NO TRACE
Home » Books » Thriller » NO TRACE
Praise for NO TRACE

“An absorbing, exciting, page-turning thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend this book.” – Good Reading Magazine

“Another entertaining read, with an excellent lead character. ” – Goodreads

Read an excerpt from NO TRACE

PROLOGUE

She recognised his face among the crowd, and it sent the emotions coursing through her again. Shock, triumph, and rage. Cold, furious rage at the man who caused her so much pain, who took everything from her, who got away with it, and been hailed a hero.

And there he was, on her laptop screen. Half turned away, just staring off into the distance, oblivious to the happy group who were the focus of the shot. But she would know that face anywhere. Those perpetually stubbled cheeks and chin, peppered grey and marked by a deep scar on one side. The skin leathery with a few sunspots showing through, and an ever-present rollie hanging from one corner. And his eyes, always cold, always distant. Yes, she would know him anywhere.

She glanced up at the photos pinned to the wall. Newspaper clippings mostly, shots as he was coming and going from court. But nothing else. The man was a ghost. Not through any careful scrubbing of his online profile, just due to the simple fact the old bastard never had one to start with. The coppers had kept him well hidden while the trial was underway, and once it was over he vanished. He had left no sign, and he had left no trace. He simply melted back into the bush, and disappeared.

None of his old haunts had seen him. Not the Wintersun, not the Junction, nor the Yalgoo pub, though that place had turned up a small win. Pinned to the old notice board, wedged between two business cards for Whanua & Friends Shearing and Starrick’s Livestock Transport, was an old card for Murchison Dogging Services, faded and barely readable. She had grabbed it with both hands, not believing her luck. No phone directory listed him, and his former employers at Parks and Wildlife refused to give out any details, but that card had both a phone number and, more importantly, an address.

The number was disconnected, and the property in Waggakrine, on the outskirts of Geraldton, was a bust. It had been a horse block once, anyone could see that, though not for some time. No new dust holes from the animals rolling, no fresh turds and, more obviously, the shelters were as run down as the house – no horse lover ever lets that happen. On further delving, it had been sold over a year ago, with no forwarding address. Back to square one, but it had given her hope. He had left a trace. He might do it again.

So she got creative. She started trawling the job guides, searching for caretaker postings, dogging jobs, anything, the remoter the better. She was cautious with her enquiries, claiming to be a debt collector chasing down an unpaid fine, knowing the bush telegraph could travel faster than any half-baked NBN. A few recognised the name, but none were of any help.

So she got desperate, uploading what photos of him she had to a burner Facebook account, and started reverse image searching. She tried Google, and a couple of those so-called Find Anyone With Only A Photo anti cat-fishing sites. Both claimed matches to the photos she uploaded, but neither would give her the result until she coughed up some dough. The results were next to useless, but they sparked a new line of enquiry. She found better sites, better methods, and spent the nights scrolling through countless photos of weather-worn aging men, narrowing and refining searches as she went. It was a long shot, but it was all she had left.

And then there he was. She nearly flicked past it, almost slipping into that automatic scrolling that happens after looking at something for too long. Then those eyes; deep, intense and blue, even in the half-half blurred corner of the picture, they leapt out at her, and she caught her breath. It was him.

She leaned forward, squinting at the photo. A group of young adults, all fit and sexy, dressed in a mixture of tank tops and t-shirts, some in old work clothes caked in red dust, every one of them baked by the sun, and all smiling. The photo was clearly the final group shot before they went their separate ways. Some big job over and done with, and in that last hurrah of a photo, they had caught him in the background. Six months ago, according to the post’s date. He could have moved on by now. But she had a scent, and it was the strongest lead she had to go on.

She poured herself another wine, because if anything called for another glass of wine, this was it, and sipped as she read the caption below the photo.

Muster done and dusted! Awesome crew, great times. Hope to be back at Goldmont Station next year! YEWWWW!

She smiled, sipped again at her wine, and picked up the phone.

ONE

The gunshot wrenched him from sleep.

Steel springs screamed in protest as Gabe Ahern rolled off the old sagging shearer’s bed before he was even fully awake, his senses struggling through the haze of beer and cheap whiskey used to ensure some semblance of a night’s rest. One foot caught in the sweat-stained sheets, sending him crashing to the bare concrete floor, and pain flared through his hip like a branding iron. He ignored it and reached for the rifle propped up by the bedhead, feeling about in the dark until his hands clasped over the familiar, comforting wooden stock.

A torch flashed through the windowpane, briefly illuminating the room and reflecting off the single photo frame on the dresser. Gabe swore, fumbling at the safety while shuffling back to prop against the wall and raise the gun’s barrel towards the door. It wavered. The whole bloody room wavered, spinning about as he fought for control.

They had come for him, finally. Prowling around with torches, looking for his scent, for his trail. And they had found it, even all the way out here, even after all this time, those bastards had found him, as he knew they eventually would. Somewhere along the line he’d fucked up. He had left a sign. He had left a trace.

Another gunshot echoed through the sticky night air. Christ, who were they shooting at? Mitch? Laura? Jesus, the kids… He made to rise, and collapsed again, his balance failing. He drew in deep breaths, gasping as the thick, humid air filled his lungs. Damn those beers, he needed to get his head clear, to think, to…

Again, brilliant white torch light flared outside like a strobe, like bright, white lightning. He jumped as another gunshot rolled across the sky, close enough to send a shudder through the windowpane, like a … like … like thunder.

Gabe closed his eyes, took another deep breath, and swallowed. One single, harsh tap from above, then another, then more, until the rain was beating a steady drum on the corrugated iron roof. More lightning flashed, and almost immediately thunder rattled the fibro worker’s quarters as the storm passed overhead.

The rifle fell from Gabe’s shaking hands. Great, heaving sobs tore at his throat as he brought clenched fingers up to muffle the sound lest it wake those sleeping in the nearby rooms. Tears flowed down his stubbled, weather-beaten cheeks, and outside the rain spilled over gutters onto the cracked, red earth of Goldmont Station.

$32.99Add to cart

 

NO TRACE

$32.99

Get a personalised signed copy of No Trace direct from the author. 

The outback thriller meets the locked room mystery!

From the author of WILD DOGS comes an electrifying combination of outback action thriller and the classic locked room mystery.

‘Did you have to kill them all?’

It’s the question Gabe Ahern has been running from since he bust open a major criminal operation – and left a dozen men dead. He knows that one day the ‘bad guys’ will come for revenge.
A skilled dog-trapper, Gabe has one rule: leave no sign, leave no trace. And for the last year he’s been successfully hiding out on a friend’s remote cattle property in the Pilbara.

But when Goldmont Station opens its gates to a bunch of city folk eager for an authentic outback experience, Gabe can feel eyes on his back. Are all these visitors really tourists?
In the space of 24 hours, the station’s helicopter falls from the sky . . . the phones and internet go down . . . and one of the guests turns up dead . . .

With major flooding suddenly cutting off all exit roads, Gabe fears he’s as trapped as the dogs he hunts. And that his bloody past has finally caught up with him.

 

1 in stock

Praise for NO TRACE

“An absorbing, exciting, page-turning thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I highly recommend this book.” – Good Reading Magazine

“Another entertaining read, with an excellent lead character. ” – Goodreads

Read an excerpt from NO TRACE
<p style="font-weight: 400"><strong>PROLOGUE</strong></p> <p style="font-weight: 400">She recognised his face among the crowd, and it sent the emotions coursing through her again. Shock, triumph, and rage. Cold, furious rage at the man who caused her so much pain, who took everything from her, who got away with it, and been hailed a hero.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">And there he was, on her laptop screen. Half turned away, just staring off into the distance, oblivious to the happy group who were the focus of the shot. But she would know that face anywhere. Those perpetually stubbled cheeks and chin, peppered grey and marked by a deep scar on one side. The skin leathery with a few sunspots showing through, and an ever-present rollie hanging from one corner. And his eyes, always cold, always distant. Yes, she would know him anywhere.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">She glanced up at the photos pinned to the wall. Newspaper clippings mostly, shots as he was coming and going from court. But nothing else. The man was a ghost. Not through any careful scrubbing of his online profile, just due to the simple fact the old bastard never had one to start with. The coppers had kept him well hidden while the trial was underway, and once it was over he vanished. He had left no sign, and he had left no trace. He simply melted back into the bush, and disappeared.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">None of his old haunts had seen him. Not the Wintersun, not the Junction, nor the Yalgoo pub, though that place had turned up a small win. Pinned to the old notice board, wedged between two business cards for Whanua & Friends Shearing and Starrick’s Livestock Transport, was an old card for Murchison Dogging Services, faded and barely readable. She had grabbed it with both hands, not believing her luck. No phone directory listed him, and his former employers at Parks and Wildlife refused to give out any details, but that card had both a phone number and, more importantly, an address.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">The number was disconnected, and the property in Waggakrine, on the outskirts of Geraldton, was a bust. It had been a horse block once, anyone could see that, though not for some time. No new dust holes from the animals rolling, no fresh turds and, more obviously, the shelters were as run down as the house – no horse lover ever lets that happen. On further delving, it had been sold over a year ago, with no forwarding address. Back to square one, but it had given her hope. He had left a trace. He might do it again.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">So she got creative. She started trawling the job guides, searching for caretaker postings, dogging jobs, anything, the remoter the better. She was cautious with her enquiries, claiming to be a debt collector chasing down an unpaid fine, knowing the bush telegraph could travel faster than any half-baked NBN. A few recognised the name, but none were of any help.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">So she got desperate, uploading what photos of him she had to a burner Facebook account, and started reverse image searching. She tried Google, and a couple of those so-called <em>Find Anyone With Only A Photo </em>anti cat-fishing sites. Both claimed matches to the photos she uploaded, but neither would give her the result until she coughed up some dough. The results were next to useless, but they sparked a new line of enquiry. She found better sites, better methods, and spent the nights scrolling through countless photos of weather-worn aging men, narrowing and refining searches as she went. It was a long shot, but it was all she had left.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">And then there he was. She nearly flicked past it, almost slipping into that automatic scrolling that happens after looking at something for too long. Then those eyes; deep, intense and blue, even in the half-half blurred corner of the picture, they leapt out at her, and she caught her breath. It was him.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">She leaned forward, squinting at the photo. A group of young adults, all fit and sexy, dressed in a mixture of tank tops and t-shirts, some in old work clothes caked in red dust, every one of them baked by the sun, and all smiling. The photo was clearly the final group shot before they went their separate ways. Some big job over and done with, and in that last hurrah of a photo, they had caught him in the background. Six months ago, according to the post’s date. He could have moved on by now. But she had a scent, and it was the strongest lead she had to go on.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">She poured herself another wine, because if anything called for another glass of wine, this was it, and sipped as she read the caption below the photo.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400"><em>Muster done and dusted! Awesome crew, great times. Hope to be back at Goldmont Station next year! YEWWWW!</em></p> <p style="font-weight: 400">She smiled, sipped again at her wine, and picked up the phone.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400"><strong>ONE</strong></p> <p style="font-weight: 400">The gunshot wrenched him from sleep.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">Steel springs screamed in protest as Gabe Ahern rolled off the old sagging shearer’s bed before he was even fully awake, his senses struggling through the haze of beer and cheap whiskey used to ensure some semblance of a night’s rest. One foot caught in the sweat-stained sheets, sending him crashing to the bare concrete floor, and pain flared through his hip like a branding iron. He ignored it and reached for the rifle propped up by the bedhead, feeling about in the dark until his hands clasped over the familiar, comforting wooden stock.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">A torch flashed through the windowpane, briefly illuminating the room and reflecting off the single photo frame on the dresser. Gabe swore, fumbling at the safety while shuffling back to prop against the wall and raise the gun’s barrel towards the door. It wavered. The whole bloody room wavered, spinning about as he fought for control.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">They had come for him, finally. Prowling around with torches, looking for his scent, for his trail. And they had found it, even all the way out here, even after all this time, those bastards had found him, as he knew they eventually would. Somewhere along the line he’d fucked up. He had left a sign. He had left a trace.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">Another gunshot echoed through the sticky night air. Christ, who were they shooting at? Mitch? Laura? Jesus, the kids… He made to rise, and collapsed again, his balance failing. He drew in deep breaths, gasping as the thick, humid air filled his lungs. Damn those beers, he needed to get his head clear, to think, to…</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">Again, brilliant white torch light flared outside like a strobe, like bright, white lightning. He jumped as another gunshot rolled across the sky, close enough to send a shudder through the windowpane, like a … like … like thunder.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">Gabe closed his eyes, took another deep breath, and swallowed. One single, harsh tap from above, then another, then more, until the rain was beating a steady drum on the corrugated iron roof. More lightning flashed, and almost immediately thunder rattled the fibro worker’s quarters as the storm passed overhead.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400">The rifle fell from Gabe’s shaking hands. Great, heaving sobs tore at his throat as he brought clenched fingers up to muffle the sound lest it wake those sleeping in the nearby rooms. Tears flowed down his stubbled, weather-beaten cheeks, and outside the rain spilled over gutters onto the cracked, red earth of Goldmont Station.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400"><p class="product woocommerce add_to_cart_inline " style="border:4px solid #ccc;padding: 12px"><span class="woocommerce-Price-amount amount"><span class="woocommerce-Price-currencySymbol">$</span>32.99</span><a href="?add-to-cart=253" data-quantity="1" class="button product_type_simple add_to_cart_button ajax_add_to_cart" data-product_id="253" data-product_sku="" aria-label="Add to cart: “NO TRACE”" aria-describedby="" rel="nofollow">Add to cart</a></p></p> <p> </p>

More books