Nick Quantrill

The Late Greats

Having been convinced by their manager, Kane Major, to put their acrimonious break-up behind them and launch a comeback, Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s is reforming. Allowing one privileged journalist to document the process, Joe Geraghty is employed to act as a liaison between the different camps. What appears to be a straightforward assignment sees him neck deep in trouble when singer, Greg Tasker, disappears leaving behind a trail of people who wanted him out of their lives.

Having to choose sides, the investigation penetrates deeper into the city, and as the rich and famous rub shoulders with the poor and vulnerable, the stakes increase. Forced to keep his friends close but his enemies closer still, the case could see Geraghty lose everything.

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An excerpt from - THE LATE GREATS (published by Caffeine Nights)

Kane Major did nothing quietly. His entrance attracted a buzz of attention at the bar. People knew who he was. Arrogance and false sincerity dripped off the man. Like family, it’s a fact you can’t pick your clients. He made his way to where we were standing. Even during the afternoon, the Princes Avenue cafe-bars were busy. Still the place to be seen.

‘Julia, always nice to see you’ he said. I watched him kiss her on both cheeks. It wasn’t the way we did things here. ‘I trust PI’s being a good boy and giving you all the help you need?’ He held out a £20 note to me. ‘Be a love and get the drinks in.’

I didn’t care for his tone, but I was glad to get away. I called myself a Private Investigator, and although this job was a little unusual, I would be earning every penny. Major was reforming New Holland, the band he’d managed during the 1990s. Hull’s not had many musical success stories to boast of, but fronted by Greg Tasker, these had been the exception. He’d invited Julia Gowans to document the process for her newspaper. She was going to be there from the early rehearsals right through to the comeback tour. It was important coverage. My role was to act as a buffer between her and the band.

‘I was just telling Julia how well the rehearsal went’ he said to me when I returned. ‘They sounded fucking great, didn’t they?’

I nodded. I’d spent most of the morning sat in the rehearsal room, bored, waiting for something to do. Seemingly, I was the odd-job man.

‘I can’t wait to hear them again’ Julia said before turning to Major. ‘But Joe was telling me you’ve employed him to keep an eye on me.’

‘It’s not like that’ he said.

I said nothing. I was keeping out of it.

Julia let it go. ‘I thought Greg was joining us’ she said.

‘He’s not feeling too good’ said Major.

‘I need to talk to him again. A bit more for the article I’m working on.’

Major shrugged. ‘I’ll sort it.’

I felt like a gooseberry. They lapsed into talk about their lives in London, discussing mutual friends and swapping gossip. I zoned them out and we finished our drinks. Major told me to take Julia to her hotel, so she could check in. I bit my lip. I’d do as I was told for now. He allowed her to head for the exit first. Once she was out of sight, he pulled me back. ‘Have you heard from Tasker yet?’

I said I hadn’t. There’d been no sign of him at the morning’s rehearsal. He passed me a piece of paper. It had addresses for Tasker’s studio and his girlfriend’s boutique on it.

‘You best find him, PI’ he said to me. ‘And find him quickly.’

We hurried back to my car and followed the one way system back onto Princes Avenue.

‘Why does it always rain when I’m back in Hull?’ Julia said.

I shrugged and concentrated on the road. We were heading for her hotel. I turned left off Princes Avenue and onto Spring Bank, towards the city centre. The afternoon drinkers sat under canopies gave way to young men huddled around shop doorways. Signs I couldn’t read. Some were Arabic, some were Eastern European. Julia was a little younger than me, mid-thirties, attractive, with a glint in her eye which drew you in.

It was dangerous, seeing as she was a journalist.

‘It’s just nice to get out of London for a while’ she said.

‘Catch up with some old friends?’

‘Not exactly’ she said, before going quiet on me. I concentrated on the road until I pulled into the hotel car park and switched the engine off.

‘Does Kane think he’s being funny calling you PI all of the time?’

‘He’s paying. He can call me what he likes.’

She turned the conversation back to New Holland and asked me what my job title was.

‘I’m just another pair of eyes and ears for the band, that’s all; make sure things run smoothly.’

‘Keep me at arm’s length, you mean.’

‘Not at all.’ I hoped I sounded convincing. ‘You’ve got a decent story, haven’t you?’

‘Definitely. Bands reform all the time, but New Holland are different. If I can go behind the scenes and get the real story, from the first rehearsals to the comeback gig, it’ll be really interesting.’ She smiled at me. ‘I just have to make sure you don’t stop me.’

I smiled back. ‘I’m here to help.’

‘Good, because I’m not here to play Kane’s childish games.’ She paused. ‘Want to tell me about your position within his little empire?’

‘I’m just the hired help’ I repeated.

‘You’re a hard man to get anything out of’ she said, laughing. ‘I understand. You’re obviously not allowed to tell me.’

Daring me to say something. ‘You’ll have to do better than that. Oldest trick in the book.’

‘So what makes you suitable for working on this job?’

‘I said I’d do it. Simple as that.’

‘Keeping your cards close to your chest, I like that.’

‘I knew Tasker when he was a kid.’


I nodded. ‘My dad knew his dad. Rugby team-mates back in the day.’

‘You’re older than him, though?’

‘We weren’t really mates. He was just a kid who’d appear every now and again.’

‘Does Kane know?’

I nodded and concentrated on the road. That was the sum of it. I’m a few years older than Tasker, and that kind of thing is important when you’re a child. Kane had laughed when I’d told him, but he seemed to think it was a good thing.

Julia changed the subject. ‘You don’t look like a rugby player to me.’

She’d done her homework on me and knew my background. I was impressed. ‘Retired. I’m too old now.’

She laughed again. ‘You know what I mean.’

‘We come in all shapes and sizes.’

‘I’ll take your word for it.’ She got out of the car. ‘I’ll be in touch very soon.’

Nick Quantrill

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