Published by Urbane Publications on September 20, 2018
WHAT IF THOUGHTS COULD KILL? The time has come for Ethan Hall, serial killer and master hypnotist, to be tried in Crown Court. And the result is far from certain. The unanswered question remains: How do you prevent a destructive master hypnotist from wreaking havoc in a Crown Court trial? For Marcus Kline, the world's leading authority on communication and influence, and his wife Anne-Marie Wells, the devastation Ethan Hall has brought into their lives is about to reach terrifying and unimaginable heights. Memories, secrets and fear will threaten to tear them apart and destroy their very lives. Meanwhile, a new wave of murders is being recorded and shared on social media, inciting ever-more extreme behaviour. Support for the violence grows and the very fabric of society seems threatened. Is Ethan Hall in any way responsible? And, if so, how can he possibly be stopped? Marcus Kline must face his nemesis in a final battle of wills....does he have the faith to succeed?
So I was not able to read this book in time, but by the end of the year at least I plan on getting this one read, because it does sound fab and the extract I get to share with you has just left me wanting more!
MONDAY – TRIAL DAY 1 9.10am
He was ten minutes behind schedule. That had never happened before. Trials began at 10.30am and he always arrived at 9am. Today his pre-trial routine was going to hell and back. Today he was not, as Joanne would have said, keeping it real. Because, apart from telling the best stories,
The tried and tested.
Usually that phrase brought a smile to his lips. Not now, though. Now he didn’t have time to enjoy any clever wordplay. He was ten minutes behind schedule. That meant everything from now until the trial began was out of sync. That was enough to make any man curse.
‘I’ve always fucking hated Hilary!’ He breathed. ‘The worst fucking term of the lot – and the coldest!’
Hilary was the name given to the legal time period running from January to April. Mike had suffered his only two legal defeats during Hilary. One had been a fifty-fifty pick ‘em type of fight. In the other he’d been the clear favourite. Until a police cock-up had taken his feet from under him.
‘I’m not having a hat-trick of losses!’ He reminded himself. ‘And definitely not with this one.’
Mike stormed into the robing room. Without hesitation he opened the travel case he’d been carrying and took out his barrister’s robes. He took off the soft collar from the pure white shirt he was wearing and replaced it with a starched, winged version. Next he put on the bands, two white oblong pieces of cloth tied at the neck, the formal neckwear of his profession. The traditional
‘You battle-scarred beauty,’ he whispered as he put it on. ‘Here we go again.’
Mike checked himself in one of the full-length mirrors. He was dressed for battle.
‘Ready, Hilary or not!’
He nodded and straightened automatically. The wig did it every time. It changed him, brought out the fighter, the hero, the protector. He didn’t need a mask and a cape. Once the wig went on, even Superman would have been stupid to face him.
Five minutes after entering the robing room Mike
There were a dozen other barristers in the canteen when Mike entered; all engaged in the pre-trial mind games that were such an essential part of their work. Some feigned confidence, sitting back, sipping their coffee as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Others were making carefully planned points to their opposite number. Two were talking loudly with their Junior, the barrister they had chosen to be their right-hand, about the cast-iron certainty of their case.
Usually Mike would have been joining in, doing whatever he could to gain the first psychological advantage.
Not today though.
Today, for the first time ever, he was about to begin prosecuting a case with no equally qualified professional present to defend against him.
His mind tried to remind him that his pre-trial routine was missing another link. He willed the intrusion back into the robing room with all his other misgivings and doubts. Then he poured himself a black coffee and took a drink. It was hot. Thank God.
‘One final caffeine kick and then into the arena we go.’
‘Caesar, those about to die salute you,’ he said, tapping his chest with his left palm.
Mike scowled. ‘I’m not about to be thrown to the lions thank you very much. I’m at the top of the food chain as you know full well, and as you’re my Junior for this one that means you are, too. And, for the sake of historical accuracy, gladiators almost certainly didn’t say that before the fighting started. It’s an example of what Trump has taught us all to call fake news.’
‘OK. I’ll accept the history lesson.’ Brian nodded. ‘But the point still remains, if you can get enough people using your words – ’
‘ – You’ve told the winning story.’
‘Exactly. And we know what the winning story earns us.’
‘In this case, a guilty verdict.’ It was Mike’s turn to nod. ‘Followed by a very long time in prison for Mr Ethan Hall.’
Brian considered briefly. ‘I still can’t get my head around it.’
‘Neither could Ethan’s first victims.’
‘I’m just warming up.’
‘Good to know. There’d be cause for serious concern if that’s you at your best.’
Mike raised an eyebrow.
Brian went on quickly. ‘I can’t get my head around the fact that he is actually going to defend himself. At first I thought he was bluffing. When it became clear he wasn’t I thought that at some point he’d realise it was suicidal and seek professional help. Amateurs lose to professionals. And the best professionals crush first-timers. That’s the rule in everything. How stupid do you have to be to throw away your only chance of saving your freedom?’
‘It’s arrogance, not stupidity. He thinks he’ll be able to get inside the jury’s minds, trance them out and get them to think and do whatever he wants. At least, that’s what Peter believes.’
‘If that was true it would mean that any decent hypnotherapist with no experience in trial law and courtroom strategy could give a silk a run for their money. And that’s obviously bollocks.’
‘Obviously.’ Mike swallowed. ‘Ever been to a hypnotherapist?’
‘Not personally. Helen took James once in the run-up to his ‘A’ levels. He was getting anxious, couldn’t revise, couldn’t sleep, started saying that he wasn’t even going to
‘Of course not. James said the guy tried to hypnotise him, kept telling him he was sinking into a deep sleep. James wasn’t having any of it. He told me he just closed his eyes and played along until the time was up.’
‘So what happened with his exams?’
‘It was all fine in the end. A storm in a teacup. I think James was so embarrassed at having to go to the hypnotherapist it made him get his act into gear. That same night he started revising and then slept like a baby. In the end he got better grades than predicted. Shows you what schools know.’
‘Mmm.’ Mike swallowed again. ‘Let’s just remember that, even though Ethan’s a beginner, we’re bringing our ‘A’ game. We have a responsibility to win this and I don’t want anyone in that courtroom – judge, jury, audience or media – to have any doubts about his guilt. Clear?
‘Are we clear?’
‘And you can handle the truth, right?’
The two men smiled.
Brian said, ‘That’s still the worst impersonation of Jack Nicholson I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t matter how many times you do it, you don’t get any better.’
‘And you look less like Tom Cruise with every day that passes – and you didn’t look like him to start with.’
‘Can’t argue with that. This is what the real Kaffee looks like I’m afraid.’
‘An amazing brain behind a tragic face.’ Mike patted Brian’s shoulder with his large left hand. ‘Trust me when I say I’d rather have you and your amazing brain with me right now than Tom Cruise and his.’ He paused. ‘Although at least the fictional Lieutenant Kaffee was able to call Colonel Jessop as a witness.’
‘True. The film wouldn’t have been the same without those two going at it.’ Brian frowned. ‘In our case, though, the fact that Ethan is defending himself does mean you can’t call him as a witness. The law really is crystal on this one. So no matter how much you want to, we’re not going to get our Cruise-Nicholson moment. Which is a real shame.’
‘I’m not so sure. You see, I’ve been thinking about it, too.’
‘I think if a man is arrogant enough to defend himself, he’s arrogant enough to believe he’ll cope well in the witness box. I think such a man might not even need too much encouragement.’
‘You think he’ll choose to offer himself as a witness?’
‘I think he might be desperate
‘Sounds like you have a plan.’
‘I have several.’
‘So you might actually get round to the code red question?’
‘You’re god damn right I might! That’s why I’m leading this prosecution, why I’m society’s protector. You see Kaffee in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall!’
This time they broke into laughter. They both knew it was more of a protective measure than anything else.
Sometimes, Mike considered, the most important mind games you played in the moments before you went into court were with yourself.
*Thank you so much to Kelly at Love Books Group, Urbane Books and the author Chris Parker for a copy of this book in return for my honest and unbiased review*
If you enjoyed my review or any of my other reviews, please share it on Twitter, Facebook, anywhere for other people to enjoy or if you fancy a chat stick a comment below. Thanks for stopping by! ♥