Like the boat in my book, Cooler Than Blood, this boat is a used wooden cruiser from the mid-1960’s. A family boat—whatever that means. The first boat, not the last boat. The boat that was around when the memories became seared. The boat we had when I summoned my courage to hold a girls hand, to kiss her lips. The boat I heard her laugh on, saw her smile—jumpin-Jesus, no way of knowing then how long that memory would linger. I drove the boat. Docked it. Cleaned it. Pumped the water out of it. The boat I tied lines to and, along with a friend, swam as we towed it a mile back to the dock when it sputtered out of gas. The boat six people and a dog spent a July Fourth night in as the wind howled and tore down ancient oak trees on the hill above the lake. Twisted them like cheap toothpicks.
The boat we all slept in behind a gas station somewhere in the Deep South because we couldn’t find a room in the inn when the family relocated, boat in tow, to Faulkner country—Holly Springs, Mississippi.
None of that made it into the book, or was ever intended to be in the book. But, I thought, wouldn’t it be neat to pretend a girl loses her father at an impressionable age—say, ten to twelve—gets kidnapped after graduating from high school and uses the memory of her father and the lessons he taught her while boating, to survive her ordeal? My protagonist, Jake Travis, sets out to rescue her and finds himself in a moral quandary that threatens his relationship with the world’s most important person, his girlfriend, Kathleen. I know, that’s a long way from the boat.
When sitting in front of a roaring fire, do you ever consider the barely detectable spark that started it all? I think not. How about all the sparks that didn’t start the fire? The boat was a spark. Nothing more.
But what a story it ignited.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: COOLER THAN BLOOD
Author: Robert Lane
Publisher: Mason Alley
Purchase on Amazon
18-year-old Jenny Spencer is missing after a violent nighttime encounter on a Florida beach. Jenny’s aunt, Susan Blake, asks wisecracking PI Jake Travis to investigate.
Susan and Jake had only spent one dinner together, but both felt an instant, overpowering attraction. Jake walked away. After all, he was—and is—committed to Kathleen. But having Susan in his life again could be dangerous: dangerous in more ways than one.
As Jake and his partner, Garrett Demarcus, close in on finding Jenny, they uncover a shocking secret in Kathleen’s past. Even more shocking is that Kathleen and Jenny’s life are strangely intertwined.
For Jake, this case may hit way too close to home—and what started as a race to find Jenny could become a fight to protect Kathleen.
As the case heats up and the danger escalates, Jake is forced to examine his moral boundaries. How far is he willing to go for the woman he loves? At what cost? And what about that question that has dogged him since the beginning of the case: was there another person on the beach that night?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Lane resides on Florida’s west coast. He is also the author of The Second Letter.