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A Rotten Stinking Place To Die

Length: 239 pages3 hours


Something's hinky on board the Orient Star, and Vannevar "Budiman" Wells can't quite figure out what.

His friend and skipper Alexandra Cooper, a sea-salted Australian who charters the boat for Indian Ocean excursions, is uneasy about her guests. She's asked Budi to come along as the cook and watch her back. He's good at that sort of thing. A bicultural American born in Indonesia, he's been around the tropical garden more than a few times, and through the seamy underbrush of paradise, too, where the poisonous shadows scuttle.

The Orient Star's been chartered by Elroy Kapuni, famed Hawaiian big wave surfer and leader of the Heavy Water brotherhood, once a gang but now gone legit as a sport company that sponsors charity events. This time of year, Elroy should be home on Oahu's North Shore surfing the big juice instead of groveling in small waves off remote jungle islands. Elroy's brought an entourage--an unhappy girlfriend who does not like sand or sun, his AA sponsor who does not like water sports of any kind, an Iraqi War veteran with an attitude problem, and a couple henchmen, Thing One and Thing Two.

Elroy's also brought camping equipment and a high-end Iridium satellite phone. He furtively keeps calling someone, asking about satellite imagery that he's expecting.

Surfing seems to be the last thing on his mind.

At dawn several days into the trip, Budi finds one of guests hanging from the cargo boom.

After the body is stowed in the cargo hold's walk-in freezer, Elroy mutinies and takes over the ship. He puts Alexandra under guard and locks Budi up in the forward crew berth, as secure as any supermax cell.

Budi has gotten out of perilous situations before but this one seems hopeless. He has to figure out something before he and Alexandra end up dead in some rotten stinking jungle.

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