Danny Lancaster: Wounded ex-soldier. Afghanistan veteran. Widower. Father of two young kids. A weakness for women. Honest, most of the time. He still has the nightmares as he struggles to make a living as a private investigator. His rates are cheap and he’s a sucker for a sob story. Danny will not let the bad guys win.
Danny Lancaster was born in May, 1985, in the back of a Ford Sierra in Edmonton, North London, on the way to the hospital where his mother worked as a cleaner.
It was a neighbour’s car and the driver fretted about his upholstery as he wove through the rush hour traffic. Danny’s father, a long-distance lorry driver, was away up north at the time.
After a run of juvenile court appearances for minor offences, Danny left school at 16 but soon dropped out of a job as an apprentice electrician and drifted. The distractions were too great.
He never had much trouble attracting girls. Six foot tall, dark hair, liquid brown eyes, laughter lines and sense of humour, Danny didn’t take anything too seriously.
That changed when his 17-year-old girlfriend fell pregnant. Despite the speed of the register office wedding at Kathy’s dad’s insistence, it was a love match. Hayley’s birth was followed 18 months later by the arrival of Wayne.
Determined to provide an income and a home for his new family, Danny joined the Army and qualified as a paratrooper.
He loved the life and the physical challenges and was elated when he was posted to Afghanistan. The harsh existence and a chance to use the skills he had trained so hard to hone made it probably the best time of his life. Danny loved it.
Three weeks before the end of his tour his left leg was smashed by a burst of gunfire in a close-quarters fight. He wouldn’t have survived if his mates hadn’t pulled him clear under fire.
The bone was so badly splintered his leg had to be amputated below the knee. The transformation was brutal. From athlete to cripple in a few seconds. Danny faced months of darkness and despair. He still has his black days.
But surrender is not in his nature. He battled back, training, running, keeping the lid screwed down tight on the memories and the nightmares.
He found it hard to settle down, surviving on odd jobs, labouring, selling used cars, a spell as a deckchair attendant and, finally, burglary which ended with a short spell in prison.
And as Danny struggled to sort himself out Kathy, who didn’t want to make a fuss, was struck down with cancer. He tended her to the end but not long after she died his widowed mother had a stroke and he moved to Brighton to supervise her care.
That’s when he met Emma the carer who fell in love with Danny but couldn’t make the final break with her petty crook husband Benny.
Danny, short of money and ever the optimist, decided to try his luck as a private investigator, hoping that a nosey nature, tenacity, common sense, fitness and a talent to duck and dive would make up for his lack of experience.
So now it’s Danny Lancaster, investigator for hire, no job too small, friendly service, flexible rates, as he searches for the adrenalin highs of his Army days.