Two kids are murdered
Their gangland family want revenge
Two ten-year-old twin sisters are murdered outside their school. But they aren’t just anyone’s kids, their gangster Stanley Lewis’ daughters. When a rival gangster is arrested Stanley vows to take revenge. But his dad, feared villain Kenny Lewis, thinks there’s more going on. So he contacts the one group of people who he trusts to help him find the truth...
Jackie, Anna, Roxy and Ollie. Four women with shady pasts who take the cases people don’t take to the cops. They enter a world of easy sex and even easier violence where everyone, including the Lewis family, are hiding secrets. They soon realise someone will do anything to stop them finding out the truth. A truth, so shocking, it will tear the community apart.
Dreda On Hit Girls
Mitchell outguns Martina Cole for pure, shocking East End gangster grit. Daily Mirror
The novels complex plot shoots along at a terrific rate...what puts flesh on the bones and raises Mitchell's writing above the run of gangland thrillers is its psychological level. The Independent, The Wednesday Book
Exicitng, thrilling, gritty, compelling, hell there aren't enough adjectives to describe it. Read all the reviews at the Best Book Store website Best Book Store
The twin girls ran across the playground.
They were laughing their heads off.
Five minutes later they would be dead.
Three thirty on the dot the kids were streaming out at home time at Parkhurst Primary School on Claremont Road in the heart of London's East End.
“Oranges and lemons” played temptingly from an ice-cream van in a neighbouring street. The July sun dazzled in the clear, blue sky. The heat was hitting twenty-nine degrees C.
“Mum! Mum! Look at my picture,” one of the ten-year-old girls yelled as she waved a piece of paper in the air.
Their mum, twenty-seven year old Marina Lewis, smiled tightly back as she waited just inside the playground, near the former School Keeper’s house. She was size zero thin, medium height, shoulder length blonde hair she had done up every two weeks at Betty’s hair salon and blue eyes that darted behind false eyelashes as if she were looking for something better in life. But it didn’t matter how hard she tried to copy those celebs she read about in mags she bought for 99p a time she always looked like something that came from a bargain bucket.
She knew which of her daughters was calling out to her. Molly. Most people couldn’t tell the twins apart, but she could. Minnie was the talker, took after her, while Molly was the naughty one taking after her dad. Although she’d never been quite as naughty as her dad. She’d never murdered anyone in cold blood for a start. Although she felt the sun on her skin, she shivered. If he knew what she was planning to do…. She let the terrifying thought hang in the air.
She needed to get them away quick. Into the car where their suitcases and passports were packed ready to go. Hit Gatwick before her bastard of an ex realised what was going on. Whatever else was wrong with her life, and there was plenty wrong with it, her daughters had always been what was right about it. She’d lost faith in everything and everybody else but she’d kill and be killed for these girls, she’d never been in any doubt about that.
Oranges and lemons.
The sound of the ice-cream van got closer. Her nails dug into her Chloe Paddington shoulder bag as Minnie and Molly, continued to run towards her. The girls’ excitement added to the beautiful summer’s day. They had the sun behind them shining through their blonde hair and in the crowd of other children rushing towards their parents, they seemed to be floating rather than running towards her.
“My little angels,” she whispered.
Her blue eyes shifted momentarily away from her beloved girls as she flicked her gaze onto a group of other parents. Seeing her eye them up they almost took a step back. Wankers. The other parents milling at the gate might nod to her, but they never came anywhere near her. Mind you she couldn’t blame them really. They knew what she was. Or rather had been. Stanley Lewis’s missus. Well ex-missus now. Had been divorced for the last two years. But Stanley wasn’t your normal husband or run-of-the-mill dad, no, he was what he liked to call the ‘managing director’ of East London's notorious Lewis gang. Well at least he was while the old man, Kenny, was doing bird for robbery in Oldgate Prison, something Stan didn’t thank you for reminding him of. She felt the looks of the other mums, the fear and envy, the respect and contempt. Marina’s gaze stopped on the only parent who had the nuts to look her straight in the eye like a normal person. Jackie Jarvis. Short cropped red hair, green eyes, freckles and who might be barely a couple of inches above five foot but was as tough as nails. Jackie had a strength in her face that Marina knew she would never have. The other woman boldly met Marina’s blue gaze. Nodded and sent her a whatsup? smile. Marina nodded back but didn’t smile. She didn’t have time for that not with her worrying about...
“Mum, mum.” She forgot about Jackie as a small body barrelled into her. Minnie looked up at her with her pearly white teeth and excitedly gushed, “Look at what I drew.”
No kisses and hugs for her little ladies today.
“We ain’t got time for that now,” Marina pushed Minnie back. “We need to get going.”
She quickly turned, missing Minnie’s look of disappointment as she headed out of the school gate. Her hand shook, dipping into her bag, searching for a smoke. She needed to calm down her nerves. The other parents and kids pushed out with her onto the street.
“Oh mum, please…” Minnie whined behind her.
“Not now, get moving,” she snapped not bothering to turn around. She found her pack of Bensons. Pulled it out. Popped one to her painted lips as she gazed idly down the street. That’s when the smoke caught in the back of her throat, when she saw the black Merc, with the black-tinted windows, picking up speed as it came down the street towards the school.
Thirty-six-year old Jackie Jarvis knew there was going to be trouble as soon as she saw the Merc, tyres squealing, coming to a halt outside her sons’ school. If there was one thing that she had learned in her life it was how to spot trouble when it came blowing down the street.
Oranges and lemons.
The ice-cream van was around the corner. She hugged her ten-year-old twin boys, Darius and Preston, as she looked over their heads as the passenger door of the car was flung open.
“Mum, can I get an ice-cream?” Preston eagerly asked.
She looked down at him as he pushed himself out of her arms. Darius was the sparkier of the twins taking after his dad, while Preston was still mummy’s little boy. They both had their dad’s smooth brown, Caribbean skin and Preston liked to have small flicked up dreads in his hair at the front just like his dad wore all over. She nodded absently and with a whoop he hopped, skipped and jumped down the street. But Jackie saw none of that as her gaze went back to the car. She sucked in her breath when she saw who got out.
Stanley Lewis. Leather jacket, gelled brown hair, D&G shades and that mean look he wore when he was on duty as an East End street thug. Two other men got out of the motor, leaned against the bodywork and watched their boss get on with his work.
She drew Darius closer to her side, her arm curling around the Arsenal rucksack on his back.
Oranges and lemons.
“You thinking about taking my kids away bird?” Stanley shouted at his ex-missus. “Who do you think you’re dealing with here? A social worker or something?” But he didn’t wait for an answer, instead he swaggered up to his ex-wife like a pop star on a shoot.
An unnatural hush fell over the other parents as they drew their kids protectively to their side. Darius looked across at Molly with frightened eyes. Jackie knew her boy was sweet on the little cutie, although he’d never admit it in a million years. They were tight those two, always getting up to all kinds of naughties at school. Her son’s first love and it had to be some villain’s daughter.
She held him tight as the street soap turned dirty.
Marina grabbed her daughters’ hands as she tried to march past her former husband.
“You know the rules Stan – or do I have to go back to court and remind you of them? Today ain’t one of your visiting days so fuck off.”
A few of the parents let out shocked noises on hearing the f word and put their hands over their kids ears. But they didn’t leave. Two-faced creeps, Jackie thought. They should be belting the other way with their kids, the way they always treated Marina like a leper, but they couldn’t resist watching a bit of good old fashioned east end drama. Beats having to pay west end theatre prices any day of the week.
Stanley pushed himself threateningly towards his former old lady. “I know what your game is babe…”
“Ain’t there a tart on a barstool waiting for you somewhere?” She spat the words in his face.
His arm came up so quick that not even Jackie saw it coming. He struck Marina a stinging blow across her flushed face. Some moved forward to stop the violence and then caught the eye of Stan’s goons and thought better of it. The crowd sucked in their breath as she stumbled onto the outer wall of the school. Minnie and Molly shifted quickly to the side, out of harms way. But didn’t cry, as if they had seen this all before. Seeing the distress of his friend, Darius tried to wriggle out of his mum’s arms, but Jackie held him tight. No way was her boy getting involved in this mess.
Oranges and lemons.
Jackie’s gaze flicked down the road as she heard the ice-cream van once more, checking on Preston. But she couldn’t see him or the van.
Marina launched herself off the wall. “Some kind of tough guy, aren’t you…?” She swung her arm and clawed at her Stan’s face with her four inch, bubblegum pink acrylic nails.
He let out a yelp as her nails dug into his skin. He bashed her arm to the side with a vicious blow. Used both hands to shove her in the belly. She slammed back into the wall. He grabbed her hair with one hand. Yanked her head to the side. Swung his other hand and belted her in the face. She cried out. He twisted his hand and backhanded her across the other cheek. This time he split her lip. Maybe it was the taste of blood in her mouth that finally tipped Marina over the edge, but Jackie watched as she screamed and flew at her ex-husband with both arms raised. Surprised by her attack he stumbled back, his shades falling and smashing on the ground.
“You ain’t having ‘em,” she screamed as she hit him, over and over again, with her fists.
Everyone’s eyes were on the fighting couple so no one noticed as their daughters rushed further away, along the wall. Jackie hugged a shocked Darius and debated whether she should step in. Pull them apart. Remind them that their daughters and the whole friggin’ world was watching them.
She made her decision. “Don’t move,” she whispered to her son.
But just as she stepped away from him another voice yelled out. “What is going on here?”
Everyone turned to find the headteacher, Mrs. Moran, standing just outside the school gate. Jackie stopped moving. If there was one person who could sort this out it was Mrs. Moran. No one fucked with her, including the parents. It was one of the reasons Jackie had opted to send the boys to the school. Mrs. Moran ran a tight ship, put excellent results at the top of the school’s priority list and didn’t take shit from no one.
Even Marina and Stanley stopped their scrap when they saw her. Jackie would say later, along with a couple of the other parents, that maybe they could’ve done something if they hadn’t had their eyes glued to Mrs. Moran. But they had and no one saw what came next.
The sound on the street was an odd echo of Stan’s earlier arrival, for another vehicle was accelerating down the street at high speed. Jackie looked up the road towards it, as did everyone else. Marina’s eyes peered through the swollen flesh of her face in horror when she saw what was coming down the road. A 4x4 jeep with tinted windows was veering down the road, picking up speed as it headed towards the school wall. Jackie grabbed Darius by the arm and leapt backwards. Other parents did the same, pulling their children clear by their limbs or their hair. But some parents remained rooted to the ground in shock, others with hands pulled over their heads as if by that they would avoid the danger.
Yards from where Jackie was standing she saw the jeep bounce as it mounted the kerb. Pull slightly to the left. Headed straight for Marina and Stanley Lewis’ twin girls. The terrified girls, who were pressed up against the wall didn’t stand a chance.
The bumper smashed into both girls, crushing them against the wall.
“No,” Marina whispered. She rushed towards the wall as the car skidded into reverse. Swung in to a one eighty turn. It juddered backwards. Then screeched back down the road.
Horrified Jackie watched as Stanley rushed after Marina. Sobbing, the distraught mum fell to the pavement on her knees and picked up Minnie’s shattered body. The girl’s limbs were at an awkward angle. Desperately she tried to pull the bent and crippled limbs back into the position that a live child would have. Gently, she cradled her daughter’s limp head, rocking back and forth whispering, “My little angel. My little angel.”
“Where’s Molly?” Stanley shouted as he crouched over his ex-wife.
Jackie and everyone else swung into action. Looked at the car disappearing at high speed down the road. Jackie covered her mouth and shook her head in disbelief at what she saw. A pair of small legs, that’s all that were visible from the back end of the car, bumping and swaying against the hard road. A pair of trainers were scattered in the road. Molly Lewis was trapped under the car. Stanley was the first to move. Then everyone else - parents, teachers, Jackie - belted after him. Suddenly the car stopped. Stood still for a few seconds. People got closer. And closer. Then the engine re-ignited like thunder. The car took off again, swerving down the street. Everyone staggered to a collective halt. Stared at what the car had left behind. Ohmygod. Molly’s bloody, broken body.
His face frozen in disbelief, Stanley juddered forward like a zombie.
“Oh no. No, no, no, no…” he screamed as he looked at the wrecked and battered body of his daughter. He dropped to his knees beside her as Jackie and the others reached him.
“Ambulance. Get a fuckin‘ ambulance someone for Christ sake,” someone yelled frantically into a mobile phone.
Then came a moment of absolute silence. Absolute stillness. Only muffled weeping disturbed the quiet. No one wanted to move or believe what they had just seen. Then the silence snapped as Marina Lewis staggered down the street, her blouse wet with blood, carrying the broken body of her other daughter. The child’s arms and angelic blond hair hung limply flecked with red smears. Her head flopped back in an unnatural angle. In one of her hands Marina clutched on tight to the picture Minnie had drawn.
“You shouldn’t be carrying her.” It sounded like Mrs. Moran.
But Marina ignored the desperate advice and only stopped when she reached her former husband and other daughter. She took one look at Molly and started screaming the same time there was a screech of wheels from around the corner. The picture she held in her hand fluttered to the ground revealing to everyone what the little girl had drawn – a picture of Stanley Lewis, now splattered with blood.
A shout and a scream came from around the corner. Jackie and a few of the other parents ran down the street. Turned the corner. Stopped. Jackie scanned the scene. A smashed pink ice-cream in the road. A crowd of people gathered around something. Someone moved out of the tight circle. That’s when she saw what they were all looking at. A small body, twisted in the road. Blood. Looked like a kid. Blue school blazer. Spiky hair. No, they looked like small dreads. Same ones that her Preston wore with pride… No, her mind suddenly screamed. Preston?
She started running. And running. And running as Oranges and Lemons started playing again.