Station Helix by Ash Greenslade
Paperback published 19th July 2014
“I DON’T WANT YOU TO FEEL PARANOID ABOUT ME LYING TO YOU.” An inexplicable suicide… A devastating car wreck… A secret Ministry of Defence facility… Told with pace and tension, STATION HELIX is an exciting and modern novel rooted in the tradition of British thrillers. Alex Hannay makes a shocking discovery which draws him into a perilous world of conspiracy and murder. As operatives from the CIA pursue their own operation on the streets of London, Alex is torn between protecting those who share his secret and seeking retribution for a terrible crime.
I’m delighted to bring you chapter 6
From the driver’s seat of his silver Audi A3, Bill Hannay glanced in the mirror at his twenty-two-year-old son Alex – the new British foil fencing champion. “You and Jim should have a good chance at getting into the Olympic squad now,” he said. He looked back at the road, gripping the steering wheel a little tighter. The downpour was causing surface water to accumulate. Bill kept his speed at fifty miles an hour, despite the seventy limit.
“Maybe,” replied Alex from the back seat. “We still have to earn the points though, Dad. We need some good international results first.”
“You will. Hopefully you’ll do well at Valenciennes next month.”
“I’m looking forward to that. Are you sure you can get the time off work?”
“Already sorted. Your mother and I are looking forward to going with you.”
“I appreciate you taking me to all these competitions.”
Sarah Hannay turned round in her seat, nudged her glasses with a fingertip, and smiled at her son. “Hey, we’re only going so we can enjoy the French culture,” she joked. “I’m really proud of you. You did so well today.”
Alex returned the smile. “Thanks. It’s been a good weekend.”
“Apart from this awful weather.” Bill gestured at the windscreen. “The rain hasn’t let up since we passed Brentwood.”
Alex shifted in his seat, trying to stretch his tired leg muscles. He closed his eyes and visualised the last few moments of the final against his friend and opponent James Peters. Jim had reached the final on similar form. Alex had beaten him by only two hits. Beside him on the back seat was the trophy he’d won: a large silver statuette with the words National Men’s Foil Championengraved on the front. Alex picked it up. “Jim’s so going to want this next year,” he said.
“He’ll have to work hard to beat you,” Sarah replied.
“Well he almost did today. I lost concentration for a while. I fell for that broken time attack he pulled on me.”
Sarah looked around again and gave Alex a bemused smile. She was fifty-one but looked younger. “I have no idea what that means. I just cheer when your light comes on.”
Alex grinned. “That’s good enough for me. I’ll just have to respond quicker next time he tries that.”
“Well you’re fast enough – if you concentrate,” said Alex’s father. Bill was right. Alex wasn’t just a good foilist; he was excellent. He had speed and fluidity of movement. His timing and execution of technique were precise. Bill frequently called him ‘the Jackie Stewart of fencing’. Tonight’s victory in Weymouth was the culmination of years of relentless effort.
“I’m going to sleep for hours tomorrow,” said Alex as he closed his eyes and tipped his head back against the headrest, listening to the drumming of the rain on the car’s roof.
“You mean today,” Sarah said, glancing at the digital display in the Audi’s dashboard. The clock showed 02.30. “Why don’t you have a sleep now? We probably won’t be home for another hour.”
“Are you sure?” Alex replied. “Sorry for not being good company.”
“Don’t be daft. Your dad and I will be fine. We can cope without you trying to confuse us with your weird terminology for a little while.”
Alex laughed. “Okay, wake me up when we get back. And don’t sell my medal on eBay when I’m not watching.”
About author Ash Greenslade
Ash Greenslade is a former police officer and trainer who became hooked on thrillers after reading David Morrell’s THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE ROSE. Despite dabbling with numerous writing projects since his schooldays, it took over two decades from reading Morrell’s landmark book for Ash to finally take writing seriously. Determined to accomplish an original novel, he embarked on STATION HELIX, a conspiracy thriller inspired by a visit to Orford Ness. Originally intended as a standalone novel, STATION HELIX prompted another two books, THE ELZEVIR COLLECTIVE and TORUS, plus the RYAN KERREK spin-off series (SINISTER BETRAYAL, DEADLY ACQUISITION, BLACK SCARAB and HUNTING CARACAL).
Ash credits his love of words to weekly spelling tests from the age of four, an incredibly enthusiastic English teacher who wrote children’s stories in the 1960s, and his collection of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis and Willard Price books. Captivated by the escapism of stories, the young Ash wanted to become a children’s author, and he still has a few early projects hidden away which might resurface one day. But it was the thriller genre which grabbed him as an adult. Although Morrell remains his favourite author, he’s a fan of the old-school British stalwarts such as Buchan, Ambler, MacLean, Bagley and Higgins.
Despite his working background, Ash doesn’t write crime thrillers, preferring the more secretive and enthralling world of espionage for his stories. Betrayal and conspiracy are recurring themes. And while he avoids revealing too much of his own character through his pages, some aspects of Ash’s books are very personal, such as the scuba diving scenes in BLACK SCARAB. (Ash worked as a divemaster in the Red Sea before qualifying as an instructor in Grand Cayman.)
When time permits, Ash researches his family tree and takes photographs. Several family surnames feature in his books, and he took the cover shots for the STATION HELIX series. And while he enjoys the occasional trip to London to meet friends, visit the theatre or conduct some research for his books, he’s more at home exploring the solitude of rural Essex in search of wildlife. He can be found online at http://www.ashgreenslade.net.