Six Seconds

Six Seconds

by Rick Mofina

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778329015
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 01/26/2010
Edition description: Original
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 676,936
Product dimensions: 4.22(w) x 6.61(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

Rick Mofina is a former crime reporter and the award-winning author of several acclaimed thrillers. He's interviewed murderers face-to-face on death row; patrolled with the LAPD and the RCMP. His true crime articles have appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest and Penthouse. He's reported from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Qatar and Kuwait's border with Iraq. For more information please visit www.rickmofina.com

Read an Excerpt

Blue Rose Creek, California

Maggie Conlin left her house believing a lie.

She believed life was normal again. She believed that the trouble preying on her family had passed, that Logan, her nine-year-old son, had come to terms with the toll Iraq had taken on them.

But the truth niggled at Maggie as she drove to work.

Their scars—the invisible ones—had not healed.

This morning, when she'd stood with Logan waiting for the school bus, he was uneasy.

"You love Dad, right, Mom?"

"Absolutely. With all my heart."

Logan looked at the ground and kicked a pebble.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I worry that something bad is going to happen. Like you might get a divorce."

Maggie clasped his shoulders. "No one's getting divorced. It's okay to be confused. It hasn't been easy these past few months since Daddy got home. But the worst is over now, right?"

Logan nodded.

"Daddy and I will always be right here, together in this house. Always. Okay?"

"Okay."

"Remember, I'm picking you up after school today for your swim class. So don't get on the bus."

"Okay. Love you, Mom."

Logan hugged her so hard it hurt. Then he ran to his bus, waved and smiled from the window before he vanished.

Maggie reflected on his worries as she drove through Blue Rose Creek, a city of a hundred thousand near Riverside County, on her way to the Liberty Valley Promenade Mall. She parked her Ford Focus and clocked in at Stobel and Chadwick, where she was a senior associate bookseller.

Her morning went fast as she called customers telling them orders had arrived, helped others find titles, suggested gift books and restocked bestsellers. As busy as she was, Maggie could not escape the truth. Her family had been fractured by events no one could control.

Her husband, Jake, was a trucker. In recent years, his rig had kept breaking down, and the bills piled up. It was bad. To help, he took a contract job driving in Iraq. High-paying, but dangerous. Maggie didn't want him to go. But they needed the money.

When he came home a few months ago, he was a changed man. He fell into long, dark moods, grew mistrustful, paranoid and had unexplained outbursts. Something had happened to him in Iraq but he refused to talk about it, refused to get help.

Was it all behind them?

Their debts were cleared, they'd put money in the bank. Jake had good long-haul driving jobs and seemed to have settled down, leaving Maggie to believe that maybe, just maybe, the worst was over.

"Call for you, Maggie," came the voice over the P.A. system. She took it at the kiosk near the art history books.

"Maggie Conlin. May I help you?"

"It's me."

"Jake? Where are you?"

"Baltimore. Are you working all day today?"

"Yes. When do you expect to get home?"

"I'll be back in California by the weekend. How's Logan?"

"He misses you."

"I miss him, too. Big-time. I'll take care of things when I get home."

"I miss you, too, Jake."

"Listen, I've got to go."

"I love you."

He didn't respond, and in the long-distance silence, Maggie knew that Jake still clung to the untruth that she'd cheated on him while he was in Iraq. Standing there at the kiosk of a suburban bookstore, she ached for the man she fell in love with to return to her. Ached to have their lives back. "I love you and I miss you, Jake."

"I've got to go."

Twice that afternoon, Maggie stole away to the store's restroom, where she sat in a stall, pressing tissue to her eyes.

After work, Maggie made good time with the traffic on her way to Logan's school. The last buses were lumbering off when she arrived.

Maggie signed in at the main office then went to the classroom designated for pickups. Eloise Pearce, the teacher in charge, had two boys and two girls waiting with her. Logan was not among them. Maybe he was in the washroom?

"Mrs. Conlin?" Eloise smiled. "Goodness, why are you here? Logan's gone."

"He's gone? What do you mean, he's gone?"

"He got picked up earlier today."

"No, that's wrong!"

Eloise said Logan's sign-out was done that morning at the main office. Maggie hurried back there and smacked the counter bell loud enough for a secretary and Terry Martens, the vice-principal, to emerge.

"Where is my son? Where is Logan Conlin?"

"Mrs. Conlin." The vice-principal slid the day's sign-out book to Maggie. "Mr. Conlin picked up Logan this morning."

"But Jake's in Baltimore. I spoke to him on the phone a few hours ago."

Terry Martens and the secretary traded glances.

"He was here this morning, Mrs. Conlin," the vice-principal said. "He said something unexpected had come up and you couldn't make it to the school."

"What?"

"Is everything all right?"

Maggie's breathing quickened as she called Jake's cell phone while hurrying to her car. She got several static-filled rings before his voice mail kicked in.

"Jake, please call me and tell me what's going on! Please!"

Each red light took forever as Maggie drove through traffic. She called her home number, got her machine and left another message for Jake. Wheeling into her neighborhood, Maggie considered calling 911.

And what would I say?

Better to get home. Figure this out. Maybe she'd misunderstood and the guys were at home right now. Was Jake actually in Blue Rose Creek? Why would he tell her he was in Baltimore? Why would he lie?

Turning onto her street, Maggie expected to see Jake's rig parked in its place next to their bungalow.

It wasn't there.

The brakes on her Ford screeched as she roared into her driveway, trotted to the door, jammed her key in the lock.

"Logan!"

No sign of Logan's pack at the door. Maggie went to his room. No sign of Logan or his pack there. She hurried from room to room, searching in vain.

"Jake! Logan!"

She called Jake's cell again.

And she kept calling.

Then she called Logan's teacher, then Logan's friends. No one knew, or had heard anything. She ran next door to Mr. Miller's house, but the retired plumber said he hadn't been home all day. She called Logan's swim coach. She called the yard where Jake got his rig serviced.

No one had heard anything.

Was she crazy? You can't drive from Baltimore to California in half a day. Jake said he was in Baltimore.

She rifled through Jake's desk not knowing what she was looking for. She called the cell-phone company to see if billing could confirm where Jake was when he made the call. It took some choice words before they checked, only to tell her that there was no record of calls being placed on Jake's cell phone for the past two days.

By early evening she phoned police.

The dispatcher tried to calm Maggie. "Ma'am, we'll put out a description of the truck and plate. We'll check for any traffic accidents. That's all we can do for now."

As night fell, Maggie lost track of time and the calls she'd made. Clutching her cordless phone, she jumped to her window each time a vehicle passed her house as Logan's words haunted the darkness that swallowed her.

"…something bad is going to happen…"

Five months later

Faust's Fork, near Banff, Alberta, Canada

Haruki Ito was alone, hiking along the river when he stopped dead.

He raised his Nikon to his face, rolled his long lens until the bear in the distance filled his viewfinder. A grizzly sow, stalking trout on the bank of the wild Faust River in the Rocky Mountains.

Photographing the grizzly was a dream come true for Ito, on vacation from his job as a news photographer with The Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Tokyo's largest newspapers. As he took a picture then refocused for another, something blurred in his periphery.

He focused and shot it—a small hand rising from the rushing current.

Ito hurried along the bank to offer help, struggling through dense forests and over the mist-slicked rocks while glimpsing the hand, then an arm, then a head in the water before the river released its victim into an eddy nearby.

He stepped carefully toward the small, swirling pool.

Then he slipped off his camera gear and made his way into the cold, waist-high water, bracing himself as he reached for the body of a child.

A Caucasian boy. About eight or nine, Ito estimated. Sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers.

He was dead.

Sadness flooded Ito's heart.

As he prepared to lay the boy on the riverbank, the sudden loud thumping of something large bearing down forced Ito to flinch as a canoe crashed into the rocks next to him. It was empty.

Taking stock of the river, he shuddered.

Were there more victims?

Ito ran to the trailhead, and managed to wave down two women—German tourists riding bicycles—and within an hour park wardens had activated a search-and-rescue operation.

The area was known as Faust's Fork, a rugged section of rivers, lakes, forests, glaciers and mountain ranges straddling Banff National Park and Kananaskis Country. It was laced with trails and secluded campsites. Access was by foot or horseback, except for a few day-use riverside points that you could drive to, and a cluster of remote drive-through campsites at the river's edge which were served by an old logging road.

After confirming the boy's death, and facing the possibility of other victims, park officials notified the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the medical examiner, paramedics, local firefighters, provincial park rangers, conservation officers and other agencies. They established a search zone with gridded sectors.

Rescue boats were deployed up and down the river but were not able to look for survivors in the section where the boy was found. The flow was too wild. Search teams were assembled and scoured the area on foot, horseback and ATVs. All had radios, some had search dogs. A helicopter and a small fixed-wing plane joined the operation along with volunteer search groups, who advised other campers in Faust's Fork.

Some distance upstream in a remote campsite, Daniel Graham stood alone on a small rise that offered a panoramic view of the river, the mountains and the sky.

He gazed upon the bronze urn he was holding, caressed the leaves and doves that were engraved in a fine band around its middle. After several moments, he unscrewed the lid, tilted the urn and offered the remainder of its contents to the wind. Fine, sandlike ashes swirled and danced along the river's surface until there was nothing left.

Graham looked to the snow-crested peaks, as if they held the answer to something that was troubling him. But he never had time to find it. The serenity he'd sought was broken by a helicopter thudding by him less than one hundred feet over the river.

A few moments later, it made a second low-altitude pass in the opposite direction.

Must be a search, Graham figured, as he set the urn aside and looked along the river for any indication of what was happening. Not long after the chopper had subsided, the air crackled with the cross talk of radios as two men in bright orange overalls entered his campsite.

"Sir, we're with search and rescue," the first one said. "There's been a boating accident on the river. We've got people looking for survivors. Please alert us if you see anything."

"How serious?"

The searchers assessed Graham, standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. Late thirties, about six feet tall with a muscular build, and a couple days' stubble covering his strong jaw, accentuating his intense, deep-set eyes.

He produced a leather wallet and opened it for them to study the gold badge with the crown, the wreaths of maple leaves, the words Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the bison's head encircled with the scroll bearing the motto, Maintiens le Droit. The photo ID was for Royal Canadian Mounted Police Corporal Daniel Graham.

"You're a Mountie?"

"With Major Crimes out of Calgary. Off duty at the moment. How serious is this accident? Are there fatalities?"

"One for sure. A young male. We don't have confirmed details."

"Have any members arrived yet? Can you raise your dispatcher?"

One of the men reached for his radio, made checks with the dispatcher and Graham was told that members of the local Banff and Canmore RCMP detachments were en route. Others were being called in to help.

"Do you have a scene and an identity on the victim?" Graham asked.

Customer Reviews

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Six Seconds 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
mrsgodiva More than 1 year ago
Six Seconds was a fast-paced thrill ride. The whole story hinged on what one mother would do to avenge her child's death and what another mother would do to save her child's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't believe this high ratings. This is awful. You have several totally unrelated stories going on and it's jumping between them. It's confusing -- doesn't make sense. I really tried since I was interested in the characters of a couple of the stories but I gave up with since it was so disjointed. How can you have a plot in CA and in Canada which ties into Washington DC? Don't bother with this one. There are plenty of other free books out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great thriller, very much like Tom Clancy. And I did not find a single typo in the whole book!! Unbelievable these days! (Great job, editor.) It was hard to put this book down to do mundane tasks such as eating and sleeping. I finished it in less than two days. A new favorite author for me.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
There's much to like in this action thriller, but the plot is a bit hard to take. I'd like to believe all of the coincidences that were needed to make Six Seconds work, but it doesn't carry the tightness of a classic thriller. Good effort though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not sure rick mofina really wrote this! This is a totally hard to follow, hard to undstand! Do NOT waste your time or $$$$$.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an avid suspence reader this book was predictable and not well researched. The author was more interested in advancing the story than accuracy. Flaws include Graham being an experienced detective who didnt see they were being followed and wasnt concerned when he caught someone tampering with his car. My family has endured multiple deployments and soldiers dont instantly get better without help. The threat in this book wouldnt target the pope, Americans yes but not the pope. A big disappointment from an "experienced" author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Page turner with lots of action and suspense
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Want a good reading book. Get this. Very very good book.
DiiFL 6 months ago
In a world where in a flash, horrors of epic proportions can happen, three strangers will find their lives intertwined in one woman’s ultimate game of revenge. One woman will search for her child, one man will search for redemption and together they will hunt for the woman who lost everything in Iraq. The journeys of Dan Graham, Canadian Mountie, Maggie Conlin, a California mother searching for her young son, taken by her battle-traumatized husband, and Samara Ingram, an Iraqi-British nurse who was brutalized while her son and husband lay dead in front of her, will collide in a Montana town in this explosive thriller by Rick Mofina. SIX SECONDS is an action and emotion-packed thriller that will cross continents as terrorists use one woman’s grief to fashion a disposable pawn in an effort to bring the Christian world to their knees. A fascinating and gripping plot, executed with brilliance by Rick Mofina will have readers on the edge of their seats as they realize, the world is smaller than we like to believe as Fate and chance make the perfect foils for revenge, redemption, and the unlimited power of a mother’s love. Readers will be thrust into the story and held captive as each page unveils the horrors mankind can perpetuate on those they fear. Thought-provoking reading for contemporary times.
SenoraG163 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Started with a bang and lost steam about halfway through. Still pretty good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing read! I couldn't put it down! LOVED IT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I normally don't read this type of book. However , I really enjoyed reading this one. A real page turner for sure. I highly recommend this exciting thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast moving. Intricate plot. Hard to put down. Believable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just had to read this book in less than a week because it was so suspenseful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some parts in the middle were a little long winded but i hsd trouble putting it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No problem following the story like some reviewed. I would read more by this author. 372 Nook pages. (dw)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't read it in its entirety. Won't read another one by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
absolutely best I've read - mystery, suspense, relevant to todays world, several plots - loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good! Kept me turning the pages as quickly as possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It could and probably can be happrning eith the technology today and more in the future-scary
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent