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Richard Levangie

Writer & Author

Secrets of the Hotel Maisonneuve

A middle grade mystery

SECRETS OF THE HOTEL MAISONNEUVE

Secrets-of-the-Hotel-Maisonneuve.jpg
Secrets of the Hotel Maisonneuve

Adopted into a mixed family, thirteen-year-old Jacob Jollimore is having the worst summer of his life helping to care for an elderly Vietnamese woman that he ran into and injured while trying to escape a bully. But a hundred-year old letter hidden in a bureau in the Edwardian hotel his parents are renovating sends him on a treasure hunt that will require him to think like Sherlock Holmes and just may prove to be everyone’s salvation.

Nevermore Press — Order for $12.95

Book Launch —Thursday, Dec. 10 @ 8pm Atl

 

Available: Carrefour AtlanticBookmark HalifaxKing's Coop Bookstore • Dartmouth Book Exchange • Biscuit EaterBlock Shop BooksChapters Dartmouth • Amazon Canada

Secrets of the Hotel Maisonneuve

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Next — Querying

Red Tiger

Chapter One — The Accident

Galen Sinclair heaved, his mouth bubbling with the salty, metallic taste of blood; he felt a rush of fear, knew that he hadn’t been breathing. 

His eyes fluttered, closed again. Nothing. The night was like pitch, with only the soft chirping of a few cold crickets breaking the stillness. 

    

His senses reached out, found nothing but misery. He could feel pain radiating from his face, the dried blood that covered his lips and chin cracking as he tried to move. He shivered uncontrollably. It was damp, and every inch of his body felt clammy. He wasn't ready for the fresh wave of pain that engulfed him as he tried to roll over. It took his breath away. Ribs. He had broken ribs, which explained why breathing was so laboured. He knew the feeling well. He wondered if he had been in a car accident, if he and his dad... 

No, wait... Of course not. 

Galen gathered himself. He was battered and bloody, that much was clear. He was face down against something hard, smeared with his pooled blood. Wood. Varnished wood. A glimmer of memory flared, then died. He listened, and underneath the quiet song of the crickets, he heard the whisper of a river. 

And there... Rocking! It was almost imperceptible, but now Galen could feel the gentle cadence of water, light but unmistakable. 

A boat. Galen was on a small boat. 

Slowly, the memory formed, nothing more than flotsam at first, but as pieces quickly accumulated, he remembered. 

    

A rowboat. He had borrowed Old Man MacNeil's boat so he could get away from the bullshit. The relentless, unending bullshit. He had rowed with wild abandon until his arms and shoulders burned with fatigue, and he was drifting away from his new home in Galashiels, Scotland.

    

Then Galen had tried to purge his anguish. He stood and, perching his feet confidently on the rocking wooden frame, assumed a deep kiba-dachi—a horse stance—so he could practice the three Tekki katas from Shotokan karate as he floated down river. 

  

 Today, a swollen River Tweed challenged his balance; most would have ended up in the drink. But Galen was confident in his abilities, and it was as if his bare feet were glued to the narrow frame, just three inches wide. His arms flew through the kata movements—blocks, strikes, combination attacks. Precise, fast, devastating. As soon as Tekki Shodan was finished, he moved to Tekki Nidan, and then Tekki Sandan. After three quarters of an hour, his shirt pasted to his back, his legs shaking with effort, Galen stepped down. 

He remembered beginning to cap his sadness. Remembered drinking heavily from a water bottle, and welcoming the slow drip of peacefulness. He was a survivor, and this is how he survived. When he was ready, Galen had again assumed a kiba-dachi, and again practiced the Tekki katas to exhaustion. 

None of that explained why he now found himself crusted with dried blood, but he couldn’t decipher that mystery with his face pressed up against an old boat. He rolled over on the third try, the stab of pain so intense that nausea swamped him. Steeling himself, he sat up slowly, and realized that the back of his head was aching. He felt it, and discovered that his hair was matted with blood clumped around a golf ball sized lump. 

    

The night was deep and the stars thick. He must be many kilometres away from town. He could see the spine of the Milky Way stretching off into the distance to where tall conifers blocked his sight, and a wave of dizziness brought his eyes back to his chest. 

Galen scrambled to his feet, bringing vertigo and a wave of retching that doubled him, for it felt like a dagger through his ribs. After a few minutes, he felt slightly more like himself. Through force of will, he climbed out of the boat, which had become wedged in a shallow pool, landing in bracingly cold knee-deep water. 

    

He found the rope, freed the boat from the rocks, and secured it to a strong young tree trunk. Then, his lower half numb, his upper half throbbing, he kneeled in a dense thicket, collapsed, and let his mind float. 

He lay immobile, wondering how to proceed. He needed help, but where could he find it in the middle of the night? Maybe the wisest course was to just let sleep take him and wait for morning. He was so tired, and wanted to close his eyes for a minute. The sweetness of slumber—or was it oblivion—felt like a delicious kiss....

    

    .

 

Storyteller

If I couldn't be a hockey player in the NHL, I wanted to be a doctor. But when I was studying to be a doctor, I realized that what I really wanted to do was tell stories. As a journalist, it started with artists and artisans, and with food and wine, but then real life intervened in the form of a rare brain tumour that knocked me flat. For nearly two decades, I wrote nothing worthy.

When an unexpected respite from the pain took hold in 2012, two novels sprang into my head, waiting for me to write them. I cherished this rare gift, for it felt like Divine Intervention into a life that had forgotten what it was like be alive. I believe that the stories we tell offer us a chance to truly understand ourselves, and come to understand each others. It is a sacred gift, and I feel blessed. 

 
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CONTACT

You can reach me at richard@richardlevangie.com

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