The book that introduced Sheriff John Withers to the world.

Nothing ever happens in Bakerton…

until one of the country’s richest bankers is brutally murdered in his mansion, along with several of his associates.

When Sheriff John Withers begins his investigation, he soon realises there are two separate killers out there and each of them has a different agenda. It is clear that they are both set on course for a final showdown… with Withers and his deputies in the line of fire.

But when a young woman goes missing as well, the stakes become unbearably high.

Read snippets Meet the characters

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Book Snippets

Meet the Characters

Sheriff John Withers

Withers is the sheriff of Bakerton and its surrounding hamlets of Thurlow Junction and Copper Ridge. We first meet him as he begins an investigation into the brutal murders of banking magnate Leroy Figgis and some of his associates.

Withers is a widower, his wife Heather having been murdered in their flat by a young burglar. Withers found Heather and held her until she passed away just before the ambulance arrived. It was this event which prompted his need to join the police service. He has remained single ever since, dedicated to his job and the small community to which he has become an important part. Then Judith Wiseman comes on the scene…

Deputy Douglas “Dawg” Janowski

Dawg is Withers’s senior deputy. In his early twenties, he is married to Kitty and has a young son, Matthew. He is devoted to Withers, but has never understood why the sheriff always refers to him as “Deputy Dawg” or just “Dawg”. He is far too young to understand!

Pat Rafferty

Rafferty is a special agent parachuted in ostensibly to help Sheriff Withers, although he is also there to make sure the lawman does the job properly. They start off on the wrong foot, but eventually they soften with each other, and by the end they are good friends and solve the case together.

Judith Wiseman

An experienced journalist on the Altona Oracle, Judith is a vivacious auburn-haired force of nature who pursues her quarry with relentless pressure. At first, she struggles to get any information on the case out of the dour Sheriff Withers, so her next suggestion is an article on his personal life instead! When he explodes with anger, she realises that she needs to smooth the situation, and a breakfast of apology at Scotty’s Diner appears to do the trick. With their relationship now on an even keel and blossoming, Judith turns her attention to one of the main suspects in the murders… and her pressure certainly pays off!

Ty Cobden aka Lucas Black

An ex-employee and good friend of the murdered Leroy Figgis, Ty Cobden (then going under the name Lucas Black) is called back to Bakerton by another associate after the killings. To hide his tracks, Ty commits a murder himself, but the fact prays on his conscience. He is desperate to hunt down the killer of his friend Leroy, and when he learns that it is his old adversary he thought was long dead, it becomes a race against time to find The General. When a teenage girl is then abducted, it is imperative that the case is solved quickly. But will Ty beat Sheriff Withers in the race to stop The General?

The General

Real name William Rhodes, The General took his name from the old Buster Keaton film about a train released in 1926. Rhodes felt he was like that train – strong and unstoppable. He had served time for murdering his slob of a father, and after connecting with another inmate, he was given the opportunity to fly with Leroy Figgis on his illegal trips to the island of Lanscarges. Ty Cobden was also on the flights. They took an instant dislike to each other, and this led to confrontation when Leroy appeared to go rogue, and The General had to get things back on track for his secret boss. It ended with a gunfight on the beach and what everyone thought was the end of The General. However, four years later, he is back, seeking revenge…