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Two Kinds of Blood by Jane Ryan
About The Book
The Fuentes Cartel, Venezuala’s largest manufacturers of cocaine drugs are dealing directly with Irish gangland criminals. Detective Garda Bridget Harney is desperate to get her career back on track – and continue her personal pursuit of Seán Flannery, who she believes to be responsible for her partner’s death. When one of her informants leads to the seizure of a container of smuggled coke, she strikes a bargain to get a placement in the Criminal Assets Bureau. The consignment was meant for Flannery and his crew, but he goes to ground, realising both the police and the Cartel are vying for his capture. There is no question as to which he fears more.
A body is discovered in the Dublin mountains and DNA evidence at the scene ties the killing to Flannery, which makes Bridget even more desperate to track him down. She gets a hit when Flannery is spotted in Barcelona. As she races to the Catalan capital, the Cartel and Spanish police collaborators are already tightening a fatal net around the Dublin criminal. Who will get to him first – and will Bridget choose justice over revenge?
We stood in the quiet and I raised my head, a dog sniffing for lookouts. Nothing but cold country air. I nudged Liam and pointed towards the truck-wash area. A juggernaut had its dark face pushed into the cone of light above the steam jets, an international shipping container on its rear axis. He took out his phone and snapped a picture, magnifying it with a flick of his fingers. ‘No one inside, but it’s a UK reg,’ he said.
‘Could be Flannery’s. Tell the Cig to slow down and approach with caution.’
The whole garage was eerie as hell, more stranded spaceship than service station. A single operator and no other living thing in sight. Liam texted Cig Murray: Set-up.
‘How did this truck get here before us?’ said Liam. ‘We never caught sight of it on the roads.’ ‘Tout never told me what time they left the Port – for all we know the truck’s been here for hours.’
A ping in the ensuing silence made me jump. Liam showed me the text from Inspector Murray on his phone: Fan out.
‘OK,’ said Liam.
Both of us were gun-range regulars, every month instead of the prescribed three times a year, and had our holsters unbuttoned, not our weapons drawn. The provocation of drawn guns was for television and escalated a situation. However, the Garda were not transparent in what constitutes reasonable use of force in these situations, never making Garda rules of engagement public. It’s more act-first-ask-forgiveness-later and Cig Murray struck me as this type of individual. He had eight detectives in an arc outside the halo of halogen light from the garage. Weapons drawn and gung-ho heads on them. Of course, I was not above shooting Seán Flannery if it were him and me, with some modicum of fairness attached, but I wouldn’t let anyone face a firing squad. ‘There’s no one in that cab, Liam. Signal your cig and get him to calm down. They’ve gone all OK Corral on us.’ I hadn’t given Liam sufficient credit. He stared down one or two of the detectives, all the while tapping his holstered weapon.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Some of them got the message and put their guns back in. Cig Murray was a cocked-and-locked cliché advancing forward. Apart from armed gardaí, no one else was on the forecourt. One of the detectives walked over to the serving hatch as if he wanted the daily special. He rested his elbow on the silver drawer. The man behind the till shook his head until it was a blur and pointed to the truck. The detective waved a hand at the rest of us.
Said, ‘Driver left half an hour ago. Told him not to move as they’ve a tap into his CCTV.’ ‘Christ!’ said Liam. ‘And he believed it!’
We converged and circled the truck. Human adrenaline had an odour and contrary to popular belief it wasn’t fresh and fizzy, rather more burnt solder. Liam made a motion with his forefinger and thumb to indicate he was going to open the container. It had no seals. The shutter lock was open and dangled under the lock box. Liam and Cig Murray pulled the handles of the long vertical columns that kept the doors in place. They swung out and we scattered to each side – no one up to taking a bullet to the head. Silence.
Our voices were an off-key choir. Nothing. We moved in pairs, one garda in front, hands free for his or her gun, the other garda at the back with a torch aloft. The discs of bright light swept over cardboard boxes with Aceite de Oliva Barcelona stamped on the side. No cat’s eyes reflected off our beams.
‘Clear,’ said one of the detectives. ‘No one here.’
Liam turned to me, nostrils flared. ‘What’s this? Food?’
I motioned for him to follow me and jumped up into the container, my blue gloves on in a moment. Four other detectives followed my lead onto the container platform. The horse-stable smell of cardboard was overpowering. I cut through the masking tape of the nearest box, pulling out a tortilla, solid, yellow and shrink-wrapped. I threw it at Liam. He caught it one-handed and dropped it, his face covered in surprise at the weight.
‘I’m guessing we’re going to find the tortillas are in fact cocaine and the olive-oil containers have floaters,’ I said. ‘Don’t know how many of these little treasures there are in each box.’
Voices deeper into the container called out as other gardaí found similar packages. ‘Automatic weapons here,’ said a male voice. The gun-oil solvent smell lay under the faecal pong of cardboard. Liam made a small tear in one of the tortilla shrink wraps with a short blade he carried and pressed down either side, letting white powder push up. It had a ground aspirin texture.
‘The yellow colour must’ve been painted inside the plastic,’ said Liam. ‘Clever, but the interior’s cocaine.’
‘Any identifying stickers?’ I said.
‘This,’ said Liam, opening the inside flap of a box with a sun logo emblazoned on the side. ‘And this?’ It was an FC Barcelona soccer decal.
‘The sun is the Fuentes logo – it denotes their purity,’ I said. ‘The FC Barcelona decal might be Flannery’s new shipping sticker. It was Homer and Marge, but Fuentes must have changed it. Much good it will do us – as soon as they see the seizure on the news, they’ll change everything again.’
Nine pairs of eyes regarded me.
‘Can’t say she isn’t worth the price of admission,’ said Cig Murray.
No one laughed. Then he was on his phone calling for the Tech Bureau, bagging up the packet in Liam’s hand and telling his men to seal the area off. Puffed-up and shiny-faced with excitement, Cig Murray sensed his next promotion. Liam didn’t look so sure of himself and leaned in to me, so close his wet breath touched my ear.
‘Why would Flannery abandon a haul this size? After all the effort of the rip-off? And in a fuel station where anyone could find it?’
‘He didn’t have any choice. Flannery knew we were following him so ditched the container. He wasn’t going to lead us to the Farm.’
Liam’s face cemented with the truth of my words.
‘Flannery was tipped off,’ I said. ‘We have an informer in the DOCB.’
About The Author
Jane Ryan studied with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and has worked in the technology sector in UK and US multi-nationals for almost twenty years. She has written articles for The Irish Times and the Irish Daily Mail and was short-listed for the Hennessy Literary Award.
Her debut novel, 47 Seconds – which also features Bridget Harney – was published in 2019 and was short-listed for the inaugural John McGahern Annual Book Prize. Her work has won praise from Jo Spain, Jane Casey, Eoin Colfer and Patricia Gibney. Jane lives in Dublin with her husband and two sons.