The Price of Silence
By ULLA HÅKANSON
“The Price of Silence” – Thrills and romance, caught between a beautiful landscape and an ugly underworld
INTRODUCINGDrama, Romance, Suspense
Experience First Pages
Excerpt from Chapter 1
A rust-riddled Dodge crept into a lonely gas station. With headlights off, its dark shape blended with the night. The driver stopped by the phone booth, cut the motor and scanned the area. He slipped from the car, then entered the booth. The light flicked on above his unkempt hair, highlighting his blood-covered face as he reached up to smash the bulb with the butt of his pistol. His haunted eyes probed the darkness. No traffic on the road, no movement, no sign of life.
He spat blood on the floor and picked up the receiver. Squinting at the numbers in the weak light from the station, he dialled a number. He cursed as the answering machine kicked in and slammed the phone down. He waited, peering into the night to see if anyone might be creeping up on him. After a moment, he dialled again. No answer. He soon fell into a routine: call, hang up, wait, scan the roadside, repeat – one foot tapping a nervous rhythm on the floor. Out of change, he slammed the receiver down one last time, scanned the area, slipped out of the booth and back into his car.
He drove south through the night, fretting about why his contact hadn’t picked up. He needed to hole up somewhere and needed an address. Going back to his rented room in Vancouver was not an option. They’d be waiting for him there.
Excerpt from Chapter 2
Amy enjoyed the twenty-minute brisk walk to her apartment. The rain had stopped. A few stars were visible in the night sky. It looked like a promising start for her mini vacation.
Weeks earlier, Amy’s cousin Willa had asked her to come along with her and six of her friends on a kayaking trip in Bowron Lake Provincial Park, about eight hundred kilometers northeast of Vancouver. “We’ll be moving across several interconnecting lakes and rivers that go in a circuit inside the park,” she said. “I hear the scenery is stunning, and we’ll see plenty of wildlife.”
“Thanks, Willa, but I don’t think so,” Amy had said. “I have enough drama in my life. Being around rapids, bears and cougars doesn’t sound like my idea of getting away from it all.”
But Willa wouldn’t take no for an answer. She knew about Amy’s break-up with her fiancé and could tell she was going through a hard time. She trotted out scenic pictures and glowing articles. Finally, Amy had agreed.
Amy smiled at the thought of the tip-and-recovery course Willa had insisted they take. “What’s the point?” she’d argued. “Sea kayaks don’t capsize.”
Willa kept insisting. Eventually, Amy relented. The course took place in a sheltered bay. They’d tipped their kayak and learned how to turn it upright again with the help of paddles and floats. That course hooked Amy on kayaking. Now her waterproof dry bags were packed. She couldn’t wait to go.
Excerpt from Chapter 3
The man in the car jerked awake by the sound of a passing truck. What the hell was he doing, sleeping in a stolen car with half of his face hanging down his neck? A cop might come by any time and check him out. He swallowed a couple of amphetamines and got back on the road. He drove south, thinking about how things had changed. Only a week ago it seemed he’d get away with anything…
He’d first met Ken Ross, a member of a Vancouver drug gang, at a nightclub. He’d approached him and asked what it would take to become a member. Ken told him he had a better proposition. They arranged to meet at a waterfront warehouse the following night. There, he learned that Ken was skimming from the Vancouver gang, but now needed help from an outsider. They reached an agreement and started their skimming operation.
Still wanting to be part of a gang, he’d joined a small gang in Squamish, just north of Vancouver. When he told Ken about this, Ken flew into a rage.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” Ken shouted. “You’re jeopardising our business by being a member of a rival gang. How long do you think it’ll take before the people in my gang find out the other gang has a new member, and the name of that member? They like to keep track of everybody. That doesn’t help our business.”
Read Reviews by My Readers
“Ulla continually challenges me with realistic and intriguing questions! It is incredible to watch as she builds the story detail and background. Having been involved in hundreds of the most serious investigations in British Columbia I can say she has developed realistic and thoughtful twists that will challenge her characters and excite her readers. Her depth of thought, energy and effort is fascinating and it is my privilege to be a small part of the process!”
“It’s a classic trope- psycho ex-boyfriend turns up to ruin woman’s life, but Ulla Hakanson writes well and puts new angles on the tale. Her main protagonist, Amy, is likeable and realistically written, and even her nasty bastard of an ex seems human. The lush descriptions of the vast Canadian wilderness also appeal. More please!”
“This is a very suspenseful book that will keep you turning the pages time after time. Hakanson has created an engaging female protagonist in that of Amy Robinson, and readers are sure to be rooting for her as she faces multiple struggles throughout the course of the novel. Never having much luck with men, Amy has to try to stay out of the clutches of her terrible ex Tyler as he tries to catch her, all the while as she falls for a cop named Ben. Set against the backdrop of beautiful British Columbia, The Price of Silence is an engaging novel that is sure to entertain.”