About the Author

Ron Corbett

Ron Corbett is a writer, journalist, and broadcaster whose writing has won numerous prizes, including two National Newspaper Awards. Previously, he published the books The Last Guide and A Grand Adventure. Corbett has taught journalism at Carleton University and has worked for the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Sun, and CHUM Radio. He lives in Manotick, Ontario.

Books by this Author
Cape Diamond

Cape Diamond

A Frank Yakabuski Mystery
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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Excerpt

 

Chapter One

 

The first ones to cross Filion’s Field that Monday morning were shift workers heading to the O’Hearn sawmill on Sleigh Bay. The field was on the west end of an escarpment that soared high above the Springfield River, and each worker would have left a high-rise apartment, lunch pail and coffee thermos in hand, then taken the shortcut across the sports field to be standing at the Sleigh Bay bus stop by 5:45 a.m.

 

The sun appeared that morning at 6:41, and so the men walked in the dark. Likely they walked with their heads down and eyes to the ground, in no hurry to greet the day, as they were shift workers heading to the O’Hearn sawmill on Sleigh Bay.

 

They could have missed it. When the workers were tracked down by police later that day — there were nine in total, all men — not one was interviewed for more than five minutes.

 

Next to cross the field were early-morning workers on their way to the city of Springfield: file clerks and security guards, dishwashers and parking lot attendants, construction labourers and split-shift bus drivers. By the time these workers crossed, the sun was in the sky, a winter sun that would have been more white than yellow, that would have shone through the birch and spruce at the edge of the escarpment and the canyon openings between the high-rise apartment buildings, casting shadows that would have lain directly in their path. Police were able to track down twenty-two of these workers. Each was interviewed at length. No one remembered seeing anything unusual about the east-side fence of Filion’s Field that morning.

 

The last to cross were children, taking another shortcut, this one leading to a cut-opening in the fence and beyond that a trail through the woods that brought them to Northwood Elementary School. It was hard to get an accurate number for the children. Police estimated there could have been as many as thirty.

 

During first recess, a half-dozen boys returned to Filion’s Field and that was when a police officer spotted them, throwing rocks at something tied to the fence, a target of some sort. The rocks arced in the air. The boys laughed. By then, the sun had risen high enough to be shining directly through the chain-link fence that surrounded the field, casting geometric shadows on the soccer pitch that replicated the metal mesh.

 

The cop’s name was Donna Griffin, a young cop who had come to the North Shore projects to serve a family court warrant. She watched the boys, trying to figure out what game they were playing. Eventually, she started walking toward them. When she was spotted, the boys turned as one, like a herd of deer spotting a hunter. Then they took off as one, heading toward the hole in the fence and the path beyond.

 

The cop knew better than to give chase, as there was no way she was going to catch those boys. A couple of them had looked fast enough to make All City. She watched them disappear into the woods, and before the last child’s back vanished, she realized no boy had turned to yell at her. Not one jeer or taunt when it was obvious she was not giving chase. A half-dozen boys. From the North Shore projects.

 

She kept walking. Was halfway across the pitch when the object tethered to the fence began to take shape, began to occupy time and space and become a thing defined. She stopped fifteen feet short of the object. The shadows fell across her, not in the pattern of chain-link, but as two large intersecting lines. She stared up at the fence and found herself wishing she had chased those boys.

 

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First Soldiers Down

First Soldiers Down

Canada's Friendly Fire Deaths in Afghanistan
by Ron Corbett
foreword by Pat Stogran
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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Mission Road

Mission Road

A Frank Yakabuski Mystery
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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Excerpt

 

Frank Yakabuski looked at the man sitting the other side of the kitchen table and couldn’t decide what to think of him. Calvin Jayne. Forty-eight years old. Drove cab for Shamrock Taxi, a mill-hand before that. Lived in a one-bedroom walk-up on Derry Street. No signs of a wife or children. Cases of Old Milwaukee – cheapest beer at most dépanneurs – stacked by the back door.  

 

Jayne wore grey sweat-pants and a rib-tee-shirt that didn’t cover his stomach, short enough to show three rolls of pale, mid-winter skin and tufts of sweaty, black hair. It was too hot in the apartment. He was overcompensating, although the cabbie wasn’t the only one doing that. Although winter had been late arriving on the Northern Divide, when it came it was bitter cold. The salt trucks couldn’t run most days because of the cold and there was black ice everywhere. Highway fatalities were common. So were animals you’d see in the morning, standing in some distant field with fog swirling around them, scrawny black bear, teetering moose, beasts awoken from their hibernation and not sure what to do next.

 

It was a winter for ill-fated wonders. The first fortune hunter arrived the second week of February. His name was Jason McAllister and he was a post-graduate mathematics student from Syracuse University who checked into the Grainger Hotel after arriving on a direct flight from Toronto. Because he showed no sign of needing to be in Springfield — he didn’t check in with the gear of a hydro worker or a tree-marker; didn’t seem to be looking for work at the saw mills or the truck yards – he was noticed.

 

During the next two days McAllister was seen shopping at Murphy’s Sporting Goods, where he purchased packets of dehydrated food and some propane tanks. And the Stedman’s department store, where he purchased wool socks, long underwear and several toques. He used the business suite on the second floor of the Grainger several times, where there was free wi-fi. Many of the staff in the hotel recall him working on a laptop.

 

On his third day in Springfield he checked out of the hotel and took a cab to the parking lot of the Mission Road trailhead. His mother reported him missing two days later.

 

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Ragged Lake

Ragged Lake

A Frank Yakabuski Mystery
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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