Books » Kez

Synopsis

Kez is a thrilling modern day adventure story set in the world of aviation and opens with Kez, the heroine, celebrating her eighteenth birthday with her twin brother Tom. Kez is devoted to her father, Chaz, who has been a widower for twelve years, and she is also very close to Tom and her adoring grandparents, Beryl and Doug. The family throw a surprise party for the twins, who are also celebrating the fact that they are about to get their Private Pilots’ Licences.  Lucy, their mother, died from cancer when they were only six, but she had planned this day with Chaz and there are some deeply emotional moments when the twins open their special presents chosen, prepared and wrapped by their mother, each with a personal letter.

Much of the action takes place at Five Pits Farm, the home of Doug and Beryl, where huge barns have been converted into aircraft hangars and the farmland is one big airstrip, cattle and crops being replaced by every aircraft spare imaginable.  Doug is a wealthy businessman and what he doesn’t know about aircraft is not worth knowing; Chaz followed his father’s example, but made his fortune from property development, flying being his hobby.

Debbie and her brother Matt live at the farm nearby and often go for evenings out with Kez and.  Debs, as she is known, and Tom have always been close and though neither has admitted it, they are in love.  Debs is going through a very withdrawn, moody period and no-one seems to know what the trouble is.  Kez knows how they feel about each other and one evening plays cupid, practically throwing them together.  Tom asks her to marry him and Debs instantly accepts.  She is over the moon but worries that Tom’s family may think she is too young for marriage. However, Chaz points out that she is the same age that Lucy was when he married her and she is welcomed by all of them, especially Kez who is overjoyed to be gaining a ‘sister’.

The whole family, though wealthy, are down to earth, caring people, and when a twelve-year-old tearaway, David, trespasses onto Doug’s land and tries his hand at driving Betsy, the old military tank, causing a serious accident and a lot of damage to Chaz’s plane, they decide to give him another chance, realising that it is care and understanding that the boy needs, rather than punishment.  As the story evolves, it is discovered that the boy’s brother, Mark has been responsible for causing extreme distress to Debbie.  When Mark and his loutish mates try to bully Debs and Kez at a night club, they very quickly learn that Kez, with her black belt in martial arts, is a force to be reckoned with and they are soon brought under control with the assistance of Harry, a young man who comes to Kez’s aid and who is to play a vital role in her life in later chapters.

Debs then tearfully reveals that, after getting drunk one night, she was gang raped by Mark and his mates and has even undergone a secret abortion.  The abuse is continuing because she is too frightened to tell the police or anyone else, as the thugs have videos of the incidents, which they are now using to blackmail her.  This is the reason for her unhappiness; she is at the end of her tether and contemplating suicide. When Tom hears her story he is overwhelmed with love and compassion for her.  Her brother Matt takes it badly and lashes out angrily, saying that he has failed his sister.

Kez talks to him and helps him to understand the situation.  They have always been friends, but now, with love and marriage in the air, they begin thinking of romance. However, Kez is fond of him, but has no desire to settle down with Matt and ‘produce livestock’ as she puts it and although she enters into a relationship with him, she has no intention of letting things become serious.  Matt’s parents realise this and when they try to warn him, he becomes jealously aggressive.  Little does either of them know at this stage that Matt will become bitter and eventually turn against Kez, almost taking her life.

David, or ‘Dumper’ as he is affectionately known, is given another chance and Doug sets him to work on the farm, to pay for some of the damage he caused with the tank.  It soon becomes clear that David is intent on making up for all his past mistakes and he works hard, wanting to show the family and especially his mother that he really means it.  He sees Kez as his heroine and Doug, or ‘Grandoug’ as he calls him, becomes his best friend and mentor and greatly influences his reformed way of life.  Carol, his mum, also becomes like one of the family.  On his twelfth birthday, Gran bakes him a special birthday cake, and a surprise party is arranged.  His mum gives him a mobile phone, he has a savings account opened in his name and, because Tom accidentally drove into his bike, he gets a brand new mountain bike in place of the wrecked one.

Trouble arrives at the end of his party, in the shape of big brother Mark and his mates.  They soon disrupt the proceedings. Mark demands money from his mother and then violently attacks her and there is general chaos until Kez takes over.  With her quick thinking and martial arts expertise she soon has the whole gang of them whimpering, ready for the police to deal with.  This time the charges are serious enough to ensure that they are locked away for a long time.

Life then settles down happily for a while.  David continues to work on the farm and in his spare time is delighted to go flying with Doug, sometimes taking over the controls.  Tom and Debs seal their engagement by buying the ring and Kez lives her life to the full, teasing Matt whenever she can, and enjoying her freedom to fly now that her licence is finally through.

When it is time for David to return to school after the long holidays, he is determined to work hard and show that he is a reformed character.  Up until this term he has always treated school with contempt, taking no interest in lessons, never doing his homework and sometimes not bothering to turn up at all.  He invests some of his birthday money in private maths tuition and a proper school uniform, and even buys himself a proper school bag with pens and stationery.  At first, he is treated as the old David, the girls ignoring him and the boys as usual sneering, and bullying him.  It is not long before the teachers realise that he really is serious about working hard, and with Kez teaching him martial arts, he soon sees off the bullies and catches the eye of more than one girl.  He has come a long way in just a few weeks, and life is good.

Grandad has an important business trip coming up taking in Dijon, Munich and Poland and asks Kez if she wants to go with him as co-pilot.  Naturally, she jumps at the chance and there is great excitement as the two prepare for their journey. All goes according to plan until they touch down in Germany.  Doug is involved in a lucrative project with Johan, an old friend from way back.  However, the minute Kez sets eyes on Johan, she takes a dislike to him.  Her instincts prove to be correct as she discovers from the maid that her room is bugged and spy cameras are placed at strategic points so that he can watch Kez undressing and showering, etc.  She spends the night in her grandfather’s room and is relieved when it is time to leave, especially as she had overheard Doug and Johan having a heated argument after dinner.  They are waved off on their way to Poland by Johan who insists that they take a flask of soup to warm them when it becomes cold over the Alps.  When doing the pre-flight checks, Kez notices that an indicator mark on one of the wheels has moved and queries it, but Doug takes a look and thinks it is nothing to worry about.

Nearing the Alps, it does indeed become cold and Doug pours himself a mugful of the steaming soup.  Kez had a huge breakfast, so she just has a few sips from her grandad’s mug.  Then the trouble starts.  Doug feels drowsy and tells Kez to take over for half an hour while he has a nap.  Kez herself begins to feel drowsy and slightly disorientated and then notices that her grandad is not just sleeping, he is unconscious.  She quickly realises that the soup was drugged.  She has only had a few sips and makes herself vomit, then drinks water to try to dilute the substance.  She tries to put out a Mayday call but is unable to give her name or registration number before passing out alongside her grandad.

She then comes back to semi-consciousness and hears her mother’s voice urging her to stay awake and to fight. Her presence is real; she slaps Kez’s face and shouts at her to fight for her life.  Grandad regains consciousness and although sluggish and dazed, he is able to help Kez to control the plane.  The next thing they know is that they are flying over a war zone and being shot at. They aim for a clearing in the trees and try to land with only one engine.  The plane comes down and as they land, a wooden stake pierces the side of the cockpit and goes right through Grandad, pinning him to his seat in a pool of his own blood.  Kez is horrified and wants to stay and help him but Doug orders her to run for her life; his own is over, he is beyond help.

Kez finds a derelict cottage and next morning she discovers that she has slept there with a decaying corpse in the next room.  A dog appears and not far away is Saskia, who turns out to be a member of the KLA.  The two pair up and Kez discovers that she and her grandfather have crash landed in Yugoslavia.  Kez saves Saskia from being raped and murdered by a Bosnian soldier and they become great friends.  Together they manage to find enough food to survive and Kez even manages to utilise an old bath tub so that they can have a bath and wash their clothes.  Even the dog has a bath!

Back at home, Kez’s family are eventually traced and informed of the crash and they manage to get text messages to and from Kez.  Chaz hears that his father has been killed.  When he breaks the news to Gran, she reveals that he had terminal cancer and had not long to live anyway. This very important business trip was to have been his last.  Chaz sets out to rescue Kez and there are also orphaned children who have been found starving, sick and dying.

After an emotional reunion with Kez, Chaz is instantly attracted to Saskia.  Like Lucy, his late wife, she calls him Charlie, and confesses to being a chocaholic. He feels strangely drawn to her.  They take as many sick children onto the plane as possible but Saskia refuses to go back with them, saying that she cannot abandon the remaining children who need her.  When Kez realises that Saskia is not travelling with them there are more hysterics – the two of them have been through so much together in the past few days and parting is hard for them both.

Safely home again Kez, in her state of shock, goes through a highly emotional phase as she tries to come to terms with the reality of what has taken place. Her father is shaken when she tells him that she has killed four times. But life begins to settle down until one evening, in the shower, Chaz has a strange experience.  He hears Lucy talking to him and even sees her in the mirror.  “Come and get me,” she says; “I am waiting.”  Then he notices a bullet wound on her shoulder and her face slowly becomes Saskia’s.  He knows then that he must go back for her and almost immediately begins to organise two Dakotas – spacious enough to bring Saskia and the children and his father’s body home.

With Chaz and Matt in one Dak and Kez and Tom in the second, the rescue operation gets under way. As they approach the area, the Daks are shot at and on the ground, Saskia again narrowly escapes death, but eventually their mission is completed and they make the journey home.  Then there is more drama on the airfield when Kez has to crash land on one wheel but they all scramble to safety and are then faced with a barrage of flash photography and sound equipment from the media circus which has been steadily growing since the story first broke.

Chaz knows instinctively that Saskia is very special and wastes no time in asking her to marry him.  Doug’s funeral takes place and David has the honour of sprinkling his ashes over the airfield from the Yak 52.  Then comes the reading of the will and more surprises for everyone. Doug was worth £26m and Kez and Tom find that they are now worth £2m each. Young David inherits £150,000. Chaz gets another £5m to add to his own fortune, and Beryl has the farm and the residue.  There are also several properties to take into account.

They all begin to settle down and plan their futures and all seems fairly calm on the surface but inside, Kez is still boiling with anger and wants revenge on Johan. Then one morning she decides to take the Yak and give them all a wake-up call.  What she doesn’t know is that the tube to a vital part of the aircraft’s controls has been deliberately cut through. According to trained investigators, only an expert would have the knowledge to do it and the chief suspect is Johan, but he would need assistance from someone closely associated with Kez to be able to carry out the sabotage.  Security is then stepped up and a surveillance team is sent to protect them.

One evening when the family are out relaxing socially, Kez spots a man behaving suspiciously near their car.  Like a flash of lightning she is soon on the spot, overpowering the man and another who rushes to his aid.  When another approaches and touches her shoulder, she floors him with a single blow.  However, they are not Johan’s thugs, but soldiers deployed to guard the family. What’s more, the one laid out on the ground is their Sergeant, Harry Reeves – the young man who had offered his assistance at the night club fracas a few months ago!

Apologies over and embarrassment fading, Harry explains that he and his men and working with CID to apprehend Johan.  Kez is attracted to Harry; there is a definite chemistry between them and they begin to have fun together.  It is not long before she is leaving her bedroom window open for him!  One day when they are out riding, the sound of nearby gunshot frightens the horses and Kez is thrown.  Harry’s men immediately search the wood and soon reappear with Matt, who explains that he was rabbiting.  It is thought odd that he has no rabbits and he is on Chaz’s land rather than his own, but Kez tells the men to let their neighbour go.

Chaz decides it is time to check out Doug’s properties, beginning with a large Victorian house in London.  The place is like a workshop, full of aero parts and spares, diagrams, etc. When Kez looks in the wardrobe mirror, she sees her grandfather, smiling and holding up a teacup.  Screaming at first with shock, she then realises that Doug is trying to tell them something.  In the kitchen, they inspect the kettle, the coffee jar and the sugar.  Nothing.  Then Kez finds a packet of Earl Gray tea – a family favourite – and tips the contents onto the table.  Sure enough, a large key falls out.  The label says ATTIC.  The key does not open the door, which they have to break down, but inside is a metal chest secured with a heavy padlock.  The key fits the lock and Chaz discovers a personal note from his father, at the end of which is a name, Daighton, and a phone number.

Mr Daighton turns out to be a solicitor who holds business deeds, bonds and contracts belonging to Doug worth millions. However, there is one particular contract with a Japanese company which could revolutionise air travel. Doug had designed and built a small aero engine which was electro-powered.  The Japanese had developed it and were actually going into production with it – the world’s first ‘green’ aero engine. Johan was a partner in the project but, desperate for cash, he sold his share back to Doug.  When he later realised his mistake, he tried to deal himself back in. Doug, however, had realised that he was no longer to be trusted and refused. There was a huge row about it the night Grandad and Kez had stayed with him.  Johan therefore decided to get rid of Doug, expecting to claim the project as his own and reap all the benefits.  So he gave them some drugged soup for their journey, believing they would crash in the Alps, which they almost did.

Later, on a cold, foggy night, Kez and Harry are in the barn checking more of the crates for parts. The rest of the family are relaxing in the farmhouse.  Johan, taking advantage of the fog, is able to drive unnoticed up to the barn and with an accomplice, is able to overpower both Kez and Harry and tie them up.  His accomplice is Matt, who takes great pleasure in beating Harry up.

Inside the farm house, David is on his way to the loo when he sees two strangers creeping upstairs.  He raises the alarm and Chaz and Saskia, rifles always at the ready, shoot both intruders. Realising that Kez and Harry are in danger, they all rush to the barn to rescue them.  David is given the job of disabling Johan’s vehicle by driving Betsy into it; Debs attacks her brother with a pitchfork and Chaz shoots Matt’s father, who is also involved.  It is only then that they realise millions of pounds worth of heroin has been hidden in the engine parts.

Johan breaks loose and starts up the Range Rover, but Kez is determined to stop him. She jumps bareback onto her horse and pursues Johan across the airfield.  As she begins to gain ground, he runs out of field and smashes into the embankment.  Dismounting, rifle at the ready, Kez notices that a fencing stake has entered the driver’s door and run straight through his stomach, nailing him to the seat – just like Grandad in the plane.  She sits there, mocking him, relishing his torture, as he raises his pistol to kill her.  The bullet grazes her shoulder, but the explosion from the gun ignites the escaping fuel vapour and he and the car go up in flames.  She laughs hysterically at what she believes is a just end to it all when the last of Johan’s men appears at close range, pointing his pistol straight at her.  Fortunately for Kez, Harry has reached the scene and shoots him before he can squeeze the trigger.

Tears, hugs, cheers and laughter follow as the rest of them board Betsy and David proudly conveys them back to the farmhouse. As Kez looks back at the flaming wreck for the very last time she sees Grandad, in his flying gear, waving goodbye.  It was over.  Now he could rest in peace.