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I’ll bet the first question you asked yourself was who the Hell is Nick Burton ? I don’t blame you and it’s not a bad question all things considered.

You see not so very long ago I was nothing more than a shadow in the imagination of an obscure Scottish author called Merlin Fraser, a faint voice in his head that wouldn’t shut up. I had a story to tell and no other way to tell it than to trick him into thinking the whole thing was his idea and getting him to write it down and get it published.

Now thanks to the glorious digital world of the Internet I can at last reach out directly and fill in any of the missing pieces and respond to the many questions my stories raised.

He’s a funny guy this Merlin Fraser, he called his books the INNER SPACE trilogy, you see the irony here? Inner Space… the space between his ears the inner space of his mind with me in it steering him this way and that until I was a spent force, or so he thought, but just like ‘Arnie’ I’m B-a-c-k !

However I am getting way ahead of myself here because it is more than possible you have never heard of Merlin Fraser or his Inner Space trilogy of Murder Mystery stories as dictated by yours truly so I suppose I had better introduce myself properly.

I am Nicholas Burton, Nick to everyone who knows me. I am, or should say was, a serving Detective Inspector in the British Police Force and according to my critics becoming something of a dinosaur because, in their opinion, I was being left behind by all the modern day technology. I am what they call an old fashioned flatfoot bobby, a plodder, someone who uses brain power and traditional police methods of detection rather than sitting at a bloody computer all day and listening to criminologists and criminal profilers and their like.

In hindsight I don’t suppose they were that wrong, after all most of the officers senior to me are also younger than me. University degrees sticking out of every orifice, fast tracked into senior positions with little or no time in the real world of crime, little or no actual common sense but up on all the latest politically correct speak and methodology. I think it’s what used to be referred to in the old days as ‘ass kissers,’ only these days it seems you can get a University Degree in it and it is becoming almost compulsory.

It’s mostly my own fault, I know, I was in a rut and cruising towards an early retirement, as the song goes, a policeman’s lot is not a happy one. My wife divorced me for all the usual reasons I was never at home married to the job….. You’ve heard it all before I’m sure, blessing was there were no children involved and as far as I know no other man, she just wanted out.

OK I admit it, career on the slide, no family and no life outside the job I was in a sinkhole of self pity and if events hadn’t taken a dramatic turn I might well have just faded away into obscurity, just another burned out copper.

In our small town police station I worked for a great guy, not only a good boss but a great friend, he saw how things were going for me but didn’t rub it in. Plus I am fairly sure that like many others around me he was at a loss to know what to do about my situation after all I did my job, kept my misery to myself and tried to keep out of their way as best I could.

That is until ‘That Day!’ There’s always one, a day that when you look back you say ‘that’s when it all changed.’

Only in my case it was actually the day before ‘That Day,’ because it was then that my leader, Chief Superintendant Daniel Davis, decided to send me on a three hundred mile wild goose chase to Wales to check out evidence held by another police force, a job that took me out of town and away for most of the following day.

By the time I got back to my own station all hell had broken loose and the chaos I found as I went through the doors did little to improve my health, temper or the headache that pounded in my temples.

It looked like a riot everyone yelling and as far as could see no one listening but the strange thing about it all was that the yelling was coming from my own colleagues. It looked to me as if both the day and evening shifts were involved. Strange as that was I was in no mood for such behaviour and I tried to restore some order by demanding to know what the hell was going on.

The Sergeant on the desk, who seemed to be the target of the shouting, took the slight lull in the uproar to tell me they had arrested Dapper. To explain, Dapper Dan, was the affection nickname they had for Chief Superintendent Davies because of his dress code, he was always immaculately turned out and always dressed like the perfect gentleman he was.

In the roar of confusion he had to give me the message three times before it sunk in and of course then my head exploded. “WHAT ?” Arrested CS Davies… the boss…my friend… probably my best friend… for what for Christ’s sake ? “ Murder!” Was the reply.

Once I managed to get my head round this piece of information and the serious side of my detective knowledge and experience kicked in and I started to take charge of the situation. “What Utter Bollocks is this…Who said so ?”

OK! Not my finest hour or the best opening statement I have ever made but you have to remember I was in shock.

True, after I went for a walk in the fresh air and calmed down a bit I reviewed the facts as I knew them, and arrived at pretty much the same conclusion that it was still Utter Bollocks. It had to be a mistake or even worse something of a frame up. After all, over the years he and I had crossed paths with some right royal villains many of whom had sworn on their Granny’s grave that they would get us back one day.

It had to be something like that, there is no way in hell that Dan would break the laws he had sworn to uphold and as for ‘Murder’ for God’s sake… give me a break !

I stormed into Police Head Quarters and made a complete Prat of myself, demanding to see him, like that was going to happen, but I needed answers and who better to give them to me ? Instead I was shown into the duty officer’s office and when I again settled down she confirmed the fact that not only had he been arrested for murder but had also confessed to the crime.

The following day they did let me see him, albeit very briefly, a meeting made all the more brief when he threw me out of his cell telling me not to get involved.
Then there was the final bombshell of the day after that when Dan was found dead in his police cell apparently having committed suicide.

Now I knew there was something wrong, the whole thing stunk like a barrel load of rotting fish.

I will concede that given the right set of circumstances we are all capable of committing a crime, even have murderous thoughts but this ridiculous suicide suggestion….No way ! Not the Dan Davies I knew, if he had committed murder, which I seriously doubted, he was man enough to face up to it and would take the full consequences of his actions.

Right there, right then, I knew I would not rest until I knew the truth of it and clear my friend’s name.

Of course, when things like this happen within the Police Force we are not allowed to conduct our own investigations. That goes doubly so for friends and close colleagues and I was duly warned to keep myself as far away as it was possible to get and ordered to cooperate fully with any inquiry.

Stay out of it ! I’d resign first ! And they knew it.

The old me was back, no longer in the self dug pit of despair, my friend needed me and I’d be buggered if I was going to let him down or allow the PC driven white wash to trample his good name into the mud.

Have you ever asked yourself the question; ‘how well do I know my best friend?’

Over the many weeks and months that followed I asked myself that question several times and didn’t like the answers I was getting. In truth I came to realise I didn’t know him at all. I knew nothing of his past prior to me being assigned to his division and his Criminal Investigating Department (CID) as a Detective Inspector. Me Watson to his Holmes as it were, he brains me running behind taking notes but he was a damn fine teacher.

Remember right at the beginning of this piece I said I was a plodder, takes me a while but I get there in the end?

I got there and what a tale it was. It challenged everything in life I thought was true, it made me a believer in things I had never previously considered, or thought possible, if I did think of them at all I had dismissed them as rubbish.

Then came my true dilemma, no one was ever going hear my story, not in an open court of law that was for sure. What I had discovered was beyond the comprehension of most people and would raise issues and ideas that many would rather not even think about. I had no hard evidence or proof that would stand up in court so what had it all been for, what exactly had I achieved ?

Conventionally I knew the real story would never see the light of day, not now that it had been covered up and buried in the many ways government bureaucracies have of dealing with things they think it’s best for the general public not to know.

So I came up with a cunning plan, if the story and all the facts of the cases will never see the light in reality how about as a work of fiction ?
All I needed was the right mind to make my plan work.

Was I right to take over the mind of another human being in this way? Only you can judge by reading the stories for yourself, only then will you come to realise what I did and why.

You see there is more….and it hits at the very highest level of what we laughing accept as democracy again the real powers that be will stop at nothing to prevent the real truth from coming out but, of course, I now know a way.

For the time being I am leaving dear Merlin’s mind in peace but if you decide you want more then you have to tell him … You will find him and my stories in Amazon.

I will be watching and will know your feelings.

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Change of Tack

July 2, 2010

What a tough world it is for a ‘ Wannabe Author’ the publishing world and their minions control a closed shop where only the privileged few are allowed in and only if they think you have the potential to make them loads a’ money!   I’d like to think I could but for the moment I am a minority of one.

The alternative is almost as bad as professional suicide, wander down the Self Publishing route and you are automatically branding yourself as not considered good enough for the establishment and their system and of course in many cases they are correct.

Many Self Publishing authors do so on an Ego trip to see their name on a book cover with little regard to the readability of their book content,  especially in the proof-reading and editing departments. (and no this isn’t something your best mate can do. Unless he’s a professional).    This puts readers off taking any Self Publishing author seriously, no matter how good a growing percentage of these authors maybe.

This is a shame for many reasons,  at this time of World monetary recession the established publishers are even less likely to take a risk on a ‘Newby’ and who can blame them in these days of growing pressure on paper books sold in High Street book shops of the world.  With  E Books and online sites taking a bigger and bigger slice of their markets they are going to concentrate their efforts on guaranteed sales opportunities even if this is pure celebrity driven drivel and  slop !   Just what the world needs more ‘Kiss and Tell Cookery Books….!

For my part I did go down the Self Publishing route and yes I made all the mistakes imaginable and it cost me dear as everybody in that world came at me with their hand out dumping just as fast when the money runs out.

However, never let it be said my mother bred a quitter,  I learnt a lot in that shark infested pool who to trust and who to avoid and yes in my own way I will put a dent in their world and hopefully by reading of my experiences I can at least prevent the unwary from making the same costly mistakes I did. 

No matter which route you eventually take to bring your work to the market it has to be the best you can make it.  Hire professional proof-readers and a good editor, yes HIRE this is how those guys make their living.  We need them, no matter how good your mate or spouse is at the end of the day it pays to get the work done professionally.  At least as professionals if they screw it up you can always sue the crap out of them.

Do this even before going looking for a literary agent,  remember they sift and sort their way through hundreds of manuscripts so if your work is untidy, not properly laid out as they want to see it, full of typos, spelling, grammar and punctuation errors your file will hit the floor in very short order.

Even if you are planning the Self Publishing route from day one still make it as good as you can.  If not for yourself at least do it for the rest of us struggling Wannabes.  Who knows one of us maybe the next JK Rowling or Dan Brown and wouldn’t it be nice to raise two impolite fingers at the established publishing profession knowing they are not going to make a bean from your efforts..

I personally have a growing list of Literary Agents to whom will get a signed copy of my book with the message, “Not as good as you thought you were are you ?” 

Readers are the real judge of a writers work,  In my case I write to entertain I have a style that I hope is just a little different from the norm, No Superheroes,  no unbelievable plots just hopefully a good read that will while away the time on a long journey.

My trilogy of  Inner Space stories is now complete and out there.  www.lulu.com  or www.merlin-fraser.com

please check them out and let’s prove Self Publishing works.  Or if you need a better reason you might just help a poor Wannabe stave off starvation !

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