small event, just a one kiloton blast at ground level on the Mall in front of
the Space and Air Museum, would dig a crater two hundred feet in diameter and
about sixty feet deep……..Not too bad. Now, put ground zero right here on
MacDill and we could eliminate south Tampa, smooth off the contours around the
bay. Get rid of all the big snakes
down at the end of the runway...."
Lost Key begins
with Corporal Harry Parker as a young Special Forces soldier thrust into
the middle of the disastrous and short-lived Cuban counter-revolution,
then takes you with a far older and,
perhaps wiser, Parker when he is summoned from his Washington DIA office
to revisit the seamy side of Tampa's Ybor City. There he is drawn into the
middle of a drugs-for-arms transaction. Not just guns, this time the
stakes are higher - a nuclear weapon stolen by fanatical terrorists - the
beginning of a wild ride across today's South Florida and the Florida Keys
where romance with a member of the Conch Republic threatens to
sidetrack his mission.
Tidbits Uncovered Researching and Writing Lost Key
- Ybor City - A melting pot of cultures and ethnicities brought about by the
cigar industry, Ybor is a unique part of Tampa's history and future. And the
home of - we hope - fictional organized crime - and a vocal not-so-fictional
Cuban exile community .
- Small Atomic Demolition Munition - SADM's
are definitely not a
figment of my imagination, but were a significant factor in the Cold
War - and an item of great interest for arms dealers;
- Florida Keys - A true vacation wonderland, the
Conch Republic is a world upon itself, with visual delights above and below
water. An ideal locale for drug traffickers to barter with arms dealers in
out-of-the way gator-infested islands;
- Olé - now an
antique - the Owens 26' plywood hull cabin cruiser, Chevy marine inboard
conversion, used to escape Cuba, somehow finds its way to
- US Coast Guard Station Islamorada -
Well, somebody had to be the bad guy (gal). And teach us how to navigate by
the stars. The men and women manning the Islamorada Station on Marathon
Island in the Keys are dedicated, and I am sure don't give a hoot what I
say. Even in fiction;
- Night in the Southern Latitudes - how
to tell time by the position of the Southern Cross;
- University of Tampa - Teddy and his wife ate lunch
on the porch, waiting for the future president to embark for Cuba and
history - and Babe Ruth set another home run
record here - and the fictional Taz Ward named for Taz-ayz-sloth, Geronimo’s
wife, of Cherokee heritage and a Native American linguist, also an
anthropologist at the University;
- Anhingas - or often called the "snake bird"
for their appearance - one of many common water birds
found along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Keys.
Signed copies can be ordered from
Lost Key is a significant revision
Flash of Emerald, originally published by Hard Shell Word Factory and was a
winner of Best Mystery at the 2004 EPIC awards.
Lost Key is now available at
in paper and Kindle editions.
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