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Coldwater Revenge

Coldwater Revenge


James Ross



Publish Date

April 27, 2021

Short Description

Bad things happen when a bioresearch research company on the verge of bankruptcy agrees to act as a conduit for anonymous shipments of vials, powders and Petri-dishes in exchange for needed cash. Trouble begins when a poxed corpse floats to the top of a nearby lake and an autopsy reveals it to be riddled with deadly toxin.

COLDWATER REVENGE is an atmospheric mystery/thriller that takes place during a ten day period in the Fall of 2002. The setting is a small upstate New York town with a centuries long tradition of live and let live smuggling across the lake it shares with French Quebec. Murder suspects in a place turned inward by history and geography are of necessity friends, lovers and even family. The brother detectives of COLDWATER REVENGE face difficult moral choices when it appears the killer may be someone close to them. Especially when one begins to suspect the other and the catalyst is an ex-girlfriend they have in common.


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Tom Morgan is on leave from his Wall Street law firm pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into the activities of Haliburton Corporation, a politically connected defense contractor. He returns to his hometown to sort his thoughts and plan a defense. But when he arrives, his younger brother, Joe, the town’s understaffed, one-man police force, wants Tom to help solve a recent murder. The dead man is the bad boy younger brother of Tom’s old high school girlfriend, Susan Pearce.

A local business in financial trouble has been acting as a no-questions-asked distributor for a Montreal research lab, and Billy Pearce was their sometimes courier. An autopsy shows that he drowned, but his body was riddled with deadly toxin.

Days into the investigation, Joe falls ill from exposure to same toxin found in the dead Billy Pearce. Too weak to leave the hospital, Joe pleads with Tom to take over the investigation, least the state troopers take over and stumble upon some unsavory Morgan family secrets. Tom agrees, though further delay in mounting a serious defense to the Halliburton accusations, risks financial ruin.

Tom reconnects with his old high school girlfriend, Susan Pearce, sister of the dead man. But the rekindled romance is soon thwarted by Tom’s discovery of evidence that establishes a link between Susan, Joe, and the toxin that killed Susan’s brother. Susan has plausible answers for the damning evidence, as does Joe, though their explanations are irreconcilable. Tom doesn’t know who to believe.

The State Trooper’s arrive to take over the investigation. They give Tom an ultimatum. Help us, and we won’t have to waste time investigating the cozy relationship between Morgan cops and Coldwater robbers that the locals say goes back generations. Aware that his brother lives beyond his means, as did their sheriff father before him, Tom reluctantly agrees to cooperate.

Tom is abducted by the Montreal lab owner, who was Susan’s lover years ago when he was living with the Pearce family as a foreign exchange student. Local rednecks nearly beat him to death when they found out about the forbidden romance. He’s returned to exact his revenge by unleashing a deadly toxin on the town.

The media runs frenzied stories about the State Troopers foiling a major terrorist plot, never mentioning the Morgan brothers or the crime’s local nature. Tom agrees to keep his mouth shut and let the State Troopers take the credit, provided the State Attorney General drops the bogus claims against Tom in connection with the Halliburton investigation. The attorney general agrees.

Tom is now free to return to his high-octane career; but he finds he no longer cares. Joe suggests that Tom redirect his legal and business skills to help the community build a school for troubled youths like Billy. To a spiritually and emotionally exhausted Tom, the idea is a timely life raft and he happily agrees.

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James Ross

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