The Fisherman: A Thriller

The Fisherman: A Thriller

by Vaughn C. Hardacker


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The Fisherman: A Thriller by Vaughn C. Hardacker

After tracking down a crazed sniper last year, homicide detectives Mike Houston and Anne Bouchard opted to leave Boston for the isolated mountains of Maine. They adjusted nicely to chopping their own firewood, relaxing in their log cabin, and simply enjoying the solitude of the mountains.

But then Anne Bouchard, meets and elderly couple looking for help in locating their missing granddaughter. Anne becomes interested in the case and convinces Mike to meet the Guerettes. And suddenly they find themselves back in the game.

Desperate for money to get her next fix, Cheryl Guerette, a known prostitute and heroin junkie, was last seen climbing into the car of an unknown John. Bouchard suspects that nameless John is a serial killer she’s been hunting—a man known to the BPD as The Fisherman. The suspect has been snatching homeless women and prostitutes off the streets from Portland to Boston, and Bouchard needs Houston if she’s going to catch him.

Houston and Bouchard also turn to mob boss Jimmy O’Leary for advice. Not only does O’Leary have a hand in most of the crime that occurs in Boston, but he also knows a few Russian bosses and pimps who are angry that their employees are no longer on the job. With help from the darker side of Boston, Bouchard and Houston hope to locate The Fisherman before it’s too late for Cheryl and his other victims.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632204790
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Vaughn C. Hardacker is a veteran of the US Marines, and he served in Vietnam. He holds degrees from Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine, and Southern New Hampshire University. Hardacker is a member of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and his short stories have been published in several anthologies. He is also the author of Sniper. He resides in Stockholm, Maine.

Read an Excerpt

The Fisherman

A Thriller

By Vaughn C. Hardacker

Skyhorse Publishing

Copyright © 2015 Vaughn C. Hardacker
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63220-479-0


Cheryl Guerette stood on the pedestrian bridge, staring at the swan boats as they passed. Her face twisted, and she wrapped her arms tightly around her stomach as another wave of pain raced through her. She gripped the railing to keep from falling and stared at the strange face that looked back at her. Her blond hair was disheveled, and her blue eyes were ringed with dark circles; she was as pale as a sheet of paper. She was coming down and edgy, her body supersensitive. Anything touching her skin — even the gentle touch of the summer breeze — felt like a million daggers slicing flesh. She knew she was within an hour or two of coming down hard. She breathed deeply, too strung out to enjoy the warm evening. Exiting the Public Garden, Cheri — as she was known on the streets — walked to Charles Street. Turning toward Chinatown, she staggered down the sidewalk oblivious to passersby and the steady flow of late rush hour traffic.

Cheryl wandered aimlessly, waiting for the sun to go down. She glanced at her watch. It would be at least an hour before normal people went home, leaving the streets to the denizens of the night: drug dealers, pimps, hookers, and johns. It was going to be a slow night, but then Mondays always were. She should do the smart thing and return to her shabby room and take the night off. Mel always said that hookers were like preachers and should take Mondays off. That was, Cheryl knew, not an option open to her. She scratched at her arms, clenching her teeth as jagged, rough fingernails threatened to slice her open. It wouldn't be long before she was out of her mind with need — on the ground thrashing and screaming.

Cheryl reversed direction and returned to Boston Common and the Public Garden. She walked the nearly empty sidewalks until her withdrawal symptoms lessened and she could think straight. At the Public Garden, she roamed the paths, searching for Chigger. He would fix her up; he knew she was good for the money.

She had blown all of her weekend earnings on heroin. No matter how many times she vowed to keep a reserve to get her through the slow nights, she gave in and used it to buy more. She passed by a homeless man frantically searching for food in a trash bin. If he hadn't kicked her leg while digging to the bottom of the receptacle, she would've walked by as if he didn't exist. She rubbed the spot on her calf that his filthy, torn sneaker had hit and hurried past him. Under normal conditions, she would have stopped and ripped into the bum, but this was not a routine situation.

As if withdrawal wasn't enough, Mel would come around later wanting his money, and he wasn't going to be happy when she told him she had none. It wouldn't matter what line of bullshit she made up, Mel would know where the money had gone. Failing to locate Chigger, Cheryl left the Common and headed toward the theater district.

* * *

Cheryl glanced at her watch: 11 p.m. In spite of her condition, she knew it was time to get to work. She walked slowly, swinging her hips at every vehicle that passed. A couple of cars stopped, and she smiled and bent toward them, allowing each car's occupant to look her over. Each time the vehicle's driver pulled away. Anyone else would have known it was the wild junkie look in her eyes that turned them away.

Cheryl turned the corner and walked along Mass Ave and Tremont Street, through the theater district. Most times she would have paused to read the marquees for each show while longing for her name to be on one of them, but not on this night. Even in her current state, she knew her dream of an acting career was gone — lost forever in the kiss of a needle followed by the bliss of hot smack racing through her veins.

A strange-looking truck stopped beside her. Cheryl had never seen anything quite like it. It was the tractor of an eighteen-wheeler; only instead of pulling a trailer, someone had built a refrigerated box on the frame over the rear wheels. She thought it was strange that the blue commercial truck was devoid of signage; however, like everything else, her defenses were down. The driver rolled down his window, and hoping to score a trick, Cheryl went into her act. She stood beside the truck and purred, "Hey."

The driver stared at her but said nothing.

"You looking for some action?" Cheryl asked, hoping her tremors were not too obvious.

He motioned for her to get in the truck.

Suddenly, in spite of being close to crashing, Cheryl had misgivings; something about this john was not right. Still, she needed dope, so she got over her reservations and got in the truck, pulling the door closed behind her.

A strong fish smell filled the cabin, and involuntarily Cheryl slapped a hand over her mouth and nose. "Hi, I'm Cheri."

The driver stared at her. His head was misshapen — flat on one side, as if someone had smashed it with a beam. As he looked at her, his slightly crossed, pale-blue eyes flickered from side to side for a few seconds and then seemed to focus on her and cease moving.

"What are you, the strong silent type?"

No response.

Even her need for dope could not quell the alarm bells that sounded in her head — this john was whacked out.

"Look, maybe this isn't such a good idea." Cheryl reached for the door handle. It was missing.


Excerpted from The Fisherman by Vaughn C. Hardacker. Copyright © 2015 Vaughn C. Hardacker. Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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