Homeless teen Chris certainly isn’t the most reliable of witnesses. And so no one takes her seriously when she walks into a police station and claims that her boyfriend Max, nicknamed Zorro, has been kidnapped.
Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd is initially inclined to dismiss Chris as well. But then Chris mentions a ransom demand, a mysterious phone call demanding an envelope in exchange for the safe return of Max.
Chris claims she has no idea what the kidnappers are talking about. But when Helen and her team investigate the abandoned warehouse that Max and Chris have made their home, she notices unusual activities in the area.
But what precisely do the kidnappers want? And whatever happened to Max?
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- Dead Drop is a novelette of 8700 words or approximately 28 print pages. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd, Detective Constable Kevin Walker, Police Constable Martin Jackson (who get a bit more to do this time around) and forensic analyst Charlotte Wong are all back, though Dr. Rajiv is missing this time around. No one dies in Dead Drop, so there is no need for a forensic pathologist. But instead we meet Dr. Duncan Clifford, police surgeon.
- Dead Drop was inspired by a crime short I read in a German magazine about a homeless person who stumbles upon a drug dealer’s dead drop.
- When I was a student in London, I used to live close to the railway line from London Euston to Birmingham New Street. At the time, there were a lot of old warehouses and factories close to the railway line in the Camden Town/Chalk Farm area. Nowadays, most of them seem to be gone and redeveloped.
- Camden Lock market, where Max sells his handmade jewellery, was a favourite hangout of mine back then.
- Adelaide Point, the luxury apartment building Charles Edmund Flowers’ is building, is entirely fictional. However, I named it after Adelaide Road, the road which runs along the railway line.
- Max’s nickname Zorro was borrowed from the German soap Lindenstraße, which had a punk character named Zorro in its early years. And Zorro’s girlfriend for a while was a character named Chris.
- The Dancing Groot toy Helen was given in A Bullet for Father Christmas puts in another cameo appearance in Dead Drop.
- The cover image is a stock photo by Tracy Scott-Murray.