Paperback $12.99: Amazon
A young lawyer dead on Mount Rainier. A savage Canadian blizzard. Toxic environmental corruption.
The discovery of a sinister scorched-earth plot to hide the truth leads Raja and Vinny to the Arctic wilds of Canada and lands them in the middle of a battle over the riches of the pristine wilderness. If assassins don’t kill them, the sub-zero weather just might.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
“An exciting thriller who-dunnit about environmental crime and corruption in the lawfirm!”
“Another fast paced novel right from the start that draws you in keeping you captivated til the very end. The characters are easy to connect with, filled with passion and they will leave you cheering them on even if they are buried deep in the snow.”
“This might be my favorite Raja Williams book yet. It grabbed me at the start and I couldn’t put it down. I cried and laughed and hung on every word.”
“Another winner. I am so addicted to this character and his exploits. I can hardly wait for the next adventure in New York.”
Laura Bachman was an excellent skier. She had been skiing since the time she could walk, or so the story goes. In fact, her earliest life memory was her father catching her after she slid down the small embankment near her childhood home on the outskirts of Seattle, Washington. At the time, she was wearing her first tiny pair of skis. She had heard her father tell the story at dinners and parties more times than she could count. To hear him tell it, she was a born natural, ready for competition right from the start. As Laura recalled, she barely managed to stay upright for all of four feet. Now, on a normal day she commanded the skis effortlessly like they were an extension of her body. Today, however, the skis were heavy and awkward.
Laura was usually very cautious and over-prepared when she ventured on one of her cross-country skiing weekends through the hills around Mount Rainier. Preparedness was a characteristic she had always possessed, but one that was honed razor sharp during her days at Stanford Law School. It proved to be one of the reasons she was hired right out of school at the prestigious Seattle firm of Lowenstein, Giraldi & Kraft. She came in prepared and wowed a senior partner in her interview. Know before you go, look before you leap, plan for all possibilities—these were the mantras of Laura’s life.
Normally she would never go skiing without a buddy, that being the unwritten rule for any excursion into even moderately unfamiliar terrain. She preferred backcountry, a form of cross-country skiing done far from the commercial areas of Mount Rainier. There were no trails or lifts, no nearby ranger to rescue you from trouble. You never knew when you might run into an unfriendly animal, step on a snake, sprain an ankle, or encounter any of a hundred other difficulties that Laura had thought out beforehand and fully prepared for.
On this occasion, when her roommate and co-worker at the firm, Amanda Perkins, canceled at the last minute, Laura decided to go it alone. She needed the time away from the rest of the world. Ben had been ragging her about her lack of commitment to their relationship, and the walls were closing in. The mountain was always her cure for any troubles, and she had gone skiing on so many occasions over the years that she knew Mount Rainier National Park better than most of the rangers.
For that reason, it was unusual for Laura to get lost, and yet she had done just that. Perhaps she was distracted by regret about her fight with Ben, replaying the conversation over and over in her mind and trying in vain to make it end without the harsh words she had spoken. She had also been shaken by something she learned the day before, something that severely unbalanced her normally low center of gravity. She tried to forget what she had seen, but it was a three alarm fire whose bells would not stop ringing.
Laura felt a strong sense of urgency to get off the mountain as soon as possible. Perhaps it was the expected cold of night approaching. The temperature could shift drastically. Laura had, of course, checked and double checked the weather reports for the area which called for a cold front to settle in later that night. Despite wearing a thermal jacket made of high-tech NASA material, she felt an unpleasant chill seeping into her body. She was in a hurry. That’s why, when she ran out of snow a mile back, she dumped her skis on the ground and continued on foot through the thick woods. An hour later she was still in the woods with no end in sight. Her growing desperation set her pulse racing and her head pounding. About ready to give up, she spotted a light through the trees ahead. Although dim and a long way off, to Laura it was a blazing beacon of hope. Assuming it was a house, she rededicated her muscles to making it at least that far.
Laura stumbled out of the woods into a clearing that was actually the backyard of someone’s home. With only one hundred yards of ground between her and the light, she could now see it was a spotlight on the back porch. By the time she closed half the distance to the house she felt numb, and her breathing was labored.
Laura stopped, gathering her strength for the last fifty yards. When the back door opened and a man stepped out into the light, she was certain her luck had changed. She staggered forward as the man picked up a wheelbarrow full of firewood near the woodpile in his backyard, unaware of her presence. He turned the wheelbarrow toward the house.
“Help,” she shouted, but it came out sounding much closer to a rasping whisper. Nonetheless, the man heard her cry in the crisp night air and looked up. As Laura staggered toward him his first thought was to wonder what a drunk person was doing in his backyard. She continued moving erratically toward him until she finally stopped in her tracks, stood unnaturally stiff and erect for a fleeting moment, and then pitched forward to the ground like a felled tree.
The man let go of one handle of the wheelbarrow and it tipped over spilling out all the split cedar logs he had loaded. Barely noticing, he dropped the other handle and ran to her side. Pulling off his gloves, he checked her neck carefully in several spots, but found no pulse.
The likelihood of a twenty-nine-year-old woman in her prime and in good health falling over dead was improbable. The fact that she was a near Olympic-level athlete in peak condition made it impossible.
However, there was no doubt that Laura Bachman was dead. More than likely, the twenty-four inches of a Beman hunting arrow sticking out of her back had something to do with it.
Paperback $12.99: Amazon