When Mike Bray is grabbed off the street on his way home on an ordinary Friday night, his world is turned inside out.
Coerced by the head of a South London crime gang to impersonate low-level criminal Tommy Boronovski, Mike quickly learns how to lie and side-step in order to keep his family safe.
He must somehow find a way of protecting his family from threats of violence, and maintain his own ethics and morals as he treads a seemingly impossible path.
When the borders between himself and Tommy become blurred, it leaves him questioning his true identity, and hostage to his own temptations.
Find out what happens in this gripping story of survival and self-discovery!
A Brief Excerpt
I’d stopped at the bar for one drink on my way home, but then bumped into Dave Colman, and that one drink turned into three.
I knocked back the remainder of my beer, and said, ‘I’ve got to hit the road, Dave. I’m running late.’
He raised a hand in farewell, ‘Say hi to Catherine and the girls for me.’
I said I would – but I never did.
It was seven o’clock on a Friday night, and I should have been home with my wife and twin girls. Saturday morning Catherine would take Sarah to under fifteen’s hockey, and I’d take Sophia to tennis. We had that same routine every weekend during hockey season. After sports we’d meet for lunch at the girls chosen fast-food place – generally Burger King. It was the one time each week we’d allow them to eat junk food. They called me mean, Catherine called me honey, and at work I was known as Midnight Mike.
I pulled my collar up to ward off the biting cold of the October night. The Norfolk wind is said to be lazy, going through you rather than around you, and that night was no exception.
My work van was off the road with a blown engine, an added expense I could have done without. The hire van I was using was parked two hundred yards further along the cold, wet street.
I walked fast, head down, feeling the effect of the beers. The van lights flashed when I pressed the remote, then something crunched against my head, red turned to black, and the pavement rushed up at my face.
There were muffled voices, muffled to me in my semi-conscious state. Rough hands dragged me out of the van and I fell to the floor. I blacked out again.
As my senses returned I could hear the sound of leather soled boots scuffing on concrete.
For a brief moment I thought it must be a prank, that I was in my workshop, and the work boots I could hear belonged to one of my workmates. But the smells were wrong. There was no smell of cut and welded steel, no smell of grinding dust. All I could sense was decay, like the dampness of a cellar that had been closed for years.
My hands had been bound behind my back, my ankles tied together, and what felt like duct tape wrapped tight across my eyes. Nobody had spoken. Not a single word.
Strong hands grabbed me by the jacket and shoved me against a wall. They passed a rope across my chest and under my arms, then pulled it tight somewhere above my head, trussing me up like an animal ready for slaughter.
The fear overcame my stoicism. I couldn’t hold out any longer. ‘What do you want from me?’
There was no reply.
The rope cut into my shoulder muscles, so I tried to stand on my toes to ease the pressure. Leather scraped concrete and the rope was tightened further.
After what felt like an hour of being trussed up that way, I sensed somebody close to my left side.
‘Who is it?’ he said quietly, his voice calm and reasonable as if asking the time.
‘Who’s what? I’ve got no idea who you are or what you’re talking about.’
‘Tisk tisk tisk. Wrong answer, Tommy.’
‘Wait.’ My voice was abnormally high. I tried to swallow to wet my throat. ‘My name’s Mike, not Tommy. I’m not—’
My words were cut off by a huge punch to the side of the head. More tape was wrapped tight across my eyes and then around my mouth.
The man with the calm voice said, ‘We’ll try again in a while, shall we?’