Excerpt from DO OR DIE...

At six-twenty the next morning Inspector Michael Green lay sprawled across his bed with his pillow over his head. Heat glued the sodden sheet to his back. The baby was crying, and his wife clattered irritably around the kitchen preparing a bottle. In between howls, the baby kicked his overhead toy with his feet, causing the bell to clang and the crib to thump against the wall. In their tiny apartment, it sounded like World War III.

Oh God, Green thought, the start of another day. A day in the life of middle management in the new bigger, better, amalgamated police force, a day now spent sitting in boring committee meetings, drafting service models and pushing papers around his desk. Murders were up in Ottawa, thanks to government cutbacks to social services and health, which drove people to increasingly desperate solutions. But it was all routine stuff, easily handled by the regular field detectives of the Major Crimes Squad. Not a serial killer or a mystery assassin in sight. Nothing that required his deductive powers or intuitive ingenuity, only his woefully inadequate supervisory skills. Not that he wished for a real murder to sink his teeth into, exactly, merely some new spark in his life. What the hell had possessed him to become an inspector anyway?

Clamping his pillow more firmly over his ears, he burrowed further under the sheets until the baby was reduced to a distant whine. He did not even hear the phone ring. Sharon yanked the pillow off and shoved the cordless phone in his face.

"Sounds like Jules."

Shaking sleep from his head, Green took the phone. The Chief of Detectives' dry voice crackled through the wires, unusually urgent.

"Michael, something important has come up. Be in my office for a briefing in half an hour. Oh--and Michael, wear a decent suit."

Green stared at the phone. Jules had hung up before he could even rally a protest. Decent! In the old days, Jules had never told him what to wear. Hinted, sometimes, when the media were going to be around, but never ordered.

"I don't even have a decent suit," he muttered to Sharon when he emerged from the shower five minutes later. "Both my court suits are at the cleaners."

"Three nice suits wouldn't exactly kill you," she retorted without looking up. She was slumped on the bed, dark eyes haggard, giving Tony his bottle. "By forty most men own a few decent suits."

No support from that end, he thought with more sympathy than annoyance. She's all tapped out. In their early years, she'd found his fashion ineptitude endearing and would have been ready with a wise-crack retort, but now she couldn't even muster a smile. A good jolt of Starbucks French Roast might help, but he didn't have time to make it for either of them.

Instead he appeased her with a brief kiss on the head before turning his attention to his cramped corner of the closet. He did in fact have a few proper suits, the most promising being a mud-brown, double-breasted tweed that had served him well at funerals and weddings over the years. The cuffs were faded and the pants seat shone, but it still fit, if he could survive tweed in a June heatwave. He didn't notice the odour of sweat until he had climbed into his car and headed across the canal to the station. Serves Jules right, expecting a decent suit on half an hour's notice.

Jules' clerk leaped to her feet as Green burst into the office. Despite the obvious gravity of the summons, she couldn't suppress a smile but quickly wrestled it under control as she ushered him into Jules' office.

To Green's surprise, the Chief of Detectives was not alone. Seated with him at the small round conference table was a familiar, bull-necked figure in a too-tight suit. Jules rose to greet him, but Deputy Police Chief Doug Lynch did not.

Adam Jules was a tall, reed-thin, silver-haired man in a crisp cotton suit. His eyes flickered briefly and his nostrils flared, but otherwise he betrayed no hint of reaction to his subordinate's attire. He extended a manicured hand.

"Michael, thank you for joining us."

Playing along with the formality, Green returned the handshake and then took the only remaining chair at the table. His pulse quickened. Something big was in the air. Maybe the answer to his prayers.

Belatedly Lynch shoved out a broad, callused hand. "Mike, good to see you."

I'll bet, Green thought to himself. I'm about as welcome a sight as a cockroach in the vichyssoise. Unless you want something from me.

And sure enough…