And here's a previously unreleased excerpt...
A whiskey jack burst out of the nearby forest in a scream of feathers as Daniel stood back and closed the door. He squinted, trying to penetrate the dense spruce, but saw nothing except thickening shadow. He walked around the machine, doing a quick visual on the outer skin of the aircraft and climbed in. Checked the doors were closed. Then he started her up. Throttle closed, all switches in pre-start position. Battery on. He felt exposed, vulnerable sitting out here on the landing site. But they weren’t in a war zone, just a small mining community where a woman had been brutally slain.
Check fuel load.
He’d refueled on the way over, which was why he’d been delayed. All good. Boost pumps, check fuel pressure. The routine settled him. He lived to fly. He pressed the start button. The temperature rose as he opened the throttle. And while he was waiting, he radioed the closest RCMP detail on the emergency channel.
“Nain RCMP, this is Bell Foxtrot Delta Charlie Tango, over.”
“Foxtrot Delta Charlie Tango, Nain RCMP, over.”
“Nain RCMP, Delta Charlie Tango. There is a dead woman in the bathroom stalls of Bear’s Bar, Frenchmans Bight. Over.”
The comms crackled with urgent static. “Charlie Tango. Repeat, over.”
“Charlie Tango. I’m reporting a dead body at Bear’s Bar, Frenchmans Bight. Acknowledge, over.” He turned on the generator and the navigational instruments spooled up.
“What is your position, Charlie Tango? Over.” The dispatcher was Tina something. He frowned, but couldn’t remember her surname. She was kablunângajuit—half white, half Inuit. Nice girl, married to a local trader named Ollie.
Daniel brought the engines up to operating speed. “Charlie Tango, I’m currently five miles northwest of Frenchmans Bight. The woman who discovered the body went into shock at the scene and I’m flying her to the Imaviaq to be checked out. Over.”
“Charlie Tango. Roger that.”
The Doc cocked her head to one side to look at him, her face half-hidden by the bill of that cap. She’d caught him bending the truth and didn’t approve.
He did a thorough visual check of the uncontrolled airspace before taking off. He didn’t announce his intentions because he didn’t want the RCMP to catch him in a lie. He rose into the air, exhilaration punching his gut as he flew. There was nothing like flying. Nothing else had ever satisfied this one corner of his soul.
He flew fast and low over valleys strewn with massive boulders and ribboned with silver streams. It was beautiful land. Unspoiled. Untouched. Almost uninhabited. The irony that the mining operation would change all that wasn’t lost on him and he told himself not to care.
The radio squawked. “Foxtrot Delta Charlie Tango, Nain RCMP. We’ll need to interview you and the woman who found the body as soon as possible. Over.”
Daniel keyed the radio. “Charlie Tango. Roger that. The lady’s name is Dr. Cameran Young. We’re both quartered on the Imaviaq and will await your instruction. Over and out.” He snapped off the radio.
The ship was a retired coastguard icebreaker, refitted as a research vessel. It was prime accommodation for bush work. He looked at the Doc and she gave him a wobbly smile.
“Thanks for getting me out of there,” she said.
Her eyes shone and dimples made a brief appearance. Despite the utter lack of makeup and the lingering trace of shock, she was beautiful.
He gave her his trademark grin. “Anyway, we’re the only ones we know who didn’t murder Sylvie Watson.”
Her brows slid together, a tiny crinkle denting her forehead, no doubt recalling Sylvie’s blood-soaked corpse. Then she opened her mouth as though she was going to say something but changed her mind.
“What?” he asked impatiently, knowing he wasn’t going to like what she had to say, but unable to keep his mouth shut.
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