My Books: Pool of Life

 

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This is my fourth novel, due to be published in April 2020 by AIA Publishing. As the title implies ‘water’ is a major theme. It makes up most of our bodies and much of the natural world. You can steal it, use it to create energy, use it as a medium to poison a city, and, of course, you can drown in it. You can also use it as a metaphor as in Jung’s famous quote ‘Liverpool is the pool of life’. Which is where I got the idea for the title.

 

REVIEWS

‘Ex-cop Jack Gordon is struggling to keep his PI business in Liverpool afloat, with his staff playing hooky and a surveillance suspect deciding to head-butt him when his stake-out is blown. Pool of Life by Pete Trewin is tightly wound, moving in a staccato beat through the seamy underside and scaly upper crust of Liverpool with the stakes rising higher with each explosive encounter. Trewin does a masterful job of teasing the reader with clues as Jack finds that not only are his two new cases related but also a decades-old suspicious disappearance of a young woman is rearing its ugly head. The pressing question, though, is whether or not Jack can survive long enough to solve the puzzles. This is a book you can’t put down. Just when you think you might want to take a break from reading, Trewin drops another morsel on your plate, and you just have to keep reading. A definite five-star read.’ Charles Ray, Awesome Indies Book Awards assessor.

‘Liverpool P.I. Jack ‘Flash’ Gordon’s business is in trouble. The drop in income and threat to his career is somewhat mitigated by a strange case in which Sarah Gladwyn, threatened by a stalker, wants Gordon to become involved not only in protecting her and mitigating the threat, but in addressing the stalker’s obsession with her family’s history and politics. This is far more than a case of individual obsession. Events evolve in complexity and danger to where Gordon is attempting to mitigate not an individual conundrum, but a terrorist threat to Liverpool’s water supply. The emotional overlay Gordon brings to his investigations and life encounters is one of the factors that sets Pool of Life apart from other P.I. stories of investigative challenges.  With not only this case but his career and reputation on the line, Jack must employ all of his investigative savvy to rescue not just one woman and her family, but an entire city. From a soldier recovering from PTSD to wild parties, jealousies, stormy relationships, family connections, and disappearances that lead to murder, Jack has his hands full juggling more than one dilemma. These draw readers into a case replete with quirky, strong personalities and changing relationships that keep readers on their toes. The dialogue and encounters excel in interactions designed to keep readers both guessing and immersed in the lingo, atmosphere, politics, and influences of Liverpool’s residents in general and Jack’s life in particular. The result is a rollicking good thriller that juxtaposes intrigue and murder with a detective’s own personal evolution in a story that will keep readers engaged right up to its unexpected conclusion.’ Diane Donovan Mid West Book Review‘

Pool of Life, author Pete Trewin’s latest novel, is a noir detective story in the classic mold. Trewin evokes the time-proven trappings of a Raymond Chandler book, with Jack Gordon, the somewhat seedy private eye. taking on a wealthy client who begs for help without bringing the attention of law enforcement or her husband. His story also recalls the 1974 detective film Chinatown, especially with Gordon getting punched in the face and sporting a bandage and plaster over his nose, a la Jack Nicholson’s character, J.J. Gittes, and with both plots involving water issues. Pool of Life is worth the read, with an interesting twist at the end.’ Blue Ink Reviews

 

BACK COVER BLURB

Jack ‘Flash’ Gordon’s private investigation business in Liverpool is in trouble, what with staffing issues and changing technology. So when the ex-copper is commissioned by Sarah Gladwyn from an old Welsh family to investigate a series of threats and attacks from an anonymous assailant it seems like a lifeline. The stalker is obsessed with the family’s role in oppressing the local slate workers in Victorian times and stealing Welsh water for use in England. Sarah’s husband, Oliver Gladwyn, ex hippy traveller and now a green entrepreneur, plans to build a barrage across the Mersey and provide clean energy for Merseyside. You would have thought that the stalker would approve, but no.
It’s a great opportunity for Jack so what could possibly go wrong? How about murders, discovery of skeletons in cupboards, conspiracies, bent coppers, corrupt politicians and violent gangsters. And a terrorist threat to Liverpool’s water supply. Flash Gordon? He’ll need to be Jumping Jack Flash to get through this one.

 

FIRST CHAPTER

CHAPTER ONE

Blast from the Past Hour on Radio City. So what do they start with? Ferry Cross the Mersey. Gerry and The Pacemakers. As far as Jack Gordon was concerned, a lot of those bands from the sixties—Freddie and the Dreamers and Herman’s Hermits and the rest of them—should have been consigned to the dustbin of history where they belonged, not constantly resurrected. To the poets and philosophers, Liverpool was the pool of life. To Jack Gordon at this moment, it was a pool of shite.
     He turned off the radio, put his road CD on for a bit, yawned and leaned back in the car seat. Everything But The Girl; I need you, like the desert needs the rain. Tracy Thorn’s sultry voice. Now that was good music. From the 80s when he was a teenager.
     Forty-eighth day without rain. The streets had been eerily quiet, people hiding from the sun. His underpants were sticky and twisted around his tackle. He squirmed until he freed himself, cursing at his stupidity. He’d bought the wrong ones in M&S—slips, thongs really—rather than the substantial boxers or trunks he preferred. Someone must have put them on the wrong rack. 
     Needing air, he turned off the CD and edged the car window down. Festival Park by the river. On surveillance. Prime dogging spot. A wood pigeon cooed at its partner in a nearby tree. Barry White and his sexy little lady friend, know what I’m saying? Pool of shite? No, that was unfair to Liverpool. It was the insomnia talking. Now that the dream had returned, he couldn’t sleep and was grumpy all the time as a result. It must have been triggered by reading about that incident in the Echo.
     The red and white tapes had still been there when he’d driven past. He’d stopped for a moment to take in the view of the river; yellow brown water heaved and surged where the strong, freshwater flow met an irresistible incoming tide in a display of incredible power, as if it were the Amazon or the Congo in flood. If you went in, you’d had it. Powerful enough to take the life of another innocent, this time a thirty-year-old woman who’d been jilted in love. It had been on the radio news that morning.
     He hated how he always wore his heart on his sleeve like this. In his line of work, you were supposed to be the tough guy. It wasn’t as if this kind of stuff didn’t happen all the time in a city with a waterfront like Liverpool. The going gets tough? No, you don’t get going, you jump in the water. Like that other girl all those years ago.
     Splattered insects, bird droppings and a fine red dust—probably from the fires on the moors or carried over from the Sahara—covered the windscreen. Someone had written SS Snoopers in the dust on the car’s rear window, but that was unfair. Jack’s firm didn’t get involved in that line of work. It was no use trying to take photos through the dirty car windows, so he lowered the one on the driver’s side and poked the telephoto lens of the camera out. It was no use. He couldn’t get the right angle. The big silver Merc at the other end of the car park bounced up and down on its springs, the occupants having a great time, but he couldn’t get any shots of what was going on from where he was. He’d have to leave his car and creep up on them. Safe n’ Secure usually used a special van for surveillance, where you could sit in air-conditioned comfort in the back and watch through one-way windows, but it was in the garage for repairs.
     Take the car to the garage? Chance would be a fine thing. The air con on this car wasn’t working properly, and he didn’t have the time to get it fixed. So he’d had to drive with the windows open and suffer the foul air rammed with impurities, pollen and traffic fumes.
     Lucy had informed him as he arrived at the office that morning that his two key operatives hadn’t turned in. So he had to take up the urgent work himself. The CEO. So-called gaffer, big boss man.
     So here he was, sitting in a car park in his best duds—cream cotton suit, white shirt and pointy-toed brown brogues—trying to get pictures of a cheating husband. Like in a film from the fifties. Pool of shite.
     He put the camera on the floor and leaned back in the seat. Problems, problems and more fucking problems. He needed this malarkey like he needed a neat three-inch hole in the head. Two key operatives off on the sick. On the skive more likely. Or shagging each other. He laughed out loud. That would be something. Investigate that one. Watching the watchers. And what if he could prove they were swinging the lead? He could hardly sack them. He needed them. You couldn’t just put an advert in the local paper for experienced surveillance operatives,could you? All sorts of dickheads, smackheads, and knobheads would apply. He needed to beef up the HR. And sort out the bad debts. Cope with all the changes in technology. Get new clients.
     He moved across into the passenger seat, opened the door and slid out, the camera with its telephoto lens in one hand, then crept around the car and walked quickly into the trees. He worked his way round to the Merc, dodging from tree to tree. Carry on spying. There had to be a better way than this. Eventually he drew close to the car. Everything was still. Must’ve stopped for a breather. They were in the back seat. Inflagrante delicto. Window so steamed up you couldn’t work out what was going on inside.
     He brought up the camera, edged forward and crouched down. Now he could see both faces. Got it. With the registration number, clear proof. He jogged back through the trees to his car, opened the passenger door, threw the camera in the back and squirmed into the driver’s seat.
     Well at least he’d accomplished something on this pool of shite day. He started up the engine and wound down the window. Sweat ran into his eyes. His head hurt.
     A big, angry, pink-red face appeared only a foot away. The man from the Merc. Where had he come from! In his surprise, Jack let the window go all the way down.
     ‘Fucking pervert snooper!’ The man’s face was as pink as a ham hanging in a butcher’s shop. Jack could clearly see the big pores on his nose. ‘Why don’t you get a proper job? Picking up dog turds in this car park would be about your level. You people are the lowest of the low. In fact,’ the face moved closer, ‘you’re like a big turd left steaming on the grass over there. How does it feel to be a big shitty dog turd?’
     Jack opened his mouth to say something, point out that the ‘shitty’ adjective wasn’t needed, but the man lowered his head and butted Jack hard on the bridge of his nose, striking with a loud thunk of bone on gristle. Pain. Blood. Silly thought: he’d let his guard down and fallen for a textbook ‘Kirkby Kiss’. An experienced private investigator wouldn’t have been caught out like this.