Get ready, folks! The seventh season of the Crime Cafe podcast is coming soon! 🙂
This week’s guest post and giveaway come from Richard Meredith. For the giveaway, he’s offering an excerpt from his latest novel, Maskirovka—The Russian Science of Deception. Just email Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Book Excerpt” in the subject line. You can sample the first five chapters of his recently published book, The Crow’s Nest below.
Submerged in a crude submarine hundreds of miles from shore with ten tons of cocaine stolen from a ruthless drug lord, Chase Brenner is having second thoughts about the plan. But it better work or his family is toast.
Thank you, Debbi, for the chance to provide this guest blog. I describe The Crow’s Nest as the mutant spawn of the Savages and Das Boot. It is the first novel about narco-submarines in drug trafficking and a crime story without police, federal agents, or the military, just two men seeking their own justice against a brutal cartel.
Chase, a devoted family man and assistant engineer on a commercial tuna seiner, barely escapes death after his boat and its crew are destroyed by the Hermandad cartel, which is hell-bent on eliminating all witnesses to its unique drug smuggling operation. After surviving an arduous voyage in a flimsy boat, he seeks answers and maybe a little retribution. Hot on the trail for clues, Chase rescues Jonny LeBeau, a Louisiana shrimper forced into smuggling by the cartel who is now on its hit list after he’s suspected of skimming drugs. When the cartel realizes Chase survived the sinking of the tuna boat and is on the loose, both he and Jonny are in the cartel’s crosshairs.
In a desperate gambit to bargain for their lives, Chase and Jonny hijack a narco-submarine with ten tons of cocaine. The secrecy of the cartel’s billion-dollar enterprise hinges on silencing this dubious pair of extortionists. Jonny, though, proves he’s as cunning as the cartel’s most savage sicario. But the cartel plays its trump card and Jonny faces the moral dilemma of his life—ditch Chase, the man who saved him from sure death, and escape with riches beyond his wildest dreams or lose it all and, maybe, his life to ransom Chase’s wife and children after they’re kidnapped by the cartel.
Eastern Tropical Pacific off Baja Mexico
The sea can keep a secret and the night can hide its sins—it’s your friends you gotta worry about.
Isosceles LeBeau, Captain Jonny to all but his mama, wedged his short reedy frame through the top hatch of the crude submarine. Steadying himself against the slow swell lapping three feet below, he scanned the darkness, a stingy moon his only light. It was almost serene, but he knew tranquility at sea was an illusion. Like his ex-wife, it could turn fast.
He pawed the scruff of his six-day beard, more out of anxiety than discomfort, before checking his watch. He was early, which should have brought him some satisfaction after a grueling trip from Colombia and navigating blind under the sea half the time, but the sooner he unloaded, the faster he’d get to land and a few days of real sleep before starting again.
It was time. “Get ready below, I’m gonna signal.” After a few moments, Jonny heard his two crewmen scramble to their stations at the port and starboard cargo hatches.
Jonny raised his light and sent the signal, praying under his breath it caught the right eyes.
Lashed together less than a mile away, three speedboats drifted in the empty sea. The six men aboard were silent, their hearing dulled by screeching outboard motors after the two-hour run from Ensenada. They were, however, vigilant, straining tired eyes in the blackness for the signal that would get them home.
Falco, the leader of the small armada, peered again at the GPS screen and looked up. Hopeful expectation was etched in the faces of the men. He folded his arms and shook his head, “Nada.”
Disquiet settled over the boats. Falco knew to these men the sea held no allegiance, no allure. It was a job, a dirty job, and if not for the threat of a double tap through the brain, they’d be chugging cheap tequila in some skanky beach bar, not here puking their guts overboard.
The spell broke. “Ten o’clock!” the crewman from Bravo boat shouted, pointing southeast. “Lights. Fifteen hundred meters.”
Four long flashes, a pause, and two short flashes.
“That’s it, ready up.” Falco reached under the console and grabbed the spotlight. Two quick signals, four long.
Two long flashes returned.
The speedboats roared to life, strafing the Pacific on cushions of roiled foam and throttling down just fifty feet short of the beacon.
The boats idled like jittery thoroughbreds in the starting gate, gasping, gurgling, and coughing acrid fumes into the still sea air.
Falco squinted hard, the target was barely visible. Only three feet shone above the surface, her gray-blue skin the color of her namesake—the whale.
A low rumble reverberated through the hulls of the speedboats as hissing air from the whale’s ballast tanks erupted in a torrent of bubbles. In slow motion, a shadow rose from the black depths.
A dim light suddenly appeared as her starboard hatch opened. Falco gestured to the other drivers. Bravo boat motored over and the crewman jumped aboard. Charlie boat followed, disappearing around the whale’s stern before tethering to the port hatch.
At a distance Falco watched as four men, two from the speedboats and two from the whale, struggled to off-load the two-hundred-pound bales. Within fifteen minutes, the two burdened speedboats slogged for shore.
Falco motored Alpha boat into position. At the hatch, he locked his eyes on his crewman. “You know what to do.”
The man, his face erased of expression, patted the bulge at his waist.
Jonny was busy in the bilge when the deafening report of a handgun echoed through the cavernous hull. Startled, he hoisted himself from the bowels of the whale to see his two crewmen lying dead on the deck.
Jonny glared at the shooter, his revulsion masked beneath a thousand-yard stare—the face of wounded detachment.
The shooter shrugged, shoved the revolver back into his waistband, and smirked. “No witnesses, no evidence.”
Jonny stepped over the bodies of his crewmen and boarded Alpha boat. In only a T-shirt and shorts, the fresh sea air chilled him. The pilot offered his hand. “I’m Falco. Good job with the shipment.”
Jonny nodded and moved toward the bow.
Alpha boat chugged away from the submarine for several feet before Falco juiced her to life.
Jonny sat alone, his attention drawn to his watch as he wiped the salt spray from his black, hatchet-shaped face—a testament to his Haitian-Choctaw heritage. He looked up and caught Falco’s gaze for a moment, then down at his watch and a silent count. Suddenly, a blinding yellow-orange flash seared the night. Seconds later, a thirty-foot plume of water and debris erupted, followed by a thunderous roar. The men braced against the gunwales as the violent surge pummeled the boat and the salt spray rained.
“Jesus H. Christ,” Falco screamed. “They’re gonna see that explosion for miles!” He jammed the throttle forward and the bow of the twenty-five-foot-long boat lurched upward five feet as the blades of the twin props grasped the sea. Only when they were safe from the wreckage did he turn to Jonny and ask, “What the hell happened? We lose this load and we’re all dead.”
Jonny, a drenched cigarette dangling from his lips, shot him a dismissive glare and in little more than a murmur, finally spoke. “No witnesses, no evidence.”
Nido del Cuervo Ranch, Near Santa Lucia, Baja California, Mexico
The control room was hushed, the silence broken by the whir of air streaming through the vents, the muted clatter of keyboards, and anxious whispers.
Manuel—Manny—Teixeira stared at the center monitor. The subterranean bunker was cool but sweat beaded on the former physics professor’s forehead and fogged his wire-rimmed eyeglasses. His fingers drummed the console to a phantom beat.
The two men seated beside him fidgeted in their chairs, exhaling exaggerated breaths in the heavy air.
A fourth man, Fernando Cuervo—the Raven to his men—sat away from the others. With legs crossed, revealing the intricate tooling of his custom three thousand-dollar Tony Lama boots beneath black trousers, the capo of Baja’s notorious cartel, La Hermandad—the Brotherhood, exuded a calm bordering on indifference. If not for an index finger smoothing his white mustache and the nearly imperceptible arch of his right eyebrow, he appeared frozen. Even for a casino sharp it was impossible to read whether he held a full house or bluffed a ten high.
“Here they come,” Manny said as three yellow dots converged on a larger flashing green dot at the center of the plasma display.
The technician to Manny’s left entered a few keystrokes and zoomed the dots. “About a mile out.”
Emotions were on hair-trigger. They’d worked on the plan for two years yet sat helplessly five hundred miles away in the middle of the Baja desert while the fate of the project lay in the hands of the men at sea in fragile boats. Every plan has its weakness.
In ten minutes, the yellow dots surrounded the green dot, and within fifteen more, the yellow dots were heading east, back to shore.
“Damn, they got the cargo.” Manny laughed with relief and shot his arms skyward in victory.
The technicians sighed, their smiles visible even in the subdued light.
Cuervo remained still. His eyes were trained on the green dot. In less than a minute, it flashed one last time and disappeared from the screen.
Manny swiveled in his chair. “The whale is down, El Cuervo.”
Cuervo rose and exited the bunker. Outside of his men’s sight, a ghost of satisfaction crossed his face.
Eastern Tropical Pacific off the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico
Another half night of sleep, another lonely vigil on the cool deserted deck of a sleeping ship. Chase Brenner leaned against the stern rail, gazing at the shimmer of gold peeking above the black sea. Below him, wavelets slapped the steel hull, splashing into thousands of luminescent droplets. His expression was blank, but his moist eyes told a different story—dawn wrenched his soul. To most, the surrender of darkness to light brought renewal, but for him it meant another day away from Maria, another day without his children. Chase reached into his pocket and pulled a creased and fading photograph from his wallet. As he stared at Maria’s face in the first moments of day, his heart ached and tears released.
“Dolphins, one-twenty!” Captain Leo Garza radioed from the crow’s nest atop the 215-foot-long tuna seiner Bella. “Franco, the school’s on the move. Cut them off.”
The keening outboard engines pierced the quiet of the Pacific afternoon as five chase boats sliced the cobalt sea.
“Roger that, Skipper.” The whine of boat’s propeller almost drowned Franco’s voice.
Like a ballet, the fifteen-foot-long aluminum boats coursed southeast in perfect symmetry.
Garza gnawed the butt end of his Montecristo cigar—his fourth of the day—as he studied the sea through his binoculars. A school of dolphins, a mix of spotters and spinners, erupted from the surface in spiraling contortions, splashing back in shallow dives, and leaping again. Over a thousand animals roiled the sea white in their frantic escape from the fast boats.
But it wasn’t the dolphins Garza was after—he wanted tuna, and didn’t care if it was yellowfin, bluefin, or albacore. Through a quirk of nature, in this area of the Eastern Tropical Pacific—roughly from Baja Mexico to northern Chile—the tuna shadowed the dolphins. The scientists speculated about a symbiotic defense against sharks and killer whales but weren’t sure. Garza knew if he saw dolphins, it was a good bet tuna were close.
But dolphins are almost impossible to spot at a distance. Instead, the fishermen searched for birds. Again, nature conspired against the poor tuna. The birds, dolphins, and tuna fed on the same baitfish, usually sardines, sauries, and anchovies. Flocks of high-flying birds were easy to spot, even at two to three miles, and if they were diving, they were feeding. The Bella would motor toward the flock, searching for splashing dolphins. If dolphins were there, Garza, high up in the crow’s nest—the “stick” to the crew—looked under the dolphins for tuna. If he saw them, game on.
Garza lifted the intercom mike and hailed his navigator in the pilothouse. “Hey, Denny, the boys seeing anything?”
On the bridge wing outside the pilothouse, two crewmen were scanning the sea through huge binoculars. Coined “Big Eyes” by the Navy, the two-foot-long, twenty-power lenses were capable of spotting birds as far as three miles out.
“Just flippers,” Denny said, transmitting the fishermen’s tag for dolphins over the radio. “No fish yet.”
“Keep on ’em.” Garza replaced his binoculars with his aviator sunglasses and rose to relieve the cramps from sitting for most of the day. What he really wanted was to walk around the deck, but the sixty-foot climb was getting more difficult, and nearing his forty-fifth birthday, he wasn’t getting more limber or lighter. He was a big man, not tall, maybe five ten, but a solid two hundred and fifty pounds with thick, squat legs and bulging arms.
Garza peered down at the thirty-foot-long net skiff, Bellita, secured on the angled stern of the seiner, and radioed his assistant engineer. “Chase, what’s the word on the skiff? Good to go?”
Brenner peeked from under the skiff’s engine hatch and looked up at the skipper. He swiped his hands over his oil-stained coveralls before reaching into his pocket for his VHF radio.
“I don’t think it’s a shaft bearing. It sounds okay to me. Maybe Jerome was just hearing things,” Chase said, his broad smile visible even to Garza in the stick.
“Why don’t you stay on board during the next set and see if you can hear anything while it’s under load?”
“Sure thing, Skip. You’ll have to break it to the chief, though. He’ll need to keep an eye on the engine room, and you know how grouchy he can get when he misses his nap.”
“I heard that,” Gus Furtado, the chief engineer, grumbled over the radio. “You’re a real Tom Sawyer, finagling me to do your work while you are on a little pleasure cruise in the skiff. Hey, don’t forget your cribbage board, you worthless dreg.”
“Sorry, did I wake you?” Chase asked. “You should have known I was a slacker when you hired me.”
Garza fought to contain his laughter. “Boys, boys, boys. I’m trying to run a fishing boat here. Can’t you two ever agree on anything?”
“Cold beer and hot women,” Gus said.
“Copy that,” Chase confirmed.
“How about agreeing on one more thing? Like maybe taking orders from the captain?” Garza asked.
“As long as it doesn’t become a habit and you make that young buck pull his weight. I’m not Atlas—I can’t shoulder the entire load,” Gus said.
“What? With your bad knees and that supposed hernia you’re always bitchin’ about, you need two deckhands to carry your coffee cup. Quit your grousing.” Chase’s laugh blared through Garza’s speaker.
“I’ll show you bad knees when they are halfway up your butt—”
“Okay, everybody, fun’s over. Let’s see if we got any fish. And Chase, no more fights on my boat. You almost broke Tommy’s nose last week,” Garza interrupted.
Like cowboys wrangling stray dogies, the chase boats corralled the dolphins into a tight circle. Exhausted after the intense chase, the dolphins lolled on the surface loudly, exhaling a fine mist through their blowholes.
Garza raised his binoculars and squinted hard at the murky ball of fish only tens of feet under the dolphins. But were they tuna? This was the captain’s moment because once he gave the order, there was no turning back. If he was wrong, not only would they have wasted valuable fishing time, they’d be pulling sharks and trash fish from the net for hours while the money fish swam elsewhere. And if there was one thing that ruffled a crew, it was a skunk set.
As the seiner approached, Garza had what he needed. A tuna broke the surface, its scythe-shaped pectoral fin and crescent tail gleaming yellow in the sun.
That’s it. He picked up the loudspeaker mike and looked below at his anxious crew. “Let her go!” From his perch, Garza guided his team like a symphony conductor. Each movement precise, timely, harmonized.
The deck boss, Tommy Beagle, strained at the shackle lanyard until it released, and the net skiff crept slowly off the stern on its thick, steel skegs.
Once clear of the seiner’s propellers, Jerome flipped the ignition switch to the skiff’s diesel engine. Its exhaust coughed until it finally turned over and Jerome backed it away from the seiner. Garza laughed as Chase raised his head skyward and clasped his hands in mock prayer.
The skiff headed in one direction while Denny steered the seiner in the other, each attached to the opposite ends of a mile-long braided-nylon net. The two boats encircled the school of tuna and dolphins as the chase boats kept them corralled.
After fifteen minutes, the two boats converged at the port side of the seiner. Jerome passed the purse line to Tommy. His job done, he carefully backed the skiff away. The dolphin and tuna were contained within a 1,700-foot-diameter nylon mesh cylinder.
Garza’s voice bellowed over the PA. “Tommy, close up the net.”
Tommy returned a two-finger salute and started the hydraulic winch. The purse line was slowly spooled aboard, cinching the bottom of the net. The tuna and dolphin were now trapped on all sides but one.
In another hour, the dolphins were released from the net and the tuna were hauled on board. It was a good haul—forty tons.
Garza sat back in his seat, relaxed for the first time in two hours. He rolled his cigar to the side of his mouth and picked up the mike. “Another set like that, boys, and we can hit the beach. Get things ready for tomorrow and call it a day.”
The mood was electric when the crew queued in the galley an hour later. After ninety days at sea, the boat was almost full. Garza poured each man two fingers of Jack Daniel’s for a job well done.
Fresh from his shower, Chase grabbed his bourbon and returned to his bastion at the stern just as the sea extinguished the sun in a blaze of red and yellow. He raised his glass to the horizon. “To you, CeCe.” He downed it in a single tug. It was time to call home.
Eastern Tropical Pacific off the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico
Chase ducked his six-foot-two frame through the squat passageway, closed the hatch, and was instantly slammed by the 110-degree heat as he descended the ladder into the engine room.
Santos, leaning back in a swivel chair with his legs propped up on the console, sighed in relief at the sight of Chase.
“You look beat.”
“I am,” Santos said, removing the headphones designed to protect his hearing from the ninety-decibel din of the rumbling equipment. “Bouncing on the waves all day, stacking net, cleaning my boat, and then evening watch, I barely had a chance to eat dinner.”
Chase turned his attention to the engine room log and ran his index finger down the recent entries. “How’s everything?”
“Good. The temperature in well-seven started to rise, but I gave it a shot of ammonia and it’s been okay since. Better keep an eye on it. Also, I lubed and oiled auxiliary-two. It was due tomorrow anyway.”
Chase looked up from the log. “Skipper’s got a drink for you then, hey, hit the rack, you’re gonna need it. We’ve got some heavy fishing for the next few days. At least I hope so.”
“Me too—almost home.”
Chase checked the console and signed the watch list. He turned and checked the clock on the bulkhead and decided to conduct his hourly inspection after he made the call. He inhaled deeply; the smell of oil, diesel, and all manner of solvents was comforting. In spite of the raucous clamor and commotion, this was his redoubt. Unlike other boats he’d worked, this engine room was spotless. Gus demanded it. He would not tolerate any spills on his floor or on the equipment, and you had better be damn sure everything was in order when you finished your watch. All tools secured on the pegboard, no trash or abandoned coffee cups on the console, all glass and metal surfaces wiped clean, and the deck mopped. At any time, some portion of the engine room was being scrapped, stripped, and repainted. As Gus would say: “This is our home more than half the year, and I ain’t livin’ in a damned sty.”
Chase took out his wallet and gazed at the picture. Against the backdrop of a dark blue sea meeting a cloud-dappled sky at Ocean Beach, Maria lay buried up to her neck in sand. Grinning with delight, Denise and Kevin piled even more sand with their toy shovels and pails. It always brought a smile. Most crewmen kept their wallets in lockers while at sea, but Chase wanted the picture close. He never knew when he needed a fix to relieve the monotony of ship’s life, if only for a moment.
Chase inserted the earbuds, opened his laptop, and saw he had a strong Wi-Fi signal even within the bowels of the boat. The range extender he had installed eliminated the dead spots in the steel-shielded confines below the main deck.
He clicked the videophone icon and dialed his home number in San Diego. He knew it was late, but he called every Saturday and Tuesday night, and Maria would struggle to stay awake.
After a couple of rings, Maria’s beautiful, albeit tired, face appeared full screen. Even without makeup, her deep brown eyes, full lips, and flawless skin were as seductive as the first day he had seen her in high school fifteen years ago. Chase watched her slight frown dissolve into a full smile when his face appeared on her screen.
“Well, hello, stranger,” she said.
“It hasn’t been that long, has it?”
“Ninety days and counting. How’s the catch? Any chance of coming home soon?”
“We’re doing great. Another day like today and it’s Ensenada here we come.”
“That’s great. The kids miss you. Maybe you can get home for some of their games.”
“The skipper says we’ll be off for at least a month. The boat will be in the yard for some work. I’ll be there for a few days when the new gear is installed, but otherwise, I’ll be home.”
Chase didn’t mind the eighty-mile commute between Ensenada and San Diego. Most of the route was on Mexico’s Federal Highway 1D, a four-lane toll road. It normally took him two hours with his usual stop at the Pemex fuel station in Rosarito, where he filled the truck’s tank with fuel and his belly with fish tacos.
He kept his 2004 Nissan Frontier pickup at the Pescadero Baja office for a quick getaway when he “hit the beach.” He traveled light, a single suitcase and truck bed free of any cargo for quick border inspections. Only his laptop and cell phone sat in the front compartment.
“What have you been working on?” Maria asked. “Anything interesting?”
“No, same routine. I’ve had to fix the chase boats. They take such a beating that the welds split. I had to untangle some line on the rudder and got to use the hookah again—reminded me of our scuba trip to Puerto Vallarta. And I’m trying to fix some vibration in the skiff. Other than that, just long days. I remain a bored and lonely guy.”
“What about all those mermaids I’m always hearing about?”
“They were old wives’ tales—no offense—and were just manatees, you know, sea cows.”
“No way. I saw the movie. Daryl Hannah is no sea cow.”
“Well, if she surfaces, I promise I won’t be lonely.”
“Watch it, big guy. You’re a happily married man, remember?”
“Oh, I suppose if Brad Pitt miraculously showed up at the front door, you wouldn’t—”
“There, goose-gander, I rest my case. Hey, did you just yawn? You know, I can see your face.”
“Sorry, it’s not you. The kids are running me ragged. You’ll see when you get here. We spawned two perpetual-motion machines. Maybe I can catch up on sleep when you get here.”
“I think not, CeCe. It’s my vacation and I plan to languish on the beach for long hours with a case of longnecks and a longboard to catch a wave every now and then.”
She laughed. CeCe was their little code, short for “cupcake,” and only used in their private moments, mainly because she hated it, and Chase loved to goad her.
“I may be tired, buddy, but you’re the one dreaming,” she replied.
“Only dreaming of you. Why don’t you get to bed? I’ll call on Tuesday. Hug the kids.”
Chase disconnected. He leaned back in the chair, his head braced from behind by his interlaced fingers. It was moments like this, just after calls, when the loneliness squeezed the hardest, and he still had another three hours on watch. He missed them and longed for a job on the beach, but the fishing money was too hard to pass up. No way he would earn anything close working the docks. Even shipping out on a freighter, the union money was good, but not the same. He knew the only antidote to his loneliness was work, and so his night began.
Eastern Tropical Pacific North of Colombia
Glazed with sweat, Captain Jonny reveled in the cool Pacific breeze for a few seconds, long enough for two satisfying drags before he flicked the butt into the wind. It’d be another half day before his next smoke. It was his second cruise in less than a month, and he was spent.
“Okay, boys, break’s over,” Jonny shouted in his Cajun patois as he took his seat at the helm. “We’re goin’ down.”
To his left, Joaquin rose from the makeshift berth and wormed his way aft, edging around the bales stacked four feet high that engorged the sub.
Benji was already at the port hatch, on his knees, retching his last meal of canned peaches and tuna into the ocean.
“Benji, when you’re done there, dog this one,” Jonny said, jutting his pointy chin toward the top hatch above his head.
“Got it, boss. Ain’t you worried we’ll be spotted? It’s already daylight.”
“Yeah, but I needed more light to check the hull. We took a beatin’ from that storm. This thing ain’t like those steel and titanium nukes prowling the ocean. She’s just a lumbering fiberglass turtle.”
Jonny crossed himself and kissed the silver crucifix around his neck. “Yeah, she’s holdin’ up pretty good. She may be ugly, but she’s tough.”
With the hatches sealed, the hold was veiled in darkness. Jonny flipped a switch on the helm panel and a ribbon of small LED bulkhead lights flickered to life. He strained to read his watch; the time had to be exact. He’d be dead reckoning for the next twelve hours—the GPS was worthless under thirty feet of ocean. The squall had set them back and he had to make up for lost time.
“Damn, it’s like a coffin in here,” the bearded Joaquin moaned as he hunched like a gangly Quasimodo toward the helm, just clearing the low-hanging spars. He was already dripping with sweat in his running shorts and tank top.
“Ya gotta be kiddin’,” Jonny said. “A coffin is dry and cozy. This is more like a sewer. I will say this, though, you don’t do your job and this could be a crypt for all of us. Just keep it together for a few more days.”
Submerging was the worst part of the day. Ten hours of breathing the fetid air. The stench of mildew and diesel mixed with vomit and piss burned their lungs. The heat was barely tolerable, and the humidity was stifling. All they could do was wait until night to surface and open the hatches. Until then, it was misery, and they still had another four days.
Benji clawed at the heat rash on his legs. “Yeah, yeah. I know, just a few more days. You keep telling us.”
Benji and Joaquin were scared, especially after the storm. They weren’t seamen—they’d been shanghaied from the Cali barrio and hadn’t held down a full meal since. Jonny felt for them. Even after a life at sea, he was nervous on his first run from Colombia, never imagining a homemade submarine was possible. He feared every groan and creak meant the hull was imploding, that every wave would flip them, and that each dive would be their last. Thankfully, it didn’t happen; she held tight.
But Captain Jonny couldn’t waste time stewing about the boat, weather, or the crew. If he was gonna worry, it’d be about the cartel thugs waiting for the ten tons of cocaine crammed behind him—the shipment he was about to lose. Instead, he secretly grinned in the dark.
Richard Meredith is a Flint, Michigan native who moved to California while serving in the US Navy. He remained in California to finish college. After obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biology, he worked as a marine scientist and wildlife biologist for the federal government and the private sector. His work has taken him to the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, the Amazonian rainforests of Ecuador, the tundra and taiga of the Yukon Flats, the coral reefs of the Caribbean, and St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. His work on commercial fishing boats is the subject of my recently published thriller, THE CROW’S NEST. When not writing, he enjoys travel, videography, SCUBA, and guitars. He is a member of the Capitol Crimes Chapter of Sisters in Crime.