'St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking' offers thrills, chills
Dana Haynes has a "warm spot in his heart" for Milwaukie's Ledding Library, because when he first moved to Oregon one of his apartments was close to the library.
"I'd just come from Idaho and was working as a janitor at a Datsun dealership, trying to save up enough money to go to Clackamas Community College. Walking to the Ledding Library was about the only entertainment I could afford," he said.
So, when Haynes, managing editor of the Portland Tribune, part of Pamplin Media Group, was asked to speak at the Ledding Cultural Forum last month, he was delighted, because "writing is a solitary sport" and he loves public speaking and getting out in the community to hear from readers.
However, this event, like so many others, was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the only way at this time to find out about Haynes' latest book "St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking" is to buy it from Amazon.com or check it out, when the library reopens.
The book's plot revolves around the kidnapping of Middle Eastern refugees and an unusual pair of bounty hunters tasked with tracking down the worst of the world's worst.
When the two find out the perpetrators are a Serbian mobster and a battalion of Kosovo military, the bounty hunters, Katalin Fiero Dahar and Michael Patrick Finnigan, seek help from a corrupt banker, a group of mercenaries and a crew of professional thieves.
Haynes said he came up with Finnigan and Fiero because he "really wanted to write (or read) a thriller/mystery about two people, man and woman, who are co-equals and not lovers.
"There's no unrequited sexual tension between them. Neither is the 'primary' protagonist. That was just an exciting concept to me, and these books let me explore that," he said.
The pair's origin story revolves around Finnigan, a former New York police officer and U.S. Marshal who figured out that following the rules doesn't always get the job done, and Dahar, a former soldier, spy and assassin, who realized that breaking the rules doesn't always get the job done either.
Together, they create St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking, a largely illegal bounty hunting operation based in Cyprus and working throughout Europe. They operate under the radar for the presiding judge of the International Criminal Court.
The book takes readers on a dizzyingly complex journey with Finnigan and Dahar, ranging from Belgrade, Serbia, and Zagreb, Croatia, to the Loire Valley and Milan to the plains of Kosovo.
"St. Nicholas Salvage & Wrecking" is the first in a series of three published by Blackstone Publishing. Haynes is in the editing process with the second book, with the working title "Sirocco," and is in "first-draft mode" with the third book.
Haynes also is the author of "Crashers," "Breaking Point," "Ice Cold Kill" and "Gun Metal Heart."
His books are available from danahynesmystery.com, local independent bookstores and online at amazon.com.
When restrictions are lifted, Haynes said people should support events like the cultural forum because libraries play a pivotal role in our communities.
"Like public schools, libraries are open to everyone: citizen and noncitizen, rich and poor, young and old. The health of a library is a good indicator of the health of a community," he said.
When he was 20 years old, Haynes wanted to be either a newspaper journalist or a novelist.
He added: "Today, I'm both. What a blast."
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