Friday, August 25, 2017

Deadly Trespass: A Mystery In Maine Sandra Neily #excerpt


Winner: Mystery Writers of America McCloy Award. National finalist: Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest.

Cassandra Patton Conover is about to become an outlaw. Searching for her wayward dog in Maine’s dense woods, she finds her best friend Shannon crushed under a tree. Then she finds tracks larger than any animal she knows and a mystery only wild animals can help her solve.
Before she can absorb the loss of her friend, Patton is hired to guide a surly reporter who suspects extinct wolves have returned to Maine, but the forest has too many agendas. A billionaire hopes wolves will become a save-the-forest strategy. A timber company plans to exterminate the pack. A game warden loyal to his Penobscot tribe, his attraction to Patton, and his law enforcement life, has too many tough choices, and a black ops mercenary rips open Patton’s wounded life so he can aim her at the wolves.
When gold wolf eyes issue a challenge at her tent door, Patton is drawn deeper into Shannon’s mysterious murder and the wolves’ fate. To find her friend’s killer, she must find and trust the pack. To save her dog, the wolves, and her own life, she must step outside the law, sacrifice her career, and embrace a wild world.

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About the Author

I've been chased by moose, river otters, and mad mother partridges. And that's recent. My seriously unsupervised AAEAAQAAAAAAAAheAAAAJDBjMDg5YzkzLTc1ZjItNDhkNy04MDY0LTE5MjI0NzY5NzI0NQchildhood exploring clam flats, deep forests, and secret streams grew into my mystery/thriller,"Deadly Trespass."
"Deadly Trespass" has received the national Mystery Writers of America McCloy award, was named a national finalist in the Women's Fiction Writers Association "Rising Star" contest, a finalist in the international Mslexia novel competition, and in Maine, received Honorable Mention in the Joy of the Pen competition.
The novel is infused with the drama and laughter of various outdoor careers, the sadness of loss, and close encounters with dogs and wildlife. I've been a whitewater river outfitter, licensed Maine Guide, co-founder of a coalition to protect the Penobscot River from a dam, and I am the author/editor of "Valuing the Nature of Maine," and 'Watching Out for Maine's Wildlife" (reports that document nature's economic value).
My ValueNature blog shares research and documentation useful to those who want to prove that the natural world has impressive economic might.
I live on Moosehead Lake with my husband and Labradors and would rather be fly fishing, skiing, paddling, or just generally "out there"--unless I'm writing new stories that guide people to a disappearing world.

Follow Sandra Neily Website / Krill

Read an Excerpt
In August, camped where two rivers emptied into Seboomook Lake, we waited for rocks to heat. Three pairs of eyes turned toward me with silent questions. You wanna go first? Didn’t you have the shittiest year? I shook my head until tears splashed into my bowl. Molly squeezed my shoulder and Judith swiped a bandana across my cheek.
Shannon tugged my ponytail. “Tougher bark grows over the scar,” she said. She put her plate of peanut noodles on the ground and licked her chopsticks. Then she opened a plastic bag, removed her Great Nations’ notebook, and held up its neat calculations.
“My harvesting plans,” she said. “I make it possible for the company to cut most all the real trees on a site. I work the numbers so, on paper, the scrawny trees and brush we leave behind add up to a phantom forest. Our paper forest allows us to look like we’re practicing forestry—when we’re not.”
I didn’t need proof. A few hundred yards behind our campsite, giant tree-eating tornadoes might have touched down in the middle of nowhere. Except for a green fringe by the river, the forest looked sucked away.
Shannon stalked circles around us, thumping the ground with her hiking boots. “You know they spray, right? Poison species that have no future as toilet paper or magazines? And don’t get me started on reforestation bullshit. They don’t replant, but they’ll be back to cut young trees. Even if I bought it all, I’d need a few hundred years to fix this forest.”
She slumped on the bottom of an overturned canoe. “And our so-called asset manager sucks. I plan small roads for clean streams. Anderson Barter has them bulldozed into highways and ignores fines for gravel in the water. It’s just a business expense.” She sighed. “In Idaho he made GNF a fortune turning woods into getaway mansions. Well, why not? He was a hot local realtor they passed off as a planner.”
Shannon’s waving hands fanned the fire. “He’s a relentless citizen. EMT calls in the middle of the night, part-time deputy, scouts on weekends. Anderson believes everything he does makes Greenwood better. Says the resort will bring jobs.” She shut her mouth so hard we heard snapping teeth. “Damn.” She slammed her notebook.
“No!” we begged. “More!”
She turned her head to contemplate smoke the wind swirled at us. Her hair’s red highlights grabbed the fire’s crackling light and she looked dangerous. Coyotes started up an edgy chorus, yipping in overlapping waves of sound until, in mid-howl, the chorus quit. Under my ponytail, tiny hairs stiffened involuntarily.
Shannon’s mouth tightened into a grim line. She dumped the last driftwood on our fire. “On Anderson’s computer I found a screen with a sketch of Wild Pines Resort. Plans for a gated community, two thousand condos, and two golf courses. I’m partial to the two-mile paved golf cart path that allows fishermen to commute through wilderness.” She wiggled airy finger quotes and slipped into singsong shopping-channel narration. “This one-of-a-kind resort amenity allows adventurers to motor to pristine streams, wilderness ponds, and rushing rivers before it joins the Bogside Bar. Have that second martini overlooking our moose watering hole.”
I stared at sparks burning pinholes in my pants.
Shannon grabbed her flashlight and waved it across the river where pink bits of flagging tape whipped back and forth in the rising wind. “Maine’s forests have survived generations of greed. Not likely they’ll survive this. Ladies, I give you Wild Pines Resort!”
Forty-five miles from the nearest paved road, Great Nations Forest LLC was flagging the driveways, septic systems, and house lots of Wild Pines Resort. Shannon unzipped her pack and yanked out her raincoat.
“Maine’s woods aren’t African scrub or Malaysian rain forest,” she said. “It grows back if we leave it alone. No forest recovers from golf courses, condominiums, and parking lots. At Yale, they call it ‘hard deforestation.’ In Idaho, Great Nations mowed down aspen valleys for ranchettes. In Utah, it bulldozed pinyon pine canyons for condos.
“In Maine, Great Nations will carve up the last real forest east of the Mississippi, cut it heavy, build permanent roads all over it, and sell it to developers. The developers will sell it to people who’d rather park golf carts in three-car garages than hike grandchildren into ponds to find frogs. Wild Pines. Wild Pines! Good Christ! The bulldozer boys are blind, deaf, dumb, and stupid. How could anyone name a place after what they’ve just killed? Wild Pines will be a phony address in some slick brochure.”
Coyotes yipped again. Across the lake, irregular squalls ripped the surface into dark waves, and the rain hit us like a wall of wet, stinging bees. Blown backward, we struggled toward our tents as rocks hissed in the drowning fire.

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