A Miranda and Parker Mystery #15
IS WADE PARKER DEAD?
Almost three weeks ago on a cold dark pier in Boston, PI Miranda Steele saw her beloved husband shot down before her eyes.
Now she and her team are on a quest to find his body and bring it back to Atlanta.
But the criminal mastermind who gunned down Parker has a plan that’s more devious and evil than anything Miranda could ever have imagined.
If she can’t bring him down, it could be the end not only of her and her team, but of the whole world.
Can she stop him before it’s too late?
Find out now.
Six weeks prior
Just after dawn in a port in Odessa, Ukraine, Boris Petrov stood on the deck of a sixty-thousand-deadweight-tonne cargo ship barking orders at the man operating the crane high above.
“Careful! Slowly now.” Ignoring the chill in the air, Petrov scratched his dark beard and signaled to the left.
The wooden crate dangling forty meters overhead at the end of the heavy chain was huge. The first of almost a dozen, it was giving Petrov an ache in the stomach.
Though it was padded with foam, Petrov was not certain of the box’s strength. In his opinion, they should have used regular containers. But those who were above him had decided the interchangeable metal containers would draw attention, and possibly inspection.
That could not happen.
As extra cargo loaded with the usual scrap metal the ship carried, the crates were less likely to be noticed.
But as the heavy box was lowered into the first hold, Petrov’s anxiety only grew.
“Gently, gently,” he shouted to the men who were guiding it into place. “Handle her like a woman.”
“She is fine,” a young man called back with a too confident grin. “I know how to handle the fairer sex.”
Petrov did not like the man.
His name was Andruko. He had arrived from Kiev yesterday evening begging for a job and telling horrific stories of a shootout in a parking lot. The contraband Petrov himself had loaded into a truck days ago had been seized by the police, Andruko had said. All two hundred and forty kilos of it gone.
There was more. Udar had been raided and shut down by the authorities. Sergei Chumak and Irina Savko were dead.
Unbelievable. The details made his head ache.
How could this have happened?
He had checked and double-checked the texts on his encrypted phone. Was the voyage today canceled? No. He was to proceed as ordered.
A week ago the funds had been wired by a senator’s aide in Washington. Today’s cargo had been packaged and shipped to port from somewhere in the east. No one knew where. It was unnecessary information.
No time to ponder it. The next crate was being lowered into the hold.
He had a vague idea of what each one contained. The boost controls, the body section, the cable assembly, and so forth. And most importantly, the warhead itself.
That would go on the upper deck under strict watch.
And then it would be off for the long trip to the island south of the United States.
Petrov had been ordered to travel with the ship to ensure the cargo’s safe arrival and to help with the unloading at the destination. Experts would be in place there to reassemble the thing.
He wanted no part of that.
But it was by no means certain they would arrive. If the sea did not behave, if the cargo shifted too much? Well, he and all the crew could wind up as fish food on the bottom of the ocean.
Why take such a risk? Because it was orders. Petrov always obeyed orders. And this time, the reward was too handsome to turn down. Not that he had a choice.
What his boss had in mind with such a weapon as this, he could only guess. He only hoped it would bring power back where it belonged.
He guided the next crate into the hold and wished for the best.
He did not have answers. All he knew was to obey and keep his mouth shut. It was all he needed. Once he was paid, life would be better. The risk was worth it.
Besides, one did not question the Man in Boston.