The 49th Protocol
- by Todd Gray
Stewart MacGregor – or Mac, as most people call him – is sent to work undercover on the RCMP Musical Ride to root out bullying and harassment. He soon finds himself entangled in something much bigger. And much more dangerous.
In his thirty+ years as an RCMP Officer, Todd Gray's service included assignments on the famous Musical Ride, as an instructor in the RCMP training academy, plain clothes GIS, and emergency response.
When an archivist discovers part of a top-secret document hidden in the journal of Sir Samuel Steele, who was a key figure in RCMP history, he sets in motion a desperate race to locate the other part. After all, the two parts together could irrevocably change the fates of two countries – and the world.
As police hero Mac starts to uncover a web of RCMP corruption, he unwittingly gets caught up in this race. It’s not long before what was supposed to be an investigation into harassment, bullying, sexism and sexual assault turns into international intrigue, with deadly consequences.
There aren’t many police procedural novels that deal with the RCMP and the Canadian criminal justice system. There are even fewer that are written with an insider’s knowledge. Todd Gray spent three decades as a member of the RCMP and has first-hand knowledge of the ins and outs of Canada’s biggest crime-fighting organization. In The 49th Protocol, he writes with authority but also with compassion about the issues within RCMP ranks: not only the glory and the glamour but also the dark side, including bullying and harassment, social isolation, PTSD, and police corruption.
What to Expect
The 49th Protocol is more than hard-boiled detective fiction, though.
It also looks at issues within Canadian society, such as the history of the First Nations people and the legacy of the residential school system, while exploring the possibilities of what could have been in a geopolitical sense.
It is crime fiction that takes you along at a galloping pace from the very first page and has you navigating the twists and turns until the thrilling end.
In The 49th Protocol (excerpt)
My chosen spot for the night featured a dry riverbed—the perfect depression for one man and two horses, an escape route downstream, and a stand of eroded rocks as a secondary barrier to protect from an intruder. About thirty feet high, with large caverns within it, the patiently carved monolith stood as a testament to glacial times—so out of place on the prairie.
Firewood was sparse, but I gathered enough to set myself up for the night. As I stoked the fire, I spoke: “Evening, Gabe.” I didn’t even turn.
“How’d you know it was me?” Gabe stepped into the campfire’s light.
“Indians don’t smoke Cubans, Americans do.” He turned and wandered over to his saddlebags.
“How about some coffee before we get down to business?” While I showed Gabe a sack of coffee with one hand, I retrieved the leather pouch and slipped it into my jacket.
“That would be mighty kind of you on any other night, but I don’t have a lot of time for idle chit chat.” The metallic click of the hammer on Gabe’s Colt Peacemaker reinforced the urgency.
“Don’t make me to shoot you. Just give me the goods and I’ll be on my merry way. I meet with the US Cavalry in the morning and I don’t fancy being late.”
I slowly approached the fire, planted one foot on a dead log, then slid my hand along my leg toward my boot. In my mind I played out how I’d bury the letter opener in Gabe’s throat: lunge, twist, slash, and jab. Doable. A shame to have to kill such an admirable adversary, but a job’s a job.
Gabe grabbed the stub of the Cuban cigar he was chewing on, then stepped around the fire, closer. “Keep your hands where I can see them, Samson. A piece of paper isn’t worth dying for. Just let me have it and, who knows, perhaps we’ll be on the same team again one day.”
I shrugged and shook my head. “You know I can’t do that. There’s nothing in it for me if I do.” My fingers grazed the silver knife-letter opener. Suddenly I looked up, thinking it was raining. When I refocused, it appeared Gabe was trying to speak, but the point of an arrow protruded from the American’s chest, impaling him from behind.
Blood appeared at the corner of Gabe’s mouth and dripped into the dust. Gabe raised his pistol at my head at the same moment a second arrow pierced Gabe’s throat, again from behind. He fell, face first, right at my feet, just missing the fire and sending a flurry of sparks into the night.