I recently re-read this book and man it just reminded me how awesome Gina is….do I need to gush anymore? LOL. Well of course!
Today I have a beautiful excerpt from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot but you might need tissues for this one. Although her books are like ridiculously funny, here Gina is sharing the harsher side of her/Mavis’ job. My heart broke in this scene. Before I share the excerpt, let us check out the book.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. .Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham
Published by Urbane Publications on October 1, 2018
Buy on Amazon UK
Add to Goodreads
Also by this author: Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes
The laughter continues to flow in Gina Kirkham's brilliant sequel to the wonderful Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong.
Our hapless heroine Constable Mavis Upton is preparing to step down the aisle with her fiancé Joe, but has to deal with her temperamental teen daughter, as well as investigate a serial flasher on a push bike.
Throw a diva drag queen into the mix and readers can expect the usual hilarious Mavis mishaps that made the first book such a hit.
Revel in Gina Kirkham's humorous, poignant and moving stories of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.
And on to the excerpt…
AS MUCH AS IS NEEDED….
Broken glass crunched beneath my boots, the road, wet with rain, glimmered and shone from the orange glow of the street lamps. I walked the scene, my heart heavy.
“One fatal, one likely to prove Mavis, I’m sorry…” Brian touched my arm. He’d been a Paramedic for as long as I could remember, we’d met up at many incidents over the years. I was grateful for that one small action; his touch gave proof of life amidst death.
“Thanks Brian, Traffic are dealing, I’ll speak to the Sarge see what’s needed from divisional patrols.” I watched him walk away, his head lower than it had been at the first shout, his shoulders carrying a heavier burden than it had an hour ago. I knew that like us, once he had finalised his response, those very same shoulders would carry the weight of another shout, another trauma, another incident.
Just how much more can our shoulders take?
In truth, as much as is needed.
The trees and nearby buildings were lit with an array of flashing blue. Voices called from radios on different channels, instructions being given, information being relayed backwards and forwards, Fire, Police, Ambulance, working together with an urgent calm.
The wreckage of what had been two vehicles formed a silhouette against the halo of light that radiated from the arc lamps provided by the Fire unit, a grotesque dance of mangled metal. I stood silent, taking it all in, man-made carcasses that had changed so many lives in the blink of an eye, the smell of diesel carried on the cold breeze, the pallid faces of passers-by and witnesses huddled together behind the blue and white police tape. Not wanting to look, but the dark side of human nature seeping in, compelling them to.
“You okay Mave?” Bob stood beside me, trying not to intrude on my thoughts, but clearly keen to make sure I was fit to carry on. I nodded my head. “I’m fine, it just seems so bloody pointless, such a terrible waste of life and for what, that extra pint, a shot of vodka. When will they ever learn?” The flash from the forensic Investigator’s camera lit up the scene, making the shattered glass sparkle like diamonds against the inky blackness of the wet tarmac.
“The other driver’s in my car kid, me and Degsy are going to take him in, he’s well over the limit, can’t even speak, let alone walk.” He jerked his head towards his patrol car. Degsy was sitting in the back, a young lad beside him, his shoulders hunched, the pale, almost putty like colour of his face just visible through the window.
“Just to let you know, the dad has proved too, he died a few minutes ago, it’s confirmed.” The sadness in Bob’s voice was palpable, as though he was fighting the urge to break down and cry.
A rage suddenly burned inside me, my breath sharp and painful. How could he walk away with barely a scratch when two precious lives had been lost? I wanted to run over, drag the bastard out of the car, punch him, kick him, throw him against the mangled wreckage, push his face right up to it, show him the lifeless child in the back, the small hand still clutched to a plastic Darth Vader. I wanted to show him exactly what he had done.
But I can’t, we don’t do things like that do we? We pick up the pieces.
“Just take him in Bob, I’ll see what Traffic need to assist and I’ll catch up with you later.” I left him standing there as I walked away, trying to get as far as possible from the boy, for that’s what he was, who had willingly drunk to excess, had chosen to get behind the wheel of his car, had driven it and in turn had wiped out one half of a family.
I saw Beryl walking towards me, deep down I knew what would be expected of me, and I wasn’t wrong.
“Mavis, can you accompany Al Sherwood from Traffic, he needs a female officer. Go in your own patrol car, meet him at the home address, he’s got all the details, but I’ve written them down for you too.” She proffered me a piece of paper. I held it in my hand not wanting to unfold it, not wanting to know their names or the names of those lives I was about to rip apart.
Maybe if I didn’t open it, maybe if I didn’t read it, then maybe, just maybe it wouldn’t be real.
“I’m sorry Mavis, I really am, such a terrible time of year too.” She touched my hand, another show of camaraderie and support.
I stood and looked at the house. An ordinary house in an ordinary road. A little cosy semi-detached, a home, a haven. Warm light cast a glow at the edge of the drawn curtains in the bay window.
My heart almost broke in two.
Beautiful lights twinkled around the porch, the oak front door played host to a wreath made of holly, little red balls glittered and swayed, the gold bells tinkling as the gentle wind blew. An ornate Season’s Greetings gave its good wishes across the middle. Cut out snowflakes, so clearly made by little hands, hung from a small artificial tree, tilted to one side in its silver pot.
My fingers traced the length of the festive bow that covered the lion head door knocker. How the hell was I going to be able to tell a family that a five-minute journey to the shops had meant those they loved would never be coming home, not this Christmas, not next Christmas, not ever. A husband and daddy, a son and brother, wiped out by a drink driver. I hesitated, just waiting to hear a voice that would tell me it had been a terrible mistake, for me to be able to turn around and go back to my normal patrol. I wanted to be cruising the Oaklands Estate keeping it safe, or even in the middle of a full-scale pub fight.
Anything but this.
“It’s not easy Mave, it never is, it doesn’t matter how many times we have to do this, it still feels like the first.” Al waited for me to respond. I didn’t know if I could, I was frightened my voice would break. After all my years in the job, loss of life, for whatever reason, made me an emotional wreck.
Keep it inside. It’s not for anyone to see.
“I’m good, no problem, how do you want to do this? Take it you’ll be the lead?” My professional head had to take precedent; I’d worry about my heart later.
“AM13, AM13 to Alpha…” I let my thumb slowly lift from the radio button and waited. Spots of rain peppered the windscreen, blurring the fairy lights, creating orange halos on the street lamps.
“Go ahead Mave.”
“Yep, Heidi, I’m just clearing from Bromsgrove Place. If you could mark the log please, death message has been given by myself and Tango patrol, 6558 Sherwood. He’s asked for the log to be sent over to him; they’ll be finalising from their end.” Waiting for her reply, I caught sight of myself in the rear-view mirror.
A police officer, a wife, mum and daughter on the outside but inside, I’d changed, I didn’t know who I was supposed to be anymore.
“Thanks Mavis, are you coming in for refs now, Sergeant Scully has asked to see you as soon as you land.”
My thumb hovered over the button. I clicked, opening the airwaves.
“On my way Heidi, thanks.”
Turning the key in the ignition, the engine roared into life. My left hand dropped down to feel for the handbrake, faltered momentarily and then involuntarily came up to my mouth, pressing my fingers against my lips, as I choked back a sob.
Maybe if I press hard enough, it’ll stay inside.
The first hot tears pricked and burned. I swallowed, but the feral wail forced its way up from my throat, spilling the tears over onto my cheeks, warm, wet and strangely comforting.
As the physical pain in my heart threatened to smash it into a thousand pieces….
I lost my battle and shamelessly wept.
I am not even going to deny it, when I read this bit in the book and again, I gasped and I shed a tear or two such a heartbreaking moment for anyone to have to deal with all on all sides.
What do other reviewers say?
Rosie Write says :- I laughed so much I think I hurt something in my chest. Gina Kirkham writes about the trials and tribulations of life, being a police officer and a parent, with a humour that makes even the most difficult situations less painful and finds the humour even in the hardest times. Her character, Mavis Upton is down to earth and likeable, a good copper, who finds humour in life, no matter what the disaster, coping with her dad’s dementia, and investigating the Dodgy Doughnutter plaguing the women of the village, with the same good cheer and devotion to duty.
Novel Deelights says :- I’ve loved every minute of catching up with Mavis. No matter how crappy my day is going, she always manages to make me smile. This series is the perfect escapism, wrapped in a slightly quirky but delightful bow. I do so hope there will be more from Mavis! [Did you know she has her own Twitter account?] Hugely entertaining and you should grab yourself a copy and meet her for yourself. We all need a little bit of Mavis in our lives!
Karen’s World says:- I cannot remember the last time I laughed out loud at something that was written but this will have you in stitches, I loved every single part of it. The characters are really good and all just blend together to make a real good package, I love Mavis and will have to read the previous book now as I know how funny it is going to be.
The Haphazardous Hippo says :- I love Gina’s writing style, as she manages to convey each and every anecdote in such a way that I feel as though I’m right there with the characters and at one point I was literally in amongst them all. There I was strutting my stuff in a hippo costume along with Mavis and her friends on her hen night, the tears were literally streaming down my face as I read that particular incident!
Hope this has encouraged you to look further!
Until next time xxx