The Killing Time [working title]

Intro: This is the beginning of my 1st DS Greaves novel in rough first draft. I’ve not yet edited it but hope it’s readable enough to invite your comments and critiques. Thanks.


Detective Sergeant Greaves’ mobile phone burst into Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, aka the theme to The Exodist. Greaves had uploaded it to his phone some while back, knowing how it would freak those of meak and weak minds in his Section hub and give credence to the rumour spun between his colleagues that he was a sicko, a weirdo.

       The ring tone made Detective Sergeant Alice Coleman stir beside him. “Christ, I thought you’d taken that thing off.” She groaned, turning over to stare, one sleepy eye open, at him.

He grinned at her as he punched the answer button with his thumb,

       “Greaves!” He announced to the caller.

       “You’re wanted in. Everybody’s wanted in. There’s been an incident in Burnley. Oh, it’s DC Bowan, by the way.”

       “Hi! Coming in. Can you fill me in? Give me a clue?”

       “Crime scene at the Clare House, that creepy place in the woods. Two bodies. The boss said it’s just your kind of thing.”

       “Right. Cheers!”

       Greaves punched the Call End button and put his mobile back on the bedside table. He looked at Coleman beside him. She was looking up at him sleepily, rubbing her eye.

       “We’re wanted.” He told her.

       “Great. What time is it?”

       “Six fifteen.”


       Greaves watched her roll away from him and throw the duvet off herself and walk off naked to the bathroom. A minute or so’s pause then the sound of the shower running. Greaves looked at the doors of his wardrobe and wondered if he had any clean shirts. He decided the only way to know was to look so, reluctantly, he got up. He took out a blue shirt and a pair of underpants. And began to dress. Coleman wandered back in, wrapped in his towel. She looked at him dressing and pulled a face, “When was the last time you had a wash?”

       “Yesterday.” He lied.

       She pulled a “Yuk” face of disbelief. “We had names for people like you at school.” She said, drying herself.

       “Smeghead. Crusty. Dickcheese.”

       “Something like that.” She said and threw the towel at him. He caught it and laughed.

       “Dick head!” She said, grinning back at him.

To the best of both their knowledge they had managed to keep their affair out of the station and section gossip. Both knew, however, that it probably would not be long before tongues began to wag. Both knew that this meant their affair had a short life span.

       Greaves kept to himself the fact that he did not really mind much if their time together had a shelf life.

       He preferred it that way. Honeymoon periods were preferable to the slow drag that led to break-ups. Greaves had seen too much how break-ups between officers and staff at the station could blow people’s lives apart and turn them into nightmares. Weeks, months of enduring gossip, snide remarks, station pranks and sometimes, if matters had really exploded shit everywhere, hard, nasty, revenge and bitterness. He had seen it all in action, on Facebook feeds, lies, obscene photos posted to be sniggered at by colleagues at leisure, the shared images on Snapchat and Instagram. There was even the odd time noticeboards still got pinned with obscene notices and pictures. Greaves was happy his reputation was such that most people gave him a wide birth. Not that there had not been times when ringleaders had tried to break him with rumour, gossip or lies. Water off a duck’s back.

He had The Passenger to thank for most of his lack of caring what people thought. The Passenger had his uses. And Greaves felt he had discovered how to control The Passenger and not let him loose when he, Greaves, needed to appear at least a little bit normal. Times like when women like DS Coleman accepted his invitation to “sleep over at mine?” He wondered what DS Coleman would make of The Passenger if she ever met him. He glanced over at her, almost dressed, putting the last touches of makeup on from the small makeup bag she kept in her handbag. Best hope he never got the chance to find out.



© TomSouthern 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Hello, just to say I enjoyed the read. It’s a great start, and shows much promise. As always with novels, we can pick and probe looking for loop holes in the plot, I don’t think that’s a problem here. For me, if I may offer critique, I would say you’ve over egged the info introducing the characters background stuff……. but that’s just me. I’m sure this will all come out in the edit. As I said, it’s a great start and I would read more please.
In friendship


Give me a few hours please and I’ll reply in detail.


Sorry to drag my feet, gone down with a chest infection. On antibiotics and rest etc… I will get back to you I promise. I just want to strip out some words and sentences, sharpen it up a bit. Brain not available at the moment.


Hello again Tom, my antibiotics are kicking in, I will try again. What I was trying to say was, when we write character driven stories we tend to give too much out too soon. Not leave enough for the reader to use their own imagination, invest in the story, to make the people their own. If we can get the reader to do this, they’re hooked. I’m no expert, this is just what has been drummed into me over the years I’ve been on this site…Less is more, Show don’t tell. Cut out as many unnecessary words as you can.… Read more »


Your welcome mate, as I said it’s only me HaHa!
In my back pages you can find a novel of mine called Webber. All that I’ve said to you was said to me on this one. It starts in Afghanistan as an introduction to the players. Maybe give it a look some time, let me know what you think. It’s not the first or even second draft:

It’s worth remembering on sites like this, if eveyone thought you were rubish, no one would take the time.


How far did you read Webber Tom? I got to about seventy thousand words. The next part was leading him back to Afghanistan, then Chemo arrived and fucked everything up.

I’m hoping to meet Webber again soon, re introduce myself HaHa! Writing my cancer journey has been the thing that has been upmost in my mind of late.


Mikeverdi is right. This is well-written and interesting, but I think it’s better to drop in details of the guy’s character here and there as the story progresses.


An interesting opening, TomSouthern, it starts off slowly, sleepily, foreshadowing the crime drama about to unfold and challenge DS Greaves later on. That is its hook for me. It left me with the feeling that his affair with DS Coleman would become the least of his worries once he becomes fully involved in working the Clare House crime. In my imagination, I see not only his special talent(s) tested to the fullest, but perhaps also his humanity. The fact that you’ve conjured such images in my mind reflects the quality of this intro. Look forward to reading more.

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