The Novels of Lesley Horton
From honour killings to domestic violence, forbidden affairs and ritual sacrifice - Lesley Horton shows with chilling accuracy what can happen behind closed doors... Years of policing have turned John Handford and Khalid Ali into two of the best investigators on their force. But nothing stays the same for ever - and promotion has set the newly-styled DCI Handford and DI Ali on separate cases. Handford is on the trail of a young woman who's vanished without a trace, while Ali is tracking the killer of a 96-year-old pensioner murdered in her own home.
But the stories of these two woman, generations apart, look set to converge in gruesome fashion. Handford and Ali must investigate spurned lovers, feuding families, cash-hungry conmen and even the ghosts of men buried alive a century back, to unpick the bitter motivations behind the rising body count. With her trademark fiendish plotting and shocking realism, Lesley Horton once again lifts the lid on the horrors that can hide behind the facade of everyday life.
The Hollow Core
Behind closed doors, every family has its secrets. The Ingleby family must look to theirs when Diane Ingleby is shot after a family outing. DI John Handford and DS Khalid Ali are called in to investigate and it soon emerges that Diane's husband, Maurice, is widely suspected to be the money behind the local branch of the BNP.
He's been on the receiving end of threats before, and it seems his wife might have been caught in the middle. It's a sensitive case, and Handford and Ali are joined by trainee DC Parvez Miah - son of an influential local Muslim community leader. But when Aisha, Miah's wife, is found badly beaten, it seems that the Inglebys may not be the only family with skeletons in the cupboard.
Tension mounts as accusations fly from all sides with the approach of the local elections - but everyone is silent where it matters most. Is it shame, honour, or old-fashioned fear that's keeping everyone quiet? Handford and Ali must find out before another woman is silenced - permanently.
To be published by Orion December 2006
Devils in the Mirror
It is almost midnight on Halloween. Firefighters following up a fourth hoax call to Druids Altar, a local beauty spot high on Harden Moor, discover the body of Shayla Richards, a young black girl.
The post-mortem shows that Shayla was suffocated and sexually assaulted; photographs of her body at the crime-scene suggest a ritual sacrifice. DI John and Handford and DS Khalid Ali soon discover that Shayla's past is anything but straightforward.
Over a year before her death, she accused a teacher of a sexual attack while in school. Although the teacher was suspended, the case collapsed when it came to trial. The murder investigation is never going to be easy and the police find themselves caught between factions who insist the dead girl had been a compulsive liar. Yet events take a more sinister turn when Handford discovers his prime suspect seems to be a man without a past. In fact, he doesn't even seem to exist...
Published by Orion September 2005
On Dangerous Ground
There's no child prostitution crisis in Bradford that's the official line. The truth, as Detective Inspector Handford and Sergeant Khalid Ali find, is very different.
When a young boy and then a girl are cruelly murdered within a few days of each other, Handford and Ali are plunged into their most shocking investigation so far, uncovering not only the desperate plight of children trapped in Bradford's harsh criminal underworld, but murderous corruption and twisted minds in the most respected sections of the community.
Handford and Ali form a distinctly uneasy partnership against a background of urban and racial tensions, and struggle daily to repress their mutual suspicion. But they must put aside their differences and, with the rest of their team, probe into the dark and seedy lives of those who hold positions of trust, and stop a cold blooded serial killer from fulfilling his dreadful mission. But the culprit may be closer than they think...
Snares of Guilt
Described as a superb and gritty debut crime novel, SNARES OF GUILT marks the arrival of a compelling new voice and a brilliantly realised character in Detective Inspector John Handford.
Rukhsana Mahmood is dead, found battered about the head with a ferocity that indicates great rage.
Based at Bradford's Central Police Station, Detective Inspector John Handford is assigned the case. It's particularly sensitive as the Asian community is still reeling from the murder case he headed the previous year: he got the right man but at the cost of enormous racial divisions.
Now he's investigating another death that will rake up all the tensions from the past, and cause a whole lot more.
Along with Detective Sergeant Khalid Ali, who faces hostility and jibes of tokenism, DI Handford begins to probe possible motives for wanting Rukhsana dead. She made a mixed marriage and her husband Amajit's family makes no secret of their pleasure at her death.
But is this a punishment killing? Or was pleasant, quiet Rukhsana Mahmood betraying more than one person?
The line between love and hate is very thin....
Published by Orion in June 2002.
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