London is such a beautiful city in late spring. The gardens are all full of colour and masses of scented flowers. The trees too, are bursting in new fresh green canopies and even the air itself has a fresh feel about it. Everything is welcoming new life, after the dull grey winter, all looking forward to the warmer weather. It was as if the world was being reborn in all its magnificence, fresh, new, alive and vibrant. The dowdiness of a drab winter and all its grey, cold, colourless canvas, was being torn apart.
The traffic was light down Horse Guards Parade, as a new model Volvo made its way through St. James Park. It was only a short drive for Jack from Thames House, where his office at MI5 was located, to his home in Knightsbridge, something he did most lunch times. The air poured through his sunroof making Jack glad he was finally out of his office. He preferred to get out for a short break most days, as his office was located in a very high security area. Windowless, more like a cell than an office, actually his wife Rosemary always looked forward to him coming home for lunch and had something different every time, to tempt his taste buds. He looked forward to escaping, even for only an hour. Getting out into the outside world was something he considered as a blessing. One of the curses of working in MI5 was the need for absolute security and the total isolation, required to do his work.
Driving his Volvo with the roof open was a joy and his lungs welcomed the fresh crisp air. It was too short a trip, before he entered the tree-lined avenue to his home. The road was narrow and lined with impressive white buildings, once a very secluded private area, infiltrated lately, by the trendy young newcomers. As he neared his driveway, he saw a Municipal Gas Company van parked on the curb outside his home. Driving in, he noticed two men working near the gas meter box and they gave him a wave, which he returned. Rosemary was at the front door welcoming him with a big smile.
‘One of the neighbours reported a gas smell and they are checking all the connections for any leakage, already done next door, with no sign as yet. Come in darling, I decided we would be eating out on the porch, it is such a lovely day.’ Jack glanced once more at the two men, automatically taking in a few details, his mind always worked in one gear, suspicion. History had taught him, that nothing was as it appeared at first glance. Something he had realised after over twenty years battling crime and evildoers. He noted the faces and the look of the two men, then, locked them away in his memory banks. He was an expert in counter intelligence and surveillance techniques, but saw nothing to alert his senses.
Jack followed Rosemary in and they made their way out onto the porch, where a setting of fresh flowers and a salad bowl were laid out on the small table in the sunshine. A plate with fresh ham and his favourite, a pork pie cut into segments with fresh cut tomatoes, soon appeared with a pot of fresh tea. They started eating and he asked how her morning had gone, Rosemary knew better than ask him about his day, as invariably she knew the subject would be taboo and he would clamp up. It was a pleasant interlude in both their days and they always tried to make the most of it. It was such a different world to the one in which he spent most of his time. He could relax here, even for only an hour and refresh himself for the afternoon. Then, there would be the usual evening meetings that followed into the small hours.
‘Are you in a hurry to get back dear? I forgot we were nearly out of salad cream, and I could do with some more milk. Your car has blocked me in, so I will just use it and pop down to the shop on the corner, while these chaps are here. When I return you can head back to that meat grinder once you have finished your meal. You don’t mind do you? I’ll only be two minutes.’
He nodded and watched as the small bird on their lilac tree, prodded the new flower stems with its beak, as Rosemary got her purse and took his keys from the table.
‘Only be gone a minute, see you soon.’
Jack settled into this quiet peaceful world easily, so different to the mad helter skelter of his normal day. Away from the intrigue, the battle of wills and at times avoiding deadly encounters, and with the constant demanding decisions, always hammering at your brain. The split second timings, the pressure and the hope it was all worth the effort. He just allowed his head to slow down and enter this peaceful space, even for just a few minutes.
It was the sudden deadly sound of a loud WHOOMP that had all his nerves on alert and his mind racing. It was a sound he knew only too well, as it shattered the peace and quiet. Jack recognised it instantly, the awful sound of an explosion, suddenly being detonated. He had heard it many times before and he knew, that then something dreadful had taken place. It was followed almost immediately by another louder blast that shattered all the front windows and blew all the leaves from the trees. By the time he ran to the front door, all there was to see was a shattered burning wreckage of what had been his car, in the middle of the front garden. He tried to reach it, but the heat was too great and people were arriving from surrounding houses. They had to forcefully restrain and hold him back, as he tried to reach into the flames, but it was all to no avail, it was burning too fiercely.
‘Rosemary! Rosemary, my wife, was driving my car.’ He looked for the two gas employees, thinking it might have been a gas explosion that caused his car to explode. They were nowhere to be seen. Minutes later and two police officers were on the scene, closely followed by a fire engine and they soon had the area cordoned off and started taking details. He was in total confusion, but had the sense to phone his office and give a half garbled message, that sent alarm bells ringing loudly. Immediately emergency procedures swung into action and people were on their way to assist. Within thirty minutes the area was declared a crime scene and forensic experts were combing the area. He was in the lounge room with no panes left in the windows and the floor covered in broken glass. He was staring blankly into space, not understanding what had happened.
‘Jack,’ it was his boss Commander Newman. ‘I’m not sure what happened yet, but all evidence so far points to a powerful bomb under your car, probably detonated by the ignition key. If there is any consolation, Rosemary would have been killed instantly, she would have known nothing about it. The second loud explosion appears to have been the petrol tank also igniting, turning it into an inferno. It appears to be a professional job and most likely you were the target, just unfortunately Rosemary was the victim. Jack you should be dead. Only a fluke in timing saved you from suffering the same fate. Look, we are moving you to a safe house for your safety and to give our people time to scour the area for clues as to who the perpetrators were.
Jack, without any objections, was removed from the scene and was in a virtual dream world, still not fully conscious of what had happened. They moved him to a safe house, close to the office and delegated two people to be with him at all times, until some sense returned for the whole disaster. Commander Newman was in no doubt that it was most likely a revenge attack, for the work they had done recently in shattering a powerful crime syndicate and thwarting their attempts to infiltrate the London scene. It was always on the cards, that in the efforts MI5 did to work in the interests of the police and Government to keep criminals out of Britain, there could be repercussions. He doubted they would find enough proof to indicate who was responsible, but already he had all Jack’s work and contacts on review. The whole weight of the Department’s considerable ability would be put into action to find and arrest the
A horrific car explosion kills the wife of an important MI5 operator. It was an attempted assassination that went terribly wrong, as he was the intended victim. It starts a vicious attack on the crime gang responsible by a MI5 hit squad operating outside of official control but seeking revenge.
Rory Glassen finds himself caught between this rogue element and the crime gang, who are sure he is to blame for their all their woes. Just escaping from a deadly attack and tracking down the true culprits again exposes him to great personal danger.
The final showdown between all three combatants results in a violent murderous confrontation deep in the English South Coast. Thinking their tormentor has finally perished, the gang relaxes in a victory celebration only to find out that the end is still to be played out.
About the Author
George Lockie is a Scottish-born author who served six years in the parachute regiment. George migrated to Australia in 1965 and traveled extensively with business for over twenty years. George has written three other novels, all with strong military connections and a common main character in all the novels. The novels are crime thrillers with exciting plots.