Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

a struggle not just to maintain sanity but to stay alive - Nick Swann Investigates Series by Keller Yeats

#1 "Powderfinger" is a present-day scary horror story set mainly on the decrepit, abandoned but soon to be redeveloped, bank of an old canal between two towns.
#2 As the death toll rises, Nick finds himself, along with his new partner, Wendy and her Wolf, Mir embroiled in a struggle not just to maintain sanity but to stay alive.


Powderfinger (#1)

"Powderfinger" is a present-day scary horror story set mainly on the decrepit, abandoned but soon to be redeveloped, bank of an old canal between two towns. It centres on an old tar works known as Raven's Gate. Nick Swann is a world weary mid-forties widower and Assistant Probation Warden at St Joseph's Hostel for young male criminals, situated overlooking the canal and Raven's Gate. A woman is brutally killed on the bank opposite the Hostel on a night when Nick is on duty. Nick believes his lads had nothing to do with it, though consequently Nick is suspended for issuing too many late passes at once. Then another woman is killed and Nick becomes drawn into discovering the culprit. He works with DCI Findlay and DS Deacon as the murder toll rises. Together with help from his old friends Alan and Hugo, Nick's research uncovers a long series of similar murders in the same area, stretching back through the centuries.

"Powderfinger" as the killer is dubbed, appears to be some kind of ancient mellifluous, malevolent, murderous being that attacks anyone it considers to be disturbing its peace and quiet. Eventually, as the story climaxes, Findlay, Deacon, Nick and Alan set a trap to lure "Powderfinger" to his doom and rid the area of this beast once and for all. Yet, traps can swing both ways. 


“Arch, could you call Jinx and see if she’s got any prelim’s for us on the Canal Bank job?” The sound of his DCI’s voice behind him, made Arch Deacon jump so he almost dropped the evidence folders, he was ever so carefully balancing on three extended fingers, as if he were a Cocktail Waiter,

“O.K, no sweat, I’ll get right on it. You know, you nearly made me spill my drinks just then” replied Arch. Alex Findlay, just laughed to himself and thought that perhaps his DS had another career option he had kept quiet about? He had grown to both like and respect Arch, despite finding him initially disconcerting. He could clearly remember, that first week, when he’d arrived at the station, ever so eager and at the same time, so naive. He had been like a puppy, the way he had trailed after his superiors.

David ‘Arch’ Deacon, had a memory and mind for details. He had the ability, to sit and listen to someone prattling on for hours and then, repeat back to you, exactly what they had said. It was a remarkable talent and DCI Alex Findlay, had come to rely on him a great deal, for his dedication, listening and deductive abilities. He was fully aware, that one day Arch would most likely wish to move onward and upward, but for now, Mr. Deacon was his DS and he was not going to let him slip away, all that easily.

Arch, having been given a task, got on with it immediately. He punched in the number for The Morgue and it was picked up almost instantly. 

“Dr. Pinnock. How may I be of assistance?” Jinx, had always flustered him and he was stumbling around right now. She was twenty years his senior and from the very first time he met her, he found her inexplicably attractive. Those feelings were creating problems for him now, as they always did. He really wanted to ask her out for a date, but the fact that he was sure if he did, she wouldn’t think that he was serious and just laugh at his boldness, put him off. He got back to business,

“Hi Jinx, sorry to interrupt your day but the boss wants to know if you’ve got anything on the woman, that was found on the canal bank?” She answered his enquiry, with her usual irreverence,

“Tell the boss, that she’s not too well at the present time and visiting hours, are seven to nine this evening.”

“Oh, come on Jinx, that’s not fair. What can you tell me? I’ve got to give him something to be going on with.”

Her real name was Jacqueline Pinnock but she had been known as “Jinx,” since her days at Medical School, when one day she was learning how to set up a shunt for a blood transfusion, something had come loose and the blood bag sprayed her white coat, with drops of the red stuff. On seeing this, her mentor said something along the lines of “I don’t know so much about Pinnock, it should be Pollock.” From that one small quip, and numerous other ‘not my fault’ happenings, “Jinx” was born. Since 1984, whenever anybody asked her name, she would answer; “My name is Jacqueline Pinnock but people call me, Jinx” and then delight in the curious look on their faces.

“O.K. Arch, this is all I’ve got at the moment, just tell the old man, that the cause of death was the cutting of the throat and four deep penetrations of the torso. The best that I can do on the time of death is sometime between Midnight and Four a.m., most likely around 2am, as I said before at the crime scene. I’m running tests to narrow that down. The weapon, is proving to be quite problematic. It appears to be some kind of cutting, stroke stabbing implement wielded with great force. I know he won’t like that but tell him, I’m going to take a cast of the wound. Hopefully, that will give us a clearer picture of what exactly what the weapon is. I should know more when the test results are in. I know it’s not exactly what you wanted to hear, but tell the old sod, that this one is not your everyday run of the mill killing. I’ll keep you informed as the results come in.” With that, she bid Arch “goodbye” and cut the line.

“Jesus, he’s going to love this,” he said into the air.

Arch made his way through the incident room to his boss’ office, at the far end. As he drew closer, he could clearly hear his DCI, cursing something or other, so it was with some trepidation, that he knocked on and then opened the door.

Wyndwrayth (#2)

This is the second horror novel in the Nick Swann series. This scary story finds Nick now living in an old stone farmhouse on the lonely and mysterious shores of Llyn Isaf, in Wales. He becomes intrigued by its mist-covered lake island, Ynys Y Niwl and its dark, ancient and long deserted mansion, Wyndwrayth.

Its moldering edifice holds many secrets and treasures, some of which draw Nick and his old friend Alan, into dangerous realms. Death stalks the island and as the dangerous spectral figures of The Millar of Souls, The Paladin and Gideon reveal themselves, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern between reality and dreams.

As the death toll rises, Nick finds himself, along with his new partner, Wendy and her Wolf, Mir embroiled in a struggle not just to maintain sanity but to stay alive. 


“I really must go and give that place the once over,” he said, casting his gaze towards the lonely island, which appeared to almost float on the water. Its real name, was Ynys y Niwl. However, in Nick’s mind, his anachronism fit perfectly well and ‘Fog Island,’ seemed to suit it much better than the old Welsh name, which for him was a bit of a mouthful. A constant mist seemed to float amongst the tree tops, making the place seem ever so inscrutable. In company, if he was trying to be politically correct, he would refer to the rock as “Innis E. Newel,” disrespectfully pronouncing its ancient moniker, as if it were a bloke’s name. However, it served its purpose. The Welsh just wrote it off as, ‘another example of English ignorance,’ laughing at ‘the incomers’ pronunciation. Well it saved all that spitting and throat clearing, which made up much of the Old Welsh language. Nick took one last toke on his joint, then got back on his feet and stretched his back.

“Ooof!” He exclaimed as a couple of the vertebrae in his spine clicked back into place. “Oh yeah, that’s the way you do it,” he sighed, then chuckled as he broke wind. “Time to put Venezuela back in her boat house.”

When he’d originally discovered there was a vessel in the boathouse, Nick could hardly believe it. At first, he reckoned it was probably a derelict but on unlocking the access door, there, sitting sedately on the water, was ‘June.’ She was a beautiful old lady, once bedecked in polished wood from head to toe, this Grande D’am, simply spoke to him. “Cooool,” he’d remarked in amazement, as he gazed in wonder at her just floating there in the dark water. She needed a great deal of repairs. Her woodwork and the metal fitments, leather and enamel work, were all in serious need of some renovation but during the two years since his mothers’ death, ‘June,’ became the positive therapy he needed as he brought her back to life.

“You and me’s goin’ explorin’ tomorrah,” he informed the boat, as he lovingly stroked her refurbished bodywork. Then, he slowly cast his eyes back towards the letters on the stern of this gem and there it was, ‘Venezuela.’ He had changed her name, from ‘June,’ almost as a first act of ownership. ‘June’ sounded like a name from the thirties, authentic to her build but hardly inspiring. When he’d looked at the lines of this elegant, yet exotic creation for the first time, he’d simply commented, “No, you need something a little more imaginative!” His mind had slipped into overdrive, looking for that elusive, enigmatic, yet pleasingly suitable, alternative name. During those next few days, the name of the motor launch had many incarnations, none of them quite pictorial enough, until one day, he heard a song on the radio, being performed by a woman from Canada called Rita Connelly, whose song and title just felt right.

“Venezuela,” he’d said, “I like it!” It was a quirky enough name, one which maintained Nick’s vision of himself as an artistic man and it seemed to just trip off his tongue, as he’d repeated it, over and over again. “Venezuela.” He’d said for about the twentieth time. “Yeah, that’s it!” He’d emphatically intoned, an air of finality in his voice and then, as if to prove the point to himself. He’d said it again,


Even as the word was leaving his lips, he’d seen images of a warm azure blue ocean and an ice-cold beer, or two. “Venezuela! Yes, that suits you much better. You may have been built in the Thirties but you’re here now. ‘June’ was just altogether too ‘Famous Fivey’ for my liking …..” Smiling at these memories, the boat secured in her house, he casually made his way back down the gravel path towards the kitchen door. It was only a two-minute walk and to this day, he still couldn’t believe his luck. He was now the owner of a fantastic cottage, with a vintage motor launch thrown in to sweeten the deal.

About the author: 
Keller Yeats is a writer with a love of history and music. He has written several published articles about rock music and several unpublished short stories. He drew upon his years of experience working as a Probation Warden, for his first published novel, "Powderfinger." A horror story with a supernatural twist. "Wyndwrayth" is his second novel in this Nick Swann researches and investigates series, with more to come. In addition, he is a published graphic artist and a qualified, though no longer practicing, jewellery maker and designer. He now lives together with his wife, a Siberian Husky, a Welsh Collie and three cats, in a cottage by the sea in Anglesey. 

Author's Giveaway


Laura Thomas said...

These sound fantastic. I love this genre and it sounds like these will be a good fit for me.

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing and for the awesome giveaway!

CJ said...

Thanks for sharing the excerpt with all of us.... this looks like a good one! :)

areck0001 said...

Very mysterious and a bit foreboding call me intrigued. I love to read.

Keller Yeats said...

Hi there,
Many thanks for showing interest in my stories. I hope you find them deeply disturbing.

Anna Josefin Bergman said...

Looks great.