About the Author

Garry Ryan

In 2004, Garry Ryan published his first Detective Lane novel, Queen’s Park. The second, The Lucky Elephant Restaurant, won a 2007 Lambda Literary Award. He has since published six more titles in the series: A Hummingbird Dance, Smoked, Malabarista, Foxed, Glycerine and the forthcoming Indiana Pulcinella. In 2009, Ryan was awarded Calgary’s Freedom of Expression Award. His series of World War II aviation adventure stories began publication in 2012 with Blackbirds with the second instalment, Two Blackbirds, releasing in Spring 2014.

Books by this Author
A Hummingbird Dance

A Hummingbird Dance

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Foxed

Foxed

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Excerpt

Monday, August 1

Chapter 1

Lane sat on a bench, inhaled fresh Rocky Mountain air and smiled at the painting of reflected peaks on the surface of Lac Beauvert. He rubbed his right hand over his short brown hair and stretched his lean six-foot frame. A goose flapped its wings, accelerated, began to step lightly on the water and then rose into the air. He watched the bird's image and its wake ripple across the mountains reflected on the water. The evening sun made the lake's surface into sparkling diamonds and emeralds.

The food, the coffee, the mountain air. I haven't felt this relaxed in a long time, he thought. He wiggled his toes in his sandals and wiped at a speck of lint on his grey slacks.

"Shit!"

Lane turned.

Christine put one hand on the back of the bench, lifted her right running shoe and looked at the sole from over her shoulder. His six-foot-tall niece was wearing a white sleeveless blouse, baggy white shorts and cream-in-your-coffee skin.

Lane looked around. Every male and every other female within shouting distance were looking their way. He could read their minds.

Christine dragged her shoe over the grass. "There's goose shit everywhere! How could geese have that much crap in them?" She looked out over the water at a Canada goose being followed by five goslings and cooed, "Awww. Do you see that? Aren't they cute?" Christine pointed at the family. She handed Lane his cell phone.

He stuffed it in his shirt pocket.

The invasive rumble of unmuffled exhaust pipes made them look left.

A pair of low-slung motorcycles approached along the road leading to the lodge entrance. Both riders wore black leather, ample bellies, sunglasses, tattoos and black helmets. The lead rider eased off on the throttle. The second rider spotted Christine.

The second rider promptly forgot about his front-running riding partner. There was a scream of metal. One engine raced, the other stalled and both bikes fell over. A second engine died.

The riders got to their feet in the sudden quiet. One looked hopefully in Christine's direction.

Christine looked at the wreckage. "What were they looking at?"

Lane smiled. "You."

"What's that supposed to mean? You think it's my fault?" Christine frowned.

Lane thought, Quick, change the subject. "Where are Matt and Dan?"

"Swimming." Christine looked over her shoulder at the pool. "You didn't answer my question."

Lane stood up. "No, I don't think it was your fault! You're drop-dead gorgeous and oblivious to the fact. Arthur's having a nap. If you get him, I'll get the other two and we'll go get something to eat."

The five of them met for dinner. The table overlooked the lake and the surrounding mountains tipped with white.

Matt had lost weight, was shaving every day and wore his black hair cut short. He said, "It would be nice to stay for a few more days."

Christine said, "You know, this is the first time I've been to Jasper. And the first time I've seen a grizzly."

Daniel, her brown-haired boyfriend, was taller than Christine, slender and introverted. He was finally beginning to feel relaxed enough around Lane to open up. "The grizzly was incredible."

Lane nodded. "It was a thing of beauty. A hunter." It's good to be talking about bears instead of cancer, surgery, scarring, fatigue and what the last doctor had to say.

"Okay, tell us what you're thinking." Arthur looked out over the water. His new exercise program was beginning to pay off. His belt had two old cinch lines in the leather to prove it. It hadn't, however, helped him grow back the hair atop his tanned head.

"I was thinking how it's good for all of us to be here. I was thinking I'm glad you don't have to have chemo. And I was thinking we should go to California next. Maybe San Diego." Lane looked around the table, gauging the reactions of four people.

"Can Daniel come?" Christine asked.

"Can we stay close to the beach?" Matt asked.

Lane's phone began to vibrate in his shirt pocket.

Arthur smiled. "That's not what I asked you. That's not what you were thinking. You just changed the subject again."

"You really want to know what I think of grizzlies?" Lane asked.

He felt their curiosity pique and the resultant attention shift in his direction.

Lane ignored his phone. "The bear was afraid of us, yet we fear it. It's a hunter. It's very good at what it does. And it makes us feel like prey. Still, we're not the endangered species."

"Like you," Matt said. "You're a hunter."

"And people fear you," Daniel said.

Lane picked the phone out of his pocket and flipped it open.

Christine grabbed it from him and put it to her ear. "Hello?" She slapped Lane's hand away as he reached to take the phone back. "Hi, Keely. How are you? Yes, we'll be back tomorrow. Probably in the afternoon." She listened for a minute, then said, "I'll pass the message along. He's right here, but we were in the middle of a good conversation, and he was using your call as an excuse to avoid answering a tough question. You know how he avoids answering the questions he doesn't want to answer? I'll get him to call you right back."

"What's up?" Lane asked.

"I'll tell you when we finish this conversation." Christine curled her fingers around the phone.

"Could I have my phone back, please?" Lane motioned with his open right hand.

"No." She put the phone on the table, covered it with a napkin and put her hands over top.

Lane looked at Arthur, who was getting his spark back after a double mastectomy. It had been a long haul. There was the shock of the diagnosis, the operation and recovery from surgery, then the chemo and all of those lovely side effects.

Arthur said, "She wants some answers. You expect the same from us. Remember your big speech about us being honest with one another?"

"Okay. What do you want to know?" Lane refilled his coffee from the carafe at the centre of the table.

"Do you admire the grizzly because it's a hunter like you?" Matt asked.

"Or because it's feared and misunderstood?" Arthur asked.

"What about the fact that it's nearly extinct?" Christine asked.

Lane joined in on the laughter.

Daniel said, "Of course it's not because male grizzlies sometimes kill male cubs."

Christine glared at Daniel. "How did you know that was what the call was about?"

Christine will forever be leaping to conclusions after the way she was mistreated in Paradise, Lane thought, then asked, "About what?"

"Keely said they found the body of a missing boy. She thinks it may be related to one of your unsolved cases." Christine lifted the napkin and handed him the phone.

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Glycerine

Glycerine

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also available: eBook
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Malabarista

Malabarista

edition:Paperback
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Matanzas

Matanzas

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Excerpt

Saturday, June 15

Chapter 1

Lane kept his elbows tucked against his rib cage. Arthur looked out the window on one side. An Acadian oil-rig worker sat on the other side of Lane. His biceps were thigh sized and he weighed at least three hundred pounds. Across the aisle from them, Christine sat with Indiana on her lap. Dan looked out the window where the world was white cloud below and blue sky above. Matt slept open mouthed and snored. The jet engines were a constantly reassuring hum.

Lyle, the mountain, pushed back his Flames ball cap and asked, "Your buddy there said you were going to a wedding?"

"Yes, our niece is getting married." Lane looked to his right and up. At six feet, he was dwarfed by Lyle.

"They love Canadians in Cuba. I got married down here. My wife works on one of the resorts."

"Which one?"

"Barceló."

"I think we're at Iberostar."

Lyle nodded, then shifted his weight. Lane's seat bounced forward and back. Lyle said, "I hope my dog is okay."

"Dog?"

"Riley. He's a boxer. Purebred." Lyle pointed at the floor. "He's riding below. The vet gave me some pills so he'd relax. Just hope he slept. He's kind of hyper."

"How did you manage to be born in Acadia, work in Alberta and marry a Cuban?"

Lyle smiled. "Came out west for a job. Ended up working on the rigs. Worked on the rigs down here. Met Antonia. Took a winter vacation down here, then came back for a few more visits." Lyle held up five fingers. "Bought a house. Her family thinks they've won the lottery because Antonia and I got married. Cubans love Canadians. They don't think much of the Russians and even less of Americans." He poked Lane with a forefinger. "Make sure you tip the people who work at the resort. They work damned hard for very low wages, you know."

"I'll remember that."

"Hey, by the way, what happened to your ear?" Lyle grabbed his own earlobe with a beefy right hand and pointed at Lane's.

Lane lifted his chin. "I went on a domestic disturbance call. The husband was drunk and he was a biter."

"You're a cop?" Lyle looked sideways at Lane, then at Arthur.

"That's right."

Lyle nodded. "You'll be safe in Cuba. The police here do a pretty good job of keeping the tourists safe and happy."

"Good to know."

"Cuba will teach you some new things. It's not the place you've been told about in the media. It's going to delight and disappoint you. It's one of those places you have to see for yourself and make up your own mind about." Lyle closed his mouth, reached into a bag, pulled out a magazine and began to read.

An hour later the jet began its descent to Cuba's Varadero airport. Lane swallowed to equalize the pressure in his ears. Indiana sucked on a bottle of milk with one hand overtop the glass and watched his mother. Out of the corner of his right eye Lane saw a woman studying him. She sat in the aisle seat behind Christine. The woman looked to be in her fifties with short-cut blonde hair. Her eyes were violet and vaguely familiar. Lane began to study her as she leaned forward in her seat. A smile played on her lips. She nodded at him, then turned when the young woman sitting next to her asked a question.

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Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez

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Chapter 1
Monday, November 3
Lane looked at orange gold schooling beyond the toes of his black and red cross trainers. The kokanee rested before attempting another swim against the current and up through the culvert. The pipe was a meter in diameter and ran perpendicular to the two-lane paved road that carried Lane and Arthur here. The highway was about thirty metres above the stream it bisected. Lane watched an exhausted fish being swept back out the pipe and into the stream. The water's usual olive green was visible here and there as it flowed downstream and into Lake Koocanusa. The lake was one hundred and forty-five kilometres long and shared by BC and Montana. It ran roughly north and south along a valley in the Kootenai Rockies. Arthur had turned off the paved road on the east side of the lake along the way to a place called Jaffray.

It was a dusty ten degrees Celcius in a valley predominantly forested with evergreens. Lane looked at the wavering gold under the rippling surface. These fish don't know or care which side of the border they are on. He looked west toward the lake but all he could see was some of the creek's white water, trees and thick undergrowth.

Arthur put his hand on Lane's shoulder and said, "My dad brought us here when I was eight or nine. He said that Canadians didn't appreciate what was right under their noses. He called the spawning of the kokanee one of God's great miracles. They are born together, they die together and they give life to the next generation." Arthur lifted his Blue Jays ball cap and wiped the shiny sweat of his scalp with the sleeve of his shirt. "I was more interested in the rocks." He bent to pickup a grey stone shaped like a boomerang. Arthur's round Mediterranean face was lit with a smile. "See what I mean?"

Lane smiled and looked back to the gentler waters between the culvert and the rapids downstream. Thousands of kokanee waited their turn in the relatively calmer waters. I have never seen anything quite like this. What makes them gather together for generation after generation to swim upstream to spawn and die?

"You gotta watch out for the bears." A man stepped out of the trailer parked about ten metres back from the stream. He wore a frayed once green now grey shirt, grey green work pants belted with a rope and lace free white running shoes. The man's black hair was uncombed. His face and hands told the story of twenty or thirty years of outdoor labour.

Lane smiled and pulled up the waist of his black pants. These things must be stretching. "Any around today?"

"Not so far but they will come. Always do."

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Smoked

Smoked

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tagged : gay
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The Detective Lane Casebook #1

The Detective Lane Casebook #1

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The Lucky Elephant Restaurant

The Lucky Elephant Restaurant

A Detective Lane Mystery
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