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Chapter One Troubled Water It was here where his partner died in a pool of blood. It was here, on the shores of the Detroit River, that he realized he would never be the same man because of the events of that night.
Inspector Doug Ward, greyer now, put his hand on a metal beam of the Ambassador Bridge and looked up at it. He felt the night come alive again from 28 years ago, back when the bridge was only somebody’s plan. In his mind’s eye, he could still see the four men stuffing crates into a boat while a black car idled on the river’s shore. One of them had a cigar in his mouth.
His partner and friend, Officer Hal Clifton, was a veteran of the Windsor Police Force. Clifton drove their black model T touring car in real close, trying to surprise them. They opened their police car doors and shouted for the four men to put their hands on their heads.
The inspector took his hand off the bridge and froze the memory. What if they had assessed the situation from further back – not driven in so close? What if they had waited for more officers to show up? In earlier times they had worked together so effectively. He, a junior partner with promise, paired with the veteran Clifton. They had chased gangsters together and broken up blade fights in Windsor’s back alleys. They had found where the so-called ‘blind pigs’ were – the places where alcohol was being sold illegally.
Inspector Ward, now a senior Ontario Provincial Police officer on the verge of retirement, tilted his grey fedora over his eyes. He stared at the choppy river underneath the Ambassador Bridge and watched the Detroit office towers etched into the sky on America’s side.
He remembered how his heart hammered against his young chest as they waited for the four men to comply. Instead, the quick flash of gun metal from a revolver. The horror of seeing the perfect first shot take down his partner. Another rattle of bullets. His own wild dive into the front seat of the police car to save himself. He returned fire but the black car had already started to move away from the scene and the boat away from the shore. Instead, all he was able to do was hold the head of his dead friend, Hal Clifton, the finest man he would ever serve with. He had never felt as guilty or as powerless as he did on that night.
Inspector Ward lifted his fedora and ran his fingers through his thick, grey hair. He looked up at the bridge, alive with traffic and trade. For most people, the Canada-U.S. bridge was a lure that pulled people back and forth. For him, it only pulled him apart.
He had left Windsor that same year and moved to Toronto. Got married. Had three kids. Watched them grow. He had never returned until today. Now, here he was, back in the same border city, except it wasn’t the past anymore. No, 1922 was long gone. Instead it was July, 1950. The lawlessness of the Prohibition years hadn’t exactly gone away in Windsor. He had been sent here to make things right but the cop in him told him that things could always go wrong – fast.
He knew he wasn’t the same man after the events of that night. Who would be? So here he was, then – the changed man – ready to make things right in this city one more time.