Title: DEAD AND BURIED
Genre: Adult Historical Mystery Ownvoices
Word Count: 90,000
Is Your Main Character hot or cold:
When Will Dwyer runs hot, his emotions get the better of him, but at other times, it's like he has no emotions at all.
Will Dwyer is a convicted thief, a pickpocket and a police constable. As are many of his colleagues, for how else do you staff a police force when constables are poorly paid and most of the labor force is prisoners? Wealthy free settlers look down on Will, and he's tired of it. When a notorious outlaw is dragged in dead, Will seizes the chance to prove himself--and maybe obtain a pardon--by hunting down the killer.
In today's world, Will would be considered autistic. That doesn't mean he makes clever deductions—just that he doesn't like to talk to people, especially not the wealthy men who despise him but are now his only witnesses. Will pushes on with the investigation forcing himself to ask questions, but his obsession with finding the killer starts to threaten the only thing he values: his friendships. Even worse, the body turns out to not be a notorious bandit after all. With his investigation going backwards, Will must decide whether to continue with his quest, whatever the cost to himself and his friends, or stick to patrolling the streets and accept that those who look down on him are right.
Set in Hobart Town in 1827, two decades after the establishment of the British settlement, "Dead and Buried", offers a view of early Australia from a different perspective as Will investigates the mysteries of friendship, social niceties and dead men with too many secrets.
First 250 words:
*Van Diemen's Land, 1827*
My name is William Dwyer. I am a constable at Hobart Town. On the morning of the fifth of November, I was in the taproom of the Duke of Wellington when I saw a crowd coming down the street, following, as best I could tell, a man with a horse. Not a man on a horse, but a man walking beside a horse.
They walked under a blue sky with not a wisp of cloud to seen, just the sun. In here, in this tap-room, it was shaded and cool, even in the doorway, and the mug of ale in my hand was now just a mouthful below full. A waste of good coin to put it aside now, and if I waited, there was always a chance whoever was actually on duty would arrive to take care of the crowd. I wished he'd hurry.
"Something has your interest there," said a deep voice.
A stool scraped over the floor and then the big hulk of Pete Woodrow joined me in the doorway.
"That's quite a gathering up the road. Shouldn't you be bothering them, lad?"
After being roused from my bed at some unholy hour this morning, I deserved this drink. I should have stayed at my table, not followed the nosy herd to the door. It was just a man with a horse. Nothing of interest. Nothing that should attract a crowd of any size, and yet the man and his horse had.
That meant trouble.