A law unto himself

Captured with the evidence: Andy Duffin with the cover of “Execution of Duty”.
Captured with the evidence: Andy Duffin with the cover of “Execution of Duty”.

A retired Police Sergeant ‘fesses up Christine Conlin about his literary life of crime

A retired copper in Cotes Heath has turned to crime – writing it, that is. Andy Duffin’s first book, “Execution of Duty” has just come out on Amazon as a hardback or eBook and as an ebook on W H Smith’s eReader, Kobo.

Liam Burgess and his criminal team are stealing another top marque car from an innocent victim. Their getaway is planned, clean and crisp, however this was not their night and Burgess is caught following a dramatic police chase. Fortunately for Burgess his father is well connected. He is found not guilty during his trial and promptly returns to his life of crime.

Sounds familiar? All too familiar for one of his pursuers, who resolves to become Burgess’s judge, juror and executioner. The criminal world is fearful. Is it one lone vigilante at work – or is the vengeance more organised? Who will be the next target? And will the killer ever be caught? Goals accomplished, the killer is about to melt back into society when a shocking truth is uncovered. Is this where it all ends?

What prompted Andy to take up crime fiction?

“Reading ‘Fortress’ by Andy McNab while on holiday at a friend’s villa in Spain last summer,” he explained. “It was so thrilling and gripping that I wanted to write something like that myself. I thought I had a book in me, too, especially after 24 years with the police.”

He Googled ‘How to write a book in 30 days’ which taught him how to develop characters, create a structure with a beginning, middle and end and finished the 50,000 word manuscript in three months.

The theme of his book is Andy’s frustration with the English judicial system, which, in his opinion, gives more priority to suspects than to victims, until recently, at any rate.

Its characters, settings and plot twists are inspired by Andy’s police career from which he retired as a sergeant at Stafford Police Station, which also covered Stone and Eccleshall.

“The coppers are all based on real life all bobbies I used to know, and the baddies are the villains of my 24 year police career. If I couldn’t convict them in court, I’ll serve them justice in fiction,” Andy declared.

A female officer in book was based on a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Andy used to know at Longton.

“Inside the police station, she came across as timid. After every group briefing, she’d come for a one-to-one to check she’d got it right. But out on the streets, she was a different person entirely, confident, assertive, but very caring too.”

Local readers may be able to identify some of Andy’s settings. Take the farmhouse with a long, straight potholed drive leading to a straight stretch of main road.

“You’ve got good vision from the farmhouse first floor windows up and down the main road and could see any police vehicles a mile off. If they did come in, the potholed drive would slow them down.”

Behind the farm are outbuildings where the stolen luxury cars are stored, awaiting pre-dawn collection by the transporter that takes them to a port for shipment overseas.

“It’s the place where the released Liam meets his thieving buddies, grovels to the gaffer for messing up and organises his next theft,” Andy reveals.

Another scene is set in the winding roads of a modern housing estate where the police team pursuing Liam disturb a burglary. Forced to reverse in a cul-de-sac, they lose sight of him, only to discover his abandoned car. They catch up with him, chasing him through front gardens and almost corner him at a level crossing when the barriers come down and Liam disappears under a train – for ever?

“Execution of Duty” also strikes a topical note, with its opening scene taking place in 2010 between the newly elected British Prime Minister and his newly appointed Home Secretary. The topic is victim support and how to push this further up the political and legal agenda.

The closing scene is a conversation between the same Prime Minister and Home Secretary five years later, just prior to a general election. The Prime Minister asks the Home Secretary if victims are now getting a better deal five years down the line. “Yes, “she declares, brandishing the statistics to prove it. But how has this been achieved?

“Execution of Duty” by Andy Duffin costs £1.99 as a Kindle or Kobo eBook and £6.99 in paperback.