Good Morning and happy Sunday. Today I have an extract for you for the novel Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman.
Detective Sergeant Khenan Malice is a rubbish ex-husband, a crap father but a damned good detective. It’s a shame he spoils his only redeeming quality by being a bent copper.
Detective Kelly Pietersen joins the team to help find a missing woman. But she has a secret…
Damien Kaplan is a leading criminal barrister and a keen amateur potter. He also happens to be a serial killer with a chilling approach to creating his art. He’s married to Elsa, though she considers him more of a possession than a husband. She controls those around her using sex and procures men and women for her husband to play with but only after she’s finished with them first.
Killing Pretties is his passion, having sex with them is hers. It is difficult to say which one is worse.
The missing woman brings all four crashing together – an incendiary mix that doesn’t end well.
Hi my name is Rob Ashman and I’d like to introduce you to a new character, Damien Kaplan. He’s a leading criminal barrister and a keen amateur potter. He also happens to be a serial killer who harvests the body parts of his victims and puts them into the glaze.
Damien is married to Elsa, though she considers him more of a possession than a husband. Elsa controls those around her using sex and procures Pretty people for her husband to play with but only after she’s finished with them first. Killing Pretties is his passion, having sex with them is hers.
It is difficult to say which one is worse.
I’d like you to imagine that what takes place in Chapter 25 of Killing Pretties is just a typical Sunday afternoon in the Kaplan household.
Callum is looking decidedly unwell. The packets of joy are wrapped in greaseproof paper and are sitting on the table. He’s turning grey. I press my fingers into the side of his neck to feel the faint blip of a pulse. The tourniquet around his … more delicate parts … has done the trick but stemming the blood-loss from removing his tongue has proved a challenge.
His collar bones are also lying on the bench. Why Elsa should have made particular reference to them is beyond me but mention them she did. The metal grid beneath our feet is washed a dirty crimson.
I watch the life drain from his body. I can see why Elsa was so keen to have him, he’s a classic Pretty.
I place each of the packets onto a tray and lay them in the freezer. I have a competition coming up and they’ll play a starring role in my winning creation. I’m confident the packets of joy will make the glaze sing to the judges.
I strip off my apron and make my way into the drying room. The warm air hits my face and dries my eyes. I lock the door, push the shelving into place and wander back to the house.
Elsa is busying herself in the kitchen. ‘How did it go?’ she asks.
‘Fine, I reckon I’ll be ready ahead of time.’
‘Thanks for being patient,’ she kisses me. ‘Callum was so lovely. What do you fancy for dinner?’ Elsa says. ‘How about I make a curry?’
‘That would be good. Do you have raita?’
She opens the fridge and scans the contents. ‘I can make some – just the way you like it.’
‘That would be lovely,’ I walk across the kitchen to the sink.
‘You know, I was thinking …’ she says.
‘Oh, about what?’ I turn on the tap and squeeze a dab of washing up liquid into my palm.
‘We should give the pub in the village a go. I hear it’s under new management and the food is excellent.’
‘Sound good to me.’ I rub my hands together to make a lather and wash my
forearms, the white, foamy suds turn pink.
‘That’s what I thought,’ she says. ‘We’ve not been out for ages.’
‘Do you know anyone who’s been there?’ I pick up the nail brush and scrub away at the congealed blood and skin.
‘Jean was talking about it. You know her, the woman who goes to the same gym as me. She was impressed, we should give it a go.’
‘Jean? No sure I know her.’
‘You do. The woman with the dogs.’
‘Oh, yes. The frizzy haired woman.’ I check my hands turning them over, my fingernails are stained a stubborn shade of red.
‘That’s the one. She’s ever so chatty.’
I open the cupboard under the sink, grab the bleach and squeeze the thick liquid into my hand.
‘Maybe we could go as a foursome?’
‘Nar, her husband is boring, and besides, it would be nice to go out just the two of us.’ Elsa spoons yogurt into a bowl and adds the diced cucumber.
‘Yeah, you’re right. That would be nice.’ I scrub my nails before rinsing under the tap, a spiral of pink water washes down the plughole. I swill my hand around the sink to dislodge the bits of cartilage sticking to the stainless steel.
Elsa adds mint and a twist of salt and stirs. She dusts the top with chilli powder, covers with Clingfilm and pops it into the fridge for later.
I towel my hands dry and wrap my arms around her waist. She melts into me.
‘Fancy a coffee?’ she asks.
‘Do you want sex?’
‘Nar, I have things to do.’
‘Not even a quickie? You’re normally up for it when you’ve been working in your shed.’
‘It’s not a shed, it’s a workshop, and besides, his car is parked on the drive and it needs to be at the bottom of the reservoir.’
‘Okay, you sort that out and I’ll get cracking with dinner. Maybe you’ll change your mind when you get back.’
I kiss her and breath in her perfume, then go into the lounge and rummage around in Callum’s jacket for his car keys. His BMW is bright and shiny like it’s just been washed.
‘Won’t be long!’ I call out as I close the door.
I can already taste that raita.
Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire where he’s spent the last twenty-two years.
Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.
It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy was the result.
Rob published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written the DI Rosalind Kray series. These are Faceless, This Little Piggy, Suspended Retribution and Jaded which are also published by Bloodhound.
His latest work sees the introduction of a new set of characters – DS Khenan Malice and DC Kelly Pietersen. The first book in the series is titled Killing Pretties and the second is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Lies. Both books will be published this year.
When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.
Thanks for reading and stay safe.