Cold Revenge - Alex Howard

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About Cold Revenge

About Alex Howard


About the DI Hanlon Series

Table of Contents


L’abîme appelle l’abîme

Post hoc ergo propter hoc


In her student bedsit, Hannah opened her eyes and allowed the fantasy to gently drift away as recommended by Catching Your Dreams (And Making Them Come True), the self-help guide she was studying.

According to the book, visualization was the first step to actualization. There was no point in wanting to be a famous journalist, as Hannah did, until you felt you were a famous journalist, at least in your own head. If you don’t believe in you, how can anyone else? That was the message of the chapter she was reading.

In the private theatre of her mind, with herself as appreciative audience, Hannah had just graciously received a BAFTA for journalism. She held the award aloft and waved to her adoring public. Soon she’d have her own TV series. She’d get to meet celebrities, no, she’d be a celebrity. She’d, well, the possibilities were practically endless. She now allowed the dream to disperse. Reality took hold.

She sighed, stretched and shifted her weight on her narrow, cramped bed in the small, dilapidated room off Gower Street in Bloomsbury, central London, that was her temporary home. The walls were marked by small circles where a succession of students had Blu-tacked posters of their idols. Their ghostly residue defied repainting.

Traffic rumbled by outside. She looked at her Facebook page open on her laptop. On her wall she had written, Am seeing sexy married man tonight ;) and added, after a moment’s thought, But that’s not all ;D have decided to explore my inner chick feelings with some girl on girl (well, this girl on one married lady, why do these people bother to get hitched!) action! Will let you know how it’s going later ;) Don’t forget to check my blog! :D.

That’ll get tongues wagging, she thought. More to the point, that’ll get people reading. Sex sells, or so they say. No point writing without an audience. That’d be the sound of one hand clapping.

She was pleased with the Zen allusion. It was classy.

She repeated to herself, ‘I am classy, I am a success,’ three times, aloud. It was important to raise your self-esteem, the book said.

She closed her eyes for a minute and settled down to allow herself another brief, momentary fantasy of fame.

Her phone beeped and she checked it. One of her two lovers was on their way round. Hannah felt a surge of sexual anticipation coupled with professional, journalistic excitement. She had spent hours tracking people down to check a theory she had about the relationship of one of her lovers with Dr Fuller; tonight she would have it confirmed.

Hannah was no fool. She knew wishful thinking alone, no matter how directed, would not get her a job on The Huffington Post or the Sunday Times or the BBC. Exposing a famous (well, semi-well-known) academic as a serious philanderer, abusing his position of trust as well as potentially killing one of his lovers, and writing about her investigative work online, now that just might. At least it was a start. And Hannah was prepared to do whatever it took to realize her ambitions. Whatever it took.

She typed her revelation about her lover into her blog. It had a disappointingly low number of readers at the moment, but that would soon change. Very few people had heard of her, but lots of people knew Dr Fuller. Soon they’d all have to log in to get the lurid details. Later she’d think of a suitable headline.

She heard the entry-phone buzzer. Her partner had arrived. She pressed the button to open the door downstairs, opened her own door a crack and then lay face down submissively on her bed, as she’d been instructed to do.

‘Don’t look at me tonight,’ he’d ordered.

Hannah slipped the black velvet hood over her head. Her lover liked her blindfolded, passive and quiescent.

She heard footsteps in her room and the door closed. All her senses were heightened now in the velvet darkness of the hood. Sound was magnified. Sensations were amplified. The click of the door as it shut had an ominous finality.

She could hear his breathing, the traffic noise in the street outside, someone’s TV down the hall. She heard the faint noise of an iPod being attached to her docking station and old-fashioned dance music filled the room. Hannah’s pulse quickened when she felt the mattress on the bed move as her lover sat beside her and started stroking