Blog Tour! The Patient Man by Joy Ellis – Extract #ThePatientMan #BritishBookAwards #JoffeBooks

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m absolutely delighted to share a wonderful extract from The Patient Man by Joy Ellis, which has been shortlisted for the British Book Awards’ Book of the Year in the Crime/Thriller category. Joy’s publisher, Joffe Books, has also been shortlisted for Independent Publisher of the Year category. HUGE congratulations to both!! The awards take place on May 13th!

Before we dive into the extract, here is a little more about The Patient Man and author Joy Ellis!


About the Book

Serial killer Alistair Ashcroft is back and more terrifying than ever.

He sends a sinister warning to DS Marie Evans and breaks into DI Rowan Jackman’s uneasy domestic bliss.
Now everyone Jackman cares about is in danger. Yet for all Ashcroft’s taunts, he is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, a seemingly routine break-in at the home of gun-club owner Kenneth Harcourt becomes complicated when the man long held responsible for killing Harcourt’s young daughter is shot dead in a car park by a sniper.
A killer is on the loose in the quiet streets of Saltern-le-Fen, and he isn’t going to stop. And the sniper, like Ashcroft, takes to taunting the police: they’ll never catch him, they need to respect him, they shouldn’t be sidetracked looking for their old adversary.

Jackman and Evans find themselves in a lethal game of cat-and-mouse, but are they the cats or the mice?


About the Author

Credit: Luke Cole

Joy grew up and lived in Kent, trained in floristry in Mayfair and ran her own highly successful floristry business in Weybridge for many years. Following the recession in 1991, her business, along with many others, folded to the pressures of supermarkets and, after a period of living practically out of the back of her car, in the mid-1990s, she followed her lifelong love of books, becoming the manager of an independent bookshop in Leatherhead, Surrey, and later a writer. When she retired, Joy and her partner, Jacqueline (a highly decorated police officer), and their two spaniels settled in a village just outside Boston, captivated by the Lincolnshire Fens.
Joy’s love of writing starting in the mid-90s, when she took part in a writing retreat run by Sue Townsend, but it wasn’t until much later that she’d put pen to paper. After the prerequisite series of rejections, Joy signed with publisher Robert Hale, but it was not initially the success story she hoped. Years later, Jasper Joffe of Joffe Books, stumbled upon Joy’s writing quite by chance, hooked in by her book The Murderer’s Son. He tried to track her down, but her books had gone out of print, she wasn’t on social media, and there were no contact details on the publisher’s website. Joffe thus reached out to Ellis through a local Lincolnshire paper, and since signing with Joffe Books, Joy is now a multi-million copy selling author, a No. 1 Amazon bestseller, and now, a British Book Awards shortlisted author – a true testament to never giving up.


About Joffe Books

Joffe Books was founded by Jasper Joffe in 2014. Disillusioned by the art world, Jasper turned to publishing when he found an old Mills & Boon-style manuscript, written by his mother but never accepted. He decided to go ahead and release it.
And so, Joffe Books was born.
In 2018, Jasper was named one of the Bookseller’s rising stars in the publishing world, and now, three years later, the publisher has made the shortlist for the British Book Awards.

Joffe Books is a publisher of commercial fiction, specialising in crime, mystery and psychological thrillers. They are open to submissions from authors and literary agents but also look for overlooked, forgotten or out-of-print authors, such as Faith Martin https://www.joffebooks.com/faith-martin and Joy Ellis https://www.joffebooks.com/joy-ellis.


It was a long time since DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans had left work this early. It was early May and the sunny afternoon showed every sign of continuing well into the evening.
Marie was grinning broadly, like a truant schoolgirl. ‘I can’t believe I’m finally doing this.’
‘If you don’t, my mother will never stop nagging me. She’s tenacious, always has been.’ Jackman smiled. He had a great deal of love for his mother who, after all, was the one responsible for his enduring fascination with horses.
As long as a year ago, Harriet Jackman had asked Marie if she would like to try horse riding. Marie, an inveterate motorcyclist, had jumped at the idea — it offered the chance of a different kind of exhilarating ride. But life in the Fenland Constabulary was pretty frenetic and it had got in the way.
Now they were strolling down a dappled, tree-lined avenue, heading for the Jackman livery stables. Jackman noted the sun dancing on the pale green foliage of the silver birches and oaks. It gleamed and dazzled with an almost magical brilliance. How come he had never noticed this before? Was he just too busy? He was about to mention it to Marie, when he saw her give a wave.
Ahead of them, waiting at the gate, stood his mother, delight written over her face. ‘You made it! At last!’
Marie stepped up her pace, calling out a greeting.
Jackman watched her, the sun lighting up her long chestnut-brown hair.
He followed with a rare sense of contentment. It was quiet and warm and two of his favourite people were happy to see each other. He let out a sigh. Peace was not something you often experienced at Saltern-le-Fen police station.
‘Hi, Mum! Hope you’ve got some really feisty beast saddled up and ready. Mind you, if Marie rides a horse anywhere near as well as she rides that bike of hers, you’ll never get rid of her.’
‘She’ll be very welcome. Get rid of her indeed.’ Harriet beamed at him. ‘Hello, son. Are you ready for a nice evening ride?’
‘Try and stop me.’
Marie turned towards him, ‘I’m so looking forward to thi—’
A loud crack reverberated around the stable yard.
Marie stopped mid-sentence, a look of utter shock on her face.
‘Marie!’ For a few seconds Jackman stood paralysed, watching in
horror as a scarlet stain spread across Marie’s blouse. Then she slowly started to collapse. Galvanised, he caught her before she hit the ground and gently laid her down. ‘Marie! No! Marie! Dear God!’
He was vaguely aware of his mother on her knees next to them, hands at her face, eyes wide in horror. ‘Call 999! Mum! Now! Ambulance!’
He held Marie, begging her to please be alright, but he’d seen that strange empty look before. He knew what it meant.
As his mother shouted directions to the emergency services, Marie’s body went limp, her head drooped to the side. He howled her name, over and over, but she lay still.
His eyes filled but then, through the blur of tears he saw her stir, very slightly.
He looked up. At the far side of the stables he saw a shape, the figure of a man. As he stared, the man held up a hand, waved at Jackman in a kind of salute and melted away into the trees that surrounded the stables. The sun glinted for a moment on the dull metal of a rifle barrel. Jackman recognised him immediately.
Still cradling Marie in his arms, he screamed out, ‘Ashcroft, you bastard, I’ll kill you for this.’ He looked back at her pale face. ‘Marie! Marie!’

‘Darling! Wake up! You’re having a nightmare!’ Laura pulled him towards her, held him tightly and whispered, ‘It’s all right, it’s alright.’
Sweat coated his face and stained his T-shirt. ‘Laura? Oh, Laura, was I dreaming?’
‘I should say! And shouting your head off. Lucky we have no near neighbours.’
All he could see was the hole in Marie’s chest, the red blood spreading across her white shirt. Jackman began to shiver.
‘Can you tell me what it was about?’
He told Laura what he recalled, though it was already beginning to fade. What remained was the feeling of peace, the light dancing through the trees, and then Marie dying in his arms. The sight of that blood creeping insidiously across her white shirt would probably haunt him for years. ‘I wonder what caused that,’ he murmured, leaning back against the pillows.
‘You know perfectly well.’ Laura relaxed her hold on him but kept his hand in hers. ‘Alistair Ashcroft. The elephant in the room. He’s always present, day or night, awake or asleep. And what was the last report that landed on your desk before you left last night?’
‘An attempted break-in at the Fenside Gun Club. Now I’m seeing the connection.’ He shook his head, amazed at what the mind will do.
‘Add to that the fact that Ashcroft threatened all those closest to you and it’s all too clear where that nightmare came from.’
‘I thought those dancing lights were a bit weird. I’ve seen beautiful sunlight before, but what I saw on the lane to the stables was more like fairy dust from a Disney movie. Blimey.’ He gave a short, humourless laugh. ‘I find dreams a bit scary. I mean, they are so real.’
‘I know, but the science behind them is interesting. I did a bit of research on them a few years back.’ Laura yawned. ‘We can talk about it another time. Right now, do try to get another couple of hours’ sleep. It’s only three thirty, you know. You’ll be shattered in the morning.’
She slid down beneath the duvet and turned on her side. Jackman put an arm around her waist, seeking comfort. He closed his eyes and then opened them, afraid of the nightmare’s return. The minutes ticked by.
This was stupid. He’d had bad dreams often enough. They were inevitable in his line of work, but none had affected him as this one had. It was the shock he’d felt. It was so real. He watched the numbers on the bedside clock until, at five, he slid out of bed and crept from the room, while Laura slept on.
In the pre-dawn silence, he made a pot of tea and sat down at the kitchen table. He kept telling himself that he was a rational person, someone who didn’t believe in premonitions. If he hadn’t felt so shaken, he would have laughed at himself but right now not even the sun, just starting to rise above the fen, could dispel the feeling of doom. Something bad was about to happen. With an impatient sigh he stood up. He might as well grab a shower, have some breakfast and go in to work early. Sitting here staring into space wouldn’t help anything. What he needed
now was noise, the hubbub of the CID room. Hopefully that would sort out his head.
Jackman poured Laura a cup of tea and took it up to her. He left it on her bedside cabinet and quietly took some clothes from his wardrobe. The noise of the shower would probably wake her, but he didn’t have the heart to do it himself. He stared down at her sleeping form and smiled. They had wondered if their living together would work. It was early days yet, but so far it seemed just right.
His house at Mill Corner was a comfortable, old-world conversion of the buildings attached to a disused windmill. Although the mill itself still stood, albeit now without its sails and distinctive onion-shaped top, it had been disused for years. Since Laura had moved in, Jackman had enlisted the expertise of an architect to design and renovate the tower, creating an office, consulting room and storage space for her to work from. For years now, he had wanted to make something of the mill. It was an obligation. He was responsible for a heritage piece and should not leave it to rot. Even if it didn’t work out between them, the mill would be a usable building again, rather than a desolate hulk towering over his home. The renovation work had been costly, but it was almost finished and he knew it would be worth it.
‘What time is it?’ Laura said, still sleepy.
‘Around five thirty, sweetheart. I didn’t want to wake you, but I’m going in early today.’ He stroked her hair, ‘There’s tea here but you don’t have to be up yet, okay?’
Laura smiled, mouthed ‘I love you’ and drifted back into sleep.
Jackman turned his thoughts to the day ahead. They had no big cases on the go, but his desk was groaning under a mountain of paperwork and he needed to make a start on clearing it. Something major might suddenly hit them. He grunted in annoyance, knowing very well that “something major” meant Alistair Ashcroft coming back into their lives. Laura had said that Ashcroft was the elephant in the room. It was true. He was out there somewhere, biding his time before he struck again. The one that got away.
The face of the wanted killer was everywhere. Every officer in the Fenland Constabulary knew that face like the back of their hand. Ashcroft had not cared whether they saw him or not. In fact, he wanted them to know him. He was cleverer than they were — or so he thought. But one day he would take a wrong step, just one, and Jackman and the team would be waiting for him. Well, not waiting. They weren’t sitting on their hands — they were actively hunting him. Apart from flooding the county with his likeness, they had notified estate agents, letting agents and
landlords, hotels, B&Bs, solicitors, local banks and the post office, to stop him slipping back into the area unnoticed. They couldn’t block all the holes, but they could make it as difficult as possible for him to move around freely.
Jackman had heard a number of officers say these efforts were a waste of police time and money. After all, there was no guarantee that Ashcroft would ever set foot in the county again. Jackman and Marie knew differently. He had vowed to come back, and he would. Alistair Ashcroft was a man of infinite patience. He would return. They just did not know when.
Jackman got dressed, looked in on the still sleeping Laura, and tiptoed downstairs. He made some toast and, eating it, stepped out into a new day.
Today, he intended to break the back of the remaining minor cases and finish those reports. For some reason, it was imperative that he do this without fail. Was it that awful dream, or just a general impatience? Despite his earlier dismissal of premonitions, he couldn’t shake the feeling that soon they were going to be very busy indeed.


The Patient Man is out NOW in paperback, audiobook and ebook.

To purchase your copy you can follow the links below:

Waterstones

TheBookshop.org

Once again big congratulations to Joy Ellis and Joffe books!!


With huge thanks to Becky, Joffe Books and Midas PR for the blog tour invite!

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