After a long series of professional and personal upheavals, Detective Lane begins his latest adventure happy, at peace, and enjoying life with his partner Arthur, their children Christine and Matt, and his able new partner, RCMP officer Keely Saliba.
But when the body of a young boy is unearthed ten years after he was reported missing, Lane's investigation into the crime puts him in conflict with a powerful and charismatic Calgary real estate developer and restaurateur--a cunning sociopath whose desire to suppress any threat to his empire will endanger the safety of Lane's own family.
The sixth book in Garry Ryan's award-winning and Calgary Herald bestselling series of Detective Lane mysteries pits Lane against his most dangerous antagonist yet.
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Read an Excerpt
Monday, August 1
Lane sat on a bench, inhaled fresh Rocky Mountain air and smiled at the painting of reflected peaks on the surface of Lac Beauvert. He rubbed his right hand over his short brown hair and stretched his lean six-foot frame. A goose flapped its wings, accelerated, began to step lightly on the water and then rose into the air. He watched the bird's image and its wake ripple across the mountains reflected on the water. The evening sun made the lake's surface into sparkling diamonds and emeralds.
The food, the coffee, the mountain air. I haven't felt this relaxed in a long time, he thought. He wiggled his toes in his sandals and wiped at a speck of lint on his grey slacks.
Christine put one hand on the back of the bench, lifted her right running shoe and looked at the sole from over her shoulder. His six-foot-tall niece was wearing a white sleeveless blouse, baggy white shorts and cream-in-your-coffee skin.
Lane looked around. Every male and every other female within shouting distance were looking their way. He could read their minds.
Christine dragged her shoe over the grass. "There's goose shit everywhere! How could geese have that much crap in them?" She looked out over the water at a Canada goose being followed by five goslings and cooed, "Awww. Do you see that? Aren't they cute?" Christine pointed at the family. She handed Lane his cell phone.
He stuffed it in his shirt pocket.
The invasive rumble of unmuffled exhaust pipes made them look left.
A pair of low-slung motorcycles approached along the road leading to the lodge entrance. Both riders wore black leather, ample bellies, sunglasses, tattoos and black helmets. The lead rider eased off on the throttle. The second rider spotted Christine.
The second rider promptly forgot about his front-running riding partner. There was a scream of metal. One engine raced, the other stalled and both bikes fell over. A second engine died.
The riders got to their feet in the sudden quiet. One looked hopefully in Christine's direction.
Christine looked at the wreckage. "What were they looking at?"
Lane smiled. "You."
"What's that supposed to mean? You think it's my fault?" Christine frowned.
Lane thought, Quick, change the subject. "Where are Matt and Dan?"
"Swimming." Christine looked over her shoulder at the pool. "You didn't answer my question."
Lane stood up. "No, I don't think it was your fault! You're drop-dead gorgeous and oblivious to the fact. Arthur's having a nap. If you get him, I'll get the other two and we'll go get something to eat."
The five of them met for dinner. The table overlooked the lake and the surrounding mountains tipped with white.
Matt had lost weight, was shaving every day and wore his black hair cut short. He said, "It would be nice to stay for a few more days."
Christine said, "You know, this is the first time I've been to Jasper. And the first time I've seen a grizzly."
Daniel, her brown-haired boyfriend, was taller than Christine, slender and introverted. He was finally beginning to feel relaxed enough around Lane to open up. "The grizzly was incredible."
Lane nodded. "It was a thing of beauty. A hunter." It's good to be talking about bears instead of cancer, surgery, scarring, fatigue and what the last doctor had to say.
"Okay, tell us what you're thinking." Arthur looked out over the water. His new exercise program was beginning to pay off. His belt had two old cinch lines in the leather to prove it. It hadn't, however, helped him grow back the hair atop his tanned head.
"I was thinking how it's good for all of us to be here. I was thinking I'm glad you don't have to have chemo. And I was thinking we should go to California next. Maybe San Diego." Lane looked around the table, gauging the reactions of four people.
"Can Daniel come?" Christine asked.
"Can we stay close to the beach?" Matt asked.
Lane's phone began to vibrate in his shirt pocket.
Arthur smiled. "That's not what I asked you. That's not what you were thinking. You just changed the subject again."
"You really want to know what I think of grizzlies?" Lane asked.
He felt their curiosity pique and the resultant attention shift in his direction.
Lane ignored his phone. "The bear was afraid of us, yet we fear it. It's a hunter. It's very good at what it does. And it makes us feel like prey. Still, we're not the endangered species."
"Like you," Matt said. "You're a hunter."
"And people fear you," Daniel said.
Lane picked the phone out of his pocket and flipped it open.
Christine grabbed it from him and put it to her ear. "Hello?" She slapped Lane's hand away as he reached to take the phone back. "Hi, Keely. How are you? Yes, we'll be back tomorrow. Probably in the afternoon." She listened for a minute, then said, "I'll pass the message along. He's right here, but we were in the middle of a good conversation, and he was using your call as an excuse to avoid answering a tough question. You know how he avoids answering the questions he doesn't want to answer? I'll get him to call you right back."
"What's up?" Lane asked.
"I'll tell you when we finish this conversation." Christine curled her fingers around the phone.
"Could I have my phone back, please?" Lane motioned with his open right hand.
"No." She put the phone on the table, covered it with a napkin and put her hands over top.
Lane looked at Arthur, who was getting his spark back after a double mastectomy. It had been a long haul. There was the shock of the diagnosis, the operation and recovery from surgery, then the chemo and all of those lovely side effects.
Arthur said, "She wants some answers. You expect the same from us. Remember your big speech about us being honest with one another?"
"Okay. What do you want to know?" Lane refilled his coffee from the carafe at the centre of the table.
"Do you admire the grizzly because it's a hunter like you?" Matt asked.
"Or because it's feared and misunderstood?" Arthur asked.
"What about the fact that it's nearly extinct?" Christine asked.
Lane joined in on the laughter.
Daniel said, "Of course it's not because male grizzlies sometimes kill male cubs."
Christine glared at Daniel. "How did you know that was what the call was about?"
Christine will forever be leaping to conclusions after the way she was mistreated in Paradise, Lane thought, then asked, "About what?"
"Keely said they found the body of a missing boy. She thinks it may be related to one of your unsolved cases." Christine lifted the napkin and handed him the phone.