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David Evans




















All Rights Reserved

Copyright ยฉ David Evans 2021

This first edition published in 2021 by:

Loudhailer Books

13 Lyminster Avenue



This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this book are either the product of the authorโ€™s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five


No day is a good day to die, especially when you are young, vibrant, and beautiful. The fact that it was not a single killer, but two independent killers unaware of each other made her chance of survival zero.

Elisa Cutler radiated the youthful self-confidence that comes with the knowledge that men and women admired her, both for her intelligence and her personality. Her flawless skin would flush bright red when admiring eyes cast over her face and body. Elisa was a virgin; she had just discovered boys, well one in particular.

Elisa stood at the stern of deck six of the cruise ship, to Skype her boyfriend. It was an area of relative privacy on a vessel with two thousand plus guests, and one where she could get a good internet connection for her iPad. She carried her tablet in a pink cover which matched the colour of her short dress

The day was on the verge of turning, the red tinge on the horizon announcing dusk. The day had unusually for the area been rainless and cool. The air was crisp as the sun dropped below the mountains that appeared as giant ice-cream cones. The cry from a bald eagle broke the steady hum of the wake of the propeller. The eddies had been the playground of a pod of orcas for the last hour.

Stretching from Puget Sound, Washington, through the British Columbia coast and into the Gulf of Alaska, the Inside Passage includes more than a thousand islands, seemingly endless shoreline, and a multitude of idyllic coves and bays. The ship had visited Icy Strait earlier that day, and was now just a little south of Juneau, Alaska.

2,043 guests, less 1, would depart the following morning on excursions. Many would go whale watching, others to view the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier, a sizeable minority no further than the well-stocked local bars. Juneau was the capital of Alaska and established before the big Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.

The scenery and the ambience meant little to the assassin. He hid in the shadows at the stern of deck six. He was a man, and like any other man, he admired the beauty of his victim, even feeling a little lustful. He was too much of a professional to let these thoughts get in the way; he had a job to do. She would have to die, and it was her brother's fault for meddling in his boss's affairs. 'A distraction' was how he described it; her brother and parents would call it devastation.

Elisa had spent the early evening dining in the stylish Swallow restaurant on deck three, followed by a drink in the music bar, as the excellent pianist plied his trade. Elisa was connecting the settings on her iPad to the ship's Wi-Fi system. Elisa had waited patiently to connect with her first and only boyfriend, whom she had met at college several weeks earlier.

The assassin began to move silently and stealthily, then rapidly moved back into the shadows, as his acute senses warned him someone else was approaching.

The captain was at the wheel, the chefs in the galley, and the ship's orchestra playing the theme to Phantom of the Opera to support the cast in the Seaward theatre. The pianist had finished his early stint in the music bar and was not due to play again for a further forty minutes.

Elisa turned, and ceased dabbing her fingers on the tablet, to see who was approaching her. It was a windless night, but the massive hulk of the ship displaced the air in front of it which created a gentle breeze. Elisa's hair wafted on the breeze, which only enhanced her youthfulness and beauty.

To the assassin in the shadows, it appeared that she knew the approaching man. He pondered whether he would have to kill them both. The man who was approaching was small in stature; the assassin considered killing them both quickly and silently.

For eleven years, the assassin had plied his trade. Not many things could shock him, but the events of the next thirty seconds did. Shock may be too strong a word, but he did feel admiration and surprise at the tradecraft of the individual with Elisa.

โ€œGood evening, Maestro.โ€

Elisa smiled as you would to an acquaintance, and died. The demure figure rabbit-punched her in the throat, and she let out one last gasp, before slumping dead on the deck. He rapidly pulled out a chunk of her scalp, carefully placing it into a plastic bag. He was much stronger than the assassin in the shadows had assumed. The executioner lifted her over the back of the boat in one fluid motion.

Job done, thought the redundant assassin; money for nothing. He rapidly moved back into the dark shadows of the stairwell.

Elisa's murderer walked past the assassin, and stopped for a second, as though he sensed another human being in the vicinity. He

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