Sunday, January 3, 2021

Foxtrot Hotel (Harriet Walsh, Book 4) by Simon Haynes

Release date: December 31, 2020
Subgenre: Science fiction mystery, Humorous science fiction

About Foxtrot Hotel:


 First a dead body shows up on Harriet's favourite beach.

Then she discovers the whole place is going to be bulldozed for an apartment complex.

She's convinced the two are connected, but she'll have to untangle a web of lies and corruption to reach the truth.

Meanwhile, someone has decided that the best way to avoid discovery is to silence Harriet... for good!




 Harriet had to tap the screen several times before she managed to place her call. "Bernie, it's Harriet," she said, in a low voice. "I just found a body on the beach."
"I see. Have you notified the coroner?"
Harriet frowned at Bernie's matter-of-fact tone. She hadn't expected hysterics, but maybe some kind of emotion, even if it was just a programmed response. "Not yet, no. I thought I'd report it first."
"Very well. And did you collect the litter I sent you for?"
"No, I have not collected the litter," snapped Harriet. "There's someone lying here dead, and for some reason I thought they might take priority over a few sweet wrappers and paper cups."
"Of course, of course. But you will complete your mission before returning, yes?"
"As you wish," growled Harriet, and she hung up. Then she called the coroner's office, and after a brief wait she got the automated answering service.
"Please state your name."
"This is Peace Force officer Harriet Walsh, currently at Horseshoe Cove," she said. "I'm afraid there's a body--"
"Name too long. Please restate your name."
Harriet's lips thinned. "Harriet Walsh."
"What is the nature of your call?"
"Dead body," said Harriet curtly, unwilling to risk a longer explanation.
"Thank you Harriet. Connecting you now."
A moment later she heard a man's voice, human. "Thanks for waiting. Did you say you had a body for collection?"
"Yeah, this is Peace Force officer Harriet Walsh, at Horseshoe Cove. The deceased is two thirds of the way along the beach. Looks like a male, somewhere between fifty and sixty years of age. It's hard to tell."
"Thank you, officer. Will you wait for the team?"
"I'll be in the carpark. You can't miss me, I'm with the Peace Force cruiser." Harriet rang off, still eying the shoe, the trouser leg and especially the tattoo. It showed a dagger of some kind, with a skull motif on the handle and the blade wrapped in barbed wire. Some kind of gang marking? Military or special forces? Or just someone who had too much to drink and thought it looked cool?
Harriet took out her commset and snapped pictures of the leg and the tattoo, and then she took some of the surrounding area, including the pristine sand. She couldn't see any footprints, other than her own leading up from the shoreline, but she figured Bernie might be able to analyse the shots, especially if she took a few from different angles. She suspected the body had washed ashore, perhaps drifting for several kilometres beforehand, but there was always the chance the man had been walking the beach before suffering a fatal heart attack.
That did not explain the seaweed covering the body, though.
Harriet crouched, checking the mound of drying vegetation. It was tangled into an impenetrable mass, and when she moved a metre or two away and tried to brush at the surface, it tore up in dark, wet handfuls. No, there was no way the body had been covered by hand.


Amazon | Paperback 

About Simon Haynes:

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock series, the Hal Junior series, and the upcoming Harriet Walsh series, as well as several dozen short stories. He is also the programmer and designer behind Spacejock Software, and is responsible for popular programs like yWriter and yBook.


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