The following is the first chapter of my second novel The Twisted Knot (available now).
Set in a fictional Queensland town, Constable Sammi Willis investigates an apparent suicide, uncovering a dark family secret, an unsolved crime and a town seeking vengeance.
Sammi always felt a sense of relief when she saw Bob’s face in the morning at Angel’s Crossing Police Station. With him as shift supervisor, the station felt like a calmer and safer place. He kept everything running smoothly. He kept the staff in line. And her colleagues kept their manners in place when he was in the room. Mostly.
‘Morning, Sammi,’ Bob called out from the sergeant’s office as she passed by.
‘Do you want a cuppa?’ she called from the locker room as she packed her bag away.
‘Yes, thanks,’ he called back. ‘Are you going to look after the front counter for me again today?’
Sammi paused before she shut her locker door. Her utility belt lay curled up at the bottom, like a black snake in hibernation. It had been a year and a half since she had buckled it on and kitted up for a shift on the road. Each day, she looked at it. And each day she shut the locker door on it again.
‘Yep,’ she called back to Bob.
She grabbed her lunch and went into the kitchen. She put her sandwich in the fridge and filled up the kettle. One cup of tea for her, one coffee for the sergeant. Milky with two sugars, she didn’t need to ask. With these small everyday details, she settled herself into the rhythm of the day.
Bob looked up from his computer and smiled at her as she placed his coffee on the desk.
‘What would I do without you, Sammi?’
A lot of the younger staff didn’t like Sergeant Simpson. Discipline had been a lot stricter when he had come through the ranks. You did what your supervisor told you and didn’t backchat. Although attitudes had relaxed, he still expected this standard of behaviour from his junior staff. So the lazy or ineffectual officers at the station didn’t think much of him. But Sammi listened when he gave her advice and, in return, he always helped her out if she asked.