. That model must be over twenty years old, I thought. Being as old as that it wouldn’t have all the safety features that Sabrina’s car had. The front of the car was completely crumpled, having hit a large tree head on. It didn’t look good.
There was no bank sloping down on that side of the road, which made reaching it considerably easier. Looking through the window I could see someone slumped forwards. I tried opening the door, but it was locked. I ran around to the other side, only to discover that it too was locked, which left me no choice. I would have to smash a window. I looked around for some kind of rock or stone, moving in front of the headlight as I trawled through the grass and broken twigs that littered the ground, finally finding a fist-sized stone.
Sabrina approached me. ‘Haszard, what are you doing?’ That’s my name, by the way. Odd, but not something that you’d forget overnight.
‘Breaking the window. The doors are locked and whoever it is doesn’t look good.’ I moved to the passenger side, drawing my arm back and slinging it forward, releasing the projectile. The window shattered. I put my arm through, searching frantically for the door-lock, which I finally found next to the handle. Why can’t manufacturers decide where the lock should be and put it in the same place on all models? After flicking it I tried the handle, the door opening only a matter of inches. I cursed. The impact had bent the structure of the car. I pulled at it violently, the metal screeching its protest as the door opened another few inches. I pulled again, and again, the door opening a little further each time. After one more gargantuan pull, it opened fully, allowing me access. Without delay I slid alongside the unconscious man… but was he unconscious or dead?
‘Are you all right?’ I said, remembering my life-support training. There was no movement. I didn’t wish to shake him or attempt any painful stimuli to his shoulder in case he had a neck injury, so I tried to ascertain whether he was breathing. I cupped my hand around his nose and mouth, holding it there for several seconds. I could feel breath. Good—that was good.
‘How is he?’ Sabrina said, peering in.
‘Not good, but breathing,’ I said, searching for the interior light, activating it. ‘Oh shit!’
‘What is it?’
I moved out of the way, showing Sabrina the state of the driver’s leg. The light wasn’t great, but it was just enough for Sabrina to see the damage. The car had hit the tree with such an impact that the engine must have forced the bulkhead back, crushing the man’s legs, bone protruding through the skin on his left lower leg. ‘He’s got an open fracture. He’s going to need a drip fast, and a fire crew to cut him out of here.’
‘I’ll call the emergency services and tell them to send some cutting equipment, and hurry the ambulance up,’ Sabrina said, shuffling alongside me.
Whilst Sabrina made her call, I removed my jacket, placing it over the unconscious man, wondering if there was anything else I could do. I was actually a registered operating theatre practitioner, and Sabrina was a Sister in the orthopaedic clinic of our local hospital; however, without any equipment, we were next to useless!
‘They’re sending a fire crew, and the ambulance should only be a few minutes,’ Sabrina informed me. ‘Oh my God… your head!’
‘What about it?’
‘So you said, Miss Jensen. It’s only a bloody scratch!’
Sabrina moved my head into the light, examining it circumspectly. ‘It’s more than a scratch! You’re going to need to have it seen to! You’re absolutely covered in blood.’
I turned away from her, checking the man’s breathing again. It was still the same, which was a good sign. I felt frustrated at not being able to do anything for him, just sitting there as he potentially ebbed away. He was obviously losing blood, only there was nothing that I could do. Nothing!
Sabrina and I said nothing whilst awaiting the arrival of the ambulance. Ordinarily, we never stopped talking, but we were both in a state of shock from our accident and concerned for the wellbeing of the other victim that the lunatic had driven off the road.
The moment we saw lights approaching we leaped out of the car, only to discover that it was merely a fellow motorist. Watching them pass, I noticed that the rain had eased off somewhat, not that it was of much use now.
About the Author:
Kevin E. Hatt is a registered anaesthetic and recovery practitioner. He commenced his training in 1984, and rose to the dizzy heights of deputy head. In 2000 he left the medical profession to follow his artistic ideals, but made a complete hash of it and returned to the medical world in 2010.In 2014 he released his first Haszard novel, A Light in the Darkness, which received critical acclaim, and then seven more stand-alone books in the series.He likes cricket, running, fine ales and curry. He has never been to Scunthorpe. Or Ipswich.
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Purchase Link for the Books in the Series: