When Vidocq Verone, PI, routinely goes about his search for answers to a puzzling event earlier in his career as DCI Verone, and discovers high strangeness.
He is soon drawn into a local investigation in his hometown of Middlesbrough with former colleague, Senior Sergeant Appleby. Some puzzling events have begun to occur and all seem to link back to the high strangeness that visited him ten odd years ago.
Verone gathers about him a bunch of eclectics to solve the puzzling events, but he soon goes beyond investigating possible crimes to fighting for his sanity, if not his very life.
Read an excerpt below:
A dark, short, shadow suddenly dashed across the space in front of them and raced up the stairs faster than he might ever take them.
Appleby charged passed him, gave chase. He was sure he’d seen a burglar and was intent on making an arrest.
Verone, on the other hand, had been ahead of Appleby by at least two steps, had gotten a clearer view of the dark, short, shadow as it dashed past, and took the stairs in Olympic style. He thought he’d recognised it. He was also quite sure it wasn’t a burglar. He stepped lively, followed Appleby up the stairs.
As Verone got to the top of the stairs, he froze, startled to see the house suddenly take on a green glow. Appleby, however, took no notice of the changed hue of the house, still convinced he was in pursuit of a burglar and let the dark shadow know who was in pursuit. ‘Police! Police! Stop and identify yourself!’
Verone, however, stood stock still, amazed at what he saw. The green glow, he was sure he’d seen several hours earlier, the same one he was now convinced Mrs. Butler had seen, had returned. He wondered if he shouldn’t say, “We come in peace! We only want to talk!”. But had second thoughts, just in case it was a burglar, after all. He also didn’t want to give Appleby an excuse to look at him sideways and give him an “I told you so” smirk, as he took a burglar into custody.
Verone heard a scuffle in the nearby room, drew his attention. Thought he’d better try an assist the intrepid Appleby. What he saw when he stepped into the room and bathed the scene in torchlight, on the alleged scuffle, wasn’t anything like what he had expected to see at that instant. Appleby had shuffled back into a low boy and things had fallen over. The Sergeant’s mouth agape, eyes wider than the Thames, the light of his torch smothered the face of an out-of-this-world entity. The creature’s big dark eyes blinked in the wash of the white light.
Appleby gave the strongest impression of stunnedness he’d ever seen, was speechless. Although frozen to the spot, his hand (the one that held the torch) shook and caused the torchlight to strobe.
Verone thought he’d better say something, and came up with “Nice to meet you! Where are you from?”. But when he worked his mouth, nothing of the sort came from it. What came out was: ‘N … N … N … Wh … Wh … Wh …’ – and with that, the creature turned to look at him, and probably wondered what devil was the language the strange human spoke. It tilted its head to the side and blinked again, and then suddenly disappeared in a cascade of beamed, blue light. He realised his mouth was wide open and shut it. Then scanned the now silent, almost empty room, and wondered how the creature had done it. The only other sound in the room was Appleby’s irregular, heavy breath.
‘Well I’ll be,’ Verone muttered.
Verone was about to address Appleby when he heard the faint sound of a woman’s voice, called him from outside the house. Then he spoke to Appleby: ‘Appleby! Come on! Pull yourself together man, it’s gone!’
Verone took a step toward Appleby, grabbed his arm and tried to get him to move. But Appleby shook Verone’s hand free and threw his harsh torchlight in his face. ‘If you ever tell anyone I was here, I’ll arrest you for trespassing. Got it?’ Appleby stepped around him, wore a deep frown and headed downstairs and out of the house.