2021 NYC BIG BOOK AWARD WINNER!
Pilot Jake Silver is haunted by a cruel irony—he secretly suspects that he’s the reason Swede Bergstrom, the hero who saved his life, has fallen on hard times. Upon learning that Swede has been killed during the commission of a crime, the guilt-driven Jake too-willingly agrees to follow Swede’s mysterious and beautiful sister, Christina, on a search to clear her brother’s name. Their odyssey takes them from the canyons of Manhattan to the heart of darkness itself, enlisting the help of colorful characters and dodging death every step of the way.
But is the alluring Christina the loving sister she appears to be, or evil incarnate? The body of a woman discovered in Jake’s East Side apartment and her killer’s ritualistically brutal M.O. lead NYPD homicide cop Pat Garodnik to suspect the latter.
Combining his efforts with those of Jake’s mother—a former DA with enemies on both sides of the law—the pair embark on an odyssey of their own, going to any lengths necessary, legal or otherwise, to find the truth and save Jake before his time runs out.
Literary and atmospheric, Dom Stasi’s debut thriller will have you turning pages late into the night with its high-flying action and intriguing mystery. As answers continue to be uncovered, the final pieces of the puzzle are as shocking as they are satisfying.
“The Strait interrupted my normal sleep cycle…It’s a page-turner for sure and darn hard to put down. Great plot, color, suspense, writing and outstanding in describing scenes and locales that made me feel I was in the middle of things. Readers of mysteries will not be disappointed.” – Donald J. Porter aviation historian/author of A JET POWERED LIFE, and FLIGHT FAILURE.
From The Book:
Something was wrong.
But the airplane was old. She’d grown tired. Wrong was her prerogative.
Tonight, though, as she roared her way northward above a coal black sea, something was deadly wrong, and her pilot, Swede Bergstrom knew it. What Swede didn’t know was why he knew it.
So, caressing the controls, he flew on, clinging to his knowledge of the old plane’s virtues, knowing too that those less enlightened, need only look to the polished metal of her perfect nose. For there, in paint baked brown by 70 summers, once-golden words still whispered her glorious name: Queen of the Southern Sky.
But nostalgia could not temper Bergstrom’s growing unease and he began to feel imprisoned by the old plane’s musty cockpit, constrained as well by his clothing: the threadbare flying suit, the GI jacket, its collar stained dark by the oily blonde hair that brushed his broad shoulders.
Seemingly of its own accord, Swede’s hand moved to the jacket’s right breast where a solitary splash of color–an embroidered crest–depicted a winged sword soaring above the gilded words TACTICAL AIR COMMAND. The crest, like the soiled garment to which it clung, was a vestige of better days, horrible days to be sure, yet better somehow than these.
But, Swede found small solace in gilded words and titles. There was just the wind now, that and the starless sky. It was an angry sky, whose mournful wail pierced the Queen’s weathered seams driving Bergstrom to the brink of an ever-lurking madness.
Confused, angry, growing desperate, he knew the time had come.
Reaching into the knapsack beside his seat, Swede retrieved the bag of white powder. Tucking the bag into his jacket, he pulled the zipper tight across his barrel chest.
Returning to the knapsack, he found the razor-knife and carefully worked its point between the fingertip and nail of his left hand’s middle finger. His breathing coarse, his every muscle tensed, he clenched his eyes and pushed, sinking the little blade to its hilt.
Extracting the knife, he dropped it back into the knapsack, finding now the glassine envelope. Ripping its seal, he removed the contents: a tiny black and gold monolith.
Gripping the object between his teeth, he raised the ravaged finger to his mouth and carefully slid the centimeter-long monolith into the incision, forcing it downward, into the gash until it disappeared beneath the finger’s cold skin.
His promise kept, he jammed the throttles forward and climbed.
Upward through the darkness, man and machine finally burst free. Brilliant moonlight blazed across a sea of white as the clouds fell away beneath the airplane’s wings, and Swede Bergstrom tumbled and burned and died in those clouds as his Queen exploded around him.