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DOUBLED DOWN DEADLY

Doubled Down Deadly offers even more action than the three previous Crisis Series novels!. Graham Carde comes close to death in the very first chapter of this thrilling novel. It’s one threat after another for Carde and his girlfriend, a tough member of Canada’s Mounties.

Why is a cottage country resort hotel being targeted by armed attackers? Why does a New York lawyer want to buy this place? And why is a Mexican cartel coming north to stake a claim on bayside property? Questions like these abound in this and other G.R. Daniels novels.

As readers will know, Crisis Series novels (this is # 4) are packed with action, twists and turns. It all began with Jackson Phillips, CEO of a military software company, and moved into books featuring his friend, Graham Carde, a former soldier, pilot, hunter and fishing guide and a strong cast of technical geniuses and cops. The series is set in Ontario, Canada and moves seamlessly between the big and stylish city of Toronto to the island cottages of Georgian Bay. Read the first chapter; then go to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Kobo or other sites, to purchase a copy at a very reasonable price.

DOUBLED DOWN DEADLY

CHAPTER ONE

Graham Carde watched as the diver came to the surface of the ice-cold water and swam to a 24-foot SeaRay. He grabbed hold of a railing on the swim platform and pulled himself up. The diver in his black dry suit and hood looked like a seal but Graham knew this was no saltwater animal looking for fish. This was a man searching for two dead bodies and a couple of unique sniper rifles in Canada’s Georgian Bay.

The diver took something out of a small mesh bag and threw it onto the deck. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a rifle and certainly wasn’t a dead body. Graham moved his own Princecraft aluminum fishing boat slowly toward the other craft.

“Hello,” he yelled as he neared the 24-footer. The diver was removing his hood disclosing a mass of black hair. He turned toward Graham and Carde noted the man’s thin, hard face. He was still too far away from the cruiser to see details but Graham had a sense the man was fit and highly alert.

“Do you need any help?” Graham asked. He was now within about three metres of the diver’s boat.

The diver moved to the doorway of the forward cabin. He reached down and came erect again with a long gun in one hand. He held it loosely at his side but in plain sight.

“Why?”

“Because it looks like you’re diving alone. Did you lose your partner?”

“No, I’m good.” The diver’s voice was deep. He didn’t have to shout to be heard. He waited, motionless.

“If you’re looking for shipwrecks I can point you to a couple of interesting ones to dive on.” Graham held his boat in place with a few small adjustments of his outboard motor.

“No, man. I don’t need any help.” The man lifted the shotgun.

“That’s not friendly, pal,” Graham told the diver. Graham pegged the gun as a Mossberg SA-28, a very good shotgun.

“Don’t know you, pal,” the diver said with an edge to his voice.

“There was an accident here a while ago. Two men died and they’re still down there. Us locals are concerned about divers wanting souvenirs. Is that why you’re here?” Graham’s question was blunt and his voice was firm. “If you stay here, I’ll just call the cops and tell them the site is being jeopardized.”

The diver stared at Graham. He seemed to be making a decision. He suddenly trained the shotgun on Graham. Just as quickly, he dropped the gun to his side. Still holding the gun, he moved to the console and pressed the starter button. The MerCruiser roared into life. The diver grabbed the wheel as he put the shotgun on the deck. He wheeled the boat around and revved the engine. The 24-footer buried its stern in the still water and the craft took off like a Ferrari.

A wave of frigid water slammed into the side of Graham’s boat and he was inundated. A wake followed and rocked Graham’s boat. He dropped to the bottom and held onto the gunwales hoping the boat would not turn over. As it was, the open craft was almost swamped by the water kicked up by the diver’s sharp turn. 

“Son of a bitch.” As his boat steadied, Graham moved to the stern again and checked the Mercury 115 horsepower motor. He cranked up the throttle on the long tiller bar and turned toward the track of the diver’s boat, now half a kilometre away and throwing up a rooster tail as it sped across Georgian Bay toward the shore. For a moment, he considered chasing the cruiser and wrapping the shotgun around the guy’s neck. Then, he calmed himself; there was no way he could catch the SeaRay.

Graham shivered. He was wearing rain-proof coveralls and a life preserver but he had unzipped the front and his wool shirt was soaking. It was the end of April and unseasonably warm on the bay but the water was still around freezing. If he didn’t get to shore himself, Graham knew he was risking hypothermia. He took his boat to full speed and made his way to Shield Island, his home away from home.

Shield is one of the 30 Thousand Islands of Georgian Bay, a huge bay that probably should be counted as one of the Great Lakes. It spreads for 190 km north to south in Canada’s province of Ontario. Its average depth, near shore, is 150 feet.  

As Graham was only 50 or so metres from the boathouse and its slipway, there was the shrieking sound of a powerful engine driving a boat at maximum speed. Graham turned to the bow and saw the diver’s boat heading directly for him. He shoved the tiller of his own boat to turn away but the SeaRay matched his turn.

Graham waited for the impact but, instead, the SeaRay was brought to a stop with a reversing of its twin props, sending another wave of water against the side of the Princecraft. It rocked violently, throwing Graham into the open well of the boat. He scrambled to his hands and knees and looked at the SeaRay. Incredibly, the pilot of the SeaRay, the diver still in his drysuit, was leveling his shotgun at Graham.

Graham fell, face-first, onto the bottom of his boat and curled into a ball as the load of shot peppered the side of his boat. If it wasn’t for a thick box seat in his open boat, he would have been hit by several of the pellets. Graham had no choice but to press himself as close as possible to the boat bottom. He waited for the second blast.

The SeaRay’s engine revved to a roar again and Graham felt his Princecraft rock once more as the SeaRay swept away from the scene. Graham slowly raised his head over the side of his boat and watched the larger craft speed away. His own had come to a stop in the water as he had inadvertently cut the throttle in diving for cover. He turned to see the shore of Shield Island only a few metres away. 

Carde climbed back onto the seat at the stern and restarted the stalled outboard. He pulled the boat slowly into the alcove and brought it to a stop along the concrete pier. He pulled himself out of the craft and inspected the damage caused by the shotgun pellets. There were half a dozen holes punched in the aluminum. This was no birdshot, thought Graham. That shot was meant to kill.

He took a few minutes to open the garage-style door of the boathouse at the end of the short slipway and to pull the Princecraft onto and up the carbon fibre rails into the boathouse. He docked it behind the cottage’s SeaRay that shared the boathouse and closed the door to the bay.

In another few minutes, Carde entered the room he used as his office, den and sometimes bedroom in the luxurious cottage that stood at the end of the small island. The cottage belonged to his employer, Jackson Phillips, and Carde was, officially, the caretaker. He changed to dry clothes from the closet and put his wet shirt and jeans into a laundry bag. He bundled his coveralls into a second bag. He took the bags to the cottage mudroom and shoved the shirt and jeans into a dryer. He hung the coveralls on a wall hook. As he did, he heard a sound. A steel shotgun pellet had fallen onto the wood floor and was rolling across it. He saw a hole in the rubberized coveralls.

Carde picked up the pellet and studied it as he headed back to his den. It was 2-3/4-inch 00 buckshot. Getting hit with that would be the same as being shot with a 9 mm round from a Glock. ‘What the hell?’ Then he remembered he had threatened to call the cops on the mystery diver. Was the guy that paranoid?

About Sandi Ralph

I am an artist living and working in Toronto. My work can be seen at Oeno Gallery, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada House Trafalgar Square, London U.K. I am a member of Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Open Studio, Toronto and Centre 3, Hamilton Ontario

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