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chapter 1

Norika Edo paced back and forth next to one of the huge picture windows of her apartment that offered a panoramic view of the Roppongi District of Tokyo. She spoke loudly into a satellite phone and then tossed it onto a couch as she stopped pacing and stared for a long time at the carefully manicured gardens five floors below her. The fifth floor of the Izumi Villa Tower was entirely leased by the Edosan Corporation, an international import company dealing principally in precious stones and gold.

Norika was making very little progress in resolving a problem that had consumed her every waking moment of the last four months—from the day that the island of Honshu had experienced a major earthquake. The fact that nearly 20,000 people had died, 400,000 people had been left homeless, and a nuclear power plant had leaked radioactivity and caused a meltdown did not bother her. Her concern was for a very small, unmanned watercraft—an escape pod that had been lashed to the aft deck of a freighter that just happened to be anchored in the Miyako Harbor at the time of the quake.

The Kanji Maru had turned on her port side and had been pushed under a bridge by the receding tsunami wave, drowning most of the crew as the boat sunk just outside the bay. One of the survivors reported that her husband made it into the ship’s lifeboat which may have remained attached to the ship.

When Norika heard about the tragedy, she immediately ordered a salvage crew to find the sunken vessel and to retrieve her husband’s body and a certain item of cargo, only to learn that they were missing and presumably had become part of the massive raft of floating debris consisting of houses, docks, vessels, vehicles, toxic chemicals, personal possessions, and, of course, thousands of corpses.

For weeks after the tsunami, Norika dispatched search team after search team to find the small escape pod from the vessel amongst the debris that continued to drift eastward across the Pacific. Other teams searched inland in the event that scavengers had already salvaged the pod and secreted it away for later resale. Each day the reports were the same—the pod had not been found. She kept the real reason for the search a secret, leaving Edosan employees and the search teams mystified as to why she wanted so desperately to find the boat, knowing that her husband was most likely dead. Only she and one of her most trusted employees, who had just made a report to her, knew that the little pod contained one hundred million dollars in bearer bonds from an offshore bank in the Marshall Islands and another one hundred and fifty million dollars’ worth of diamonds that belonged to her now-dead husband and his business associates. What the rest of her employees did know was that their boss, like her dead husband, was a Yakuza—a crime lord—and they dare not fail in their search.

Her personal cell phone rang again. Norika retrieved it and looked at the number on the display. It blinked “Unknown Caller.” Her tone was terse as she took the call. “This is a private number. Who’s calling?” she demanded.

“Now, Norika that is no way to greet a longtime associate of your husband.”

“Yuri Matasuba! Even if you had called through my personal secretary, I have no reason to offer any pleasantries to you. And in case you are thinking of hanging up quickly, watch your ass. You may get stuck with a needle filled with puffer-fish toxin.”

“Oh, a most unpleasant lady making such violent threats,” Yuri replied with a voice that was even icier than her own. “So I am pleased to respond in kind. Your dead husband was involved in a certain business transaction with myself and another associate whose identity I cannot reveal. It involves a large sum of bearer bonds and diamonds that now seem to have disappeared from our account in the Marshalls. My source informed me that your husband was the person who withdrew, shall we say, these joint assets. He covered his tracks well, but not well enough! Before he most unfortunately died, the young clerk who assisted your husband told us everything. We would like to receive our share—with interest, of course. You have ten days to make arrangements for the transfer. You will be contacted as to the details. Have a most pleasant day, Norika.”

Norika Edo was both furious and frightened as she threw the phone across the room. She turned to the window facing the east side of the city and beyond. Somewhere out on the Pacific was the escape pod with her husband, the bonds and diamonds. It had to be there, and she had an impossible ten days to find it.

2014

Destruction Island

When Earl Armstrong assists a group of volunteers surveying tsunami debris that is threatening the pristine Northwest coast, he discovers a body mysteriously linked to a remote island where his great-grandfather once served as a lighthouse keeper. It is an island with a tragic history and holding a secret presumably known only to his great-grandfather and himself. Then Earl discovers there is someone searching for this hoard of Indian artifacts that includes a priceless, golden sun mask–a ruthless collector who will stop at nothing short of murder and kidnapping to possess it.

“Fred has done it again with a great story! Rather than pacing myself, only allowing myself to read a few pages each night, I let myself read this book over a couple days. It was a “page-turner” and I didn’t want to put it down. Thank you Fred and I look forward to the next one!!!” Amazon Review

Destruction Island Cover