Birthdays for the Dead
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The Number One bestselling crime thriller from the award-winning Stuart MacBride. A bloody, brilliant and brutal story of murder, kidnap and revenge.
Detective Constable Ash Henderson has a dark secret…
Five years ago his daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her thirteenth birthday. A year later the first card arrived: home-made, with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front – Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. Every year another card: each one worse than the last.
The tabloids call him ‘The Birthday Boy’. He’s been snatching girls for twelve years, always in the run-up to their thirteenth birthday, sending the families his home-made cards showing their daughters being slowly tortured to death.
But Ash hasn’t told anyone about Rebecca’s birthday cards – they all think she’s just run away from home – because if anyone finds out, he’ll be taken off the investigation. And he’s sacrificed too much to give up before his daughter’s killer gets what he deserves…
feeling for what she’s like.’ What happened to the rambling? The father, Ian, scowled at Dr McDonald, his thick eyebrows drawing together like the doors on a battleship. Trackie-bottoms in Dundee United orange, a Mr Men T-shirt, close-cropped hair, arms folded across his chest. His wife was … huge. Not just wide, but tall: a floral-print behemoth with long brown hair and puffy pink eyes. She cleared her throat. ‘I was about to make some tea, would you—’ ‘They’re no’ staying.’ Ian plonked down
children, my friends …’ ‘Who found out?’ I forced Drummond’s head back. Jammed the gun barrel into his cheek. ‘WHO FOUND OUT? WHO DID YOU TELL?’ ‘It wasn’t—’ ‘I’LL BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF, YOU PIECE OF SHITE!’ The words came out high-pitched and fast: ‘A journalist, I give them to a journalist! Every year, three weeks before each girl’s birthday, I have to give him the family’s address.’ A journalist … I let go and limped away. Stared out of the study window at the shining street. The clouds ate
sooner or later.’ Pink bloomed on Smith’s cheekbones. ‘But, sir, I—’ ‘No,’ DCI Weber held up a hand, ‘don’t blame yourself. I’m sure once the team gets to know you, you’ll get on like my grandmother in a bratwurst factory.’ I tried not to smile, I really did. Smith folded his arms. ‘I see. That’s the way it is, is it? Fine.’ Poor baby. Weber looked past Smith’s shoulder. ‘What have you got, Matt?’ A figure in full SOC suit was lumbering across the car park towards us, carrying a plastic
left.’ She backed away from the window. ‘When will they do the autopsy?’ ‘Post mortem. Not “autopsy”.’ She started to sing: a little girly voice, not much more than a whisper. ‘I say morgue, you say mor-tu-ary. You say post mortem, I say au-topsy …’ She backed away from the window and followed the black line to where it disappeared under the dented metal doors of a lift. A sign next to it was marked, ‘AUTHORISED PERSONNEL ONLY, NO PATIENTS OR VISITORS’. ‘Tomorrow morning. Professor Twining
public-spirited arsehole in the Housing Department had decided that what three big hulking lumps of concrete needed was a bright paint job. Most of the colour had worn off over the years, leaving nothing but various dirty shades of brown and grey. A chain-link fence surrounded the car park, buckled and full of holes. A couple of battered Transit vans were abandoned over by the exit, a Fiesta up on bricks, a pair of matching VW Polos with more rust than paint. I parked next to the Transit vans,