America’s northwest border with Canada has its share of big-time well-organized smuggling of people, drugs and guns. In NIGHTHAWK CROSSING the FBI joins various ICE agencies chasing large-scale well organized smugglers when two Border patrol agents are killed. The pursuit of the killers not only uncovers drug, people and gun distribution in America but also unveils a major plot to supply a secret weapon to the Taliban and Al Qaida and sub plots of the State Department. Canadian spy agencies, NATO and the CIA.
Inspiration for NIGHTHAWK CROSSING by C. Edgar North
My first fiction novel is NIGHTHAWK CROSSING. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest the Canada-USA border traces through some very rugged mountainous territory occasionally running through valleys with a few roads and the odd border crossing point – some of which are open only during daylight hours. The region was first discovered by settlers during the goldrush era which swept north from California through to the Yukon and Alaska following traces of gold. In my region, gold has long petered out and ruminants of a number of ghost towns, such as Molson, Nighthawk, Hedley, Midway, and Corbin may still be discovered on both sides of the border. All were linked at one time by railways which have long ago disappeared.
The region is relatively sparsely populated except for the Canadian Okanagan thriving with a major four season tourist industry boasting good local wines, great skiing, hot summers, and the warmest, driest wintering location in frigid Canada.
The major border crossing in the region is on highway 97 between Osoyoos, Canada and Oroville, Washington. When I wrote NIGHTHAWK CROSSING we had children and grandchildren living in Oroville whom we often visited. Meeting their friends and neighbors led to learning some interesting stories about smuggling and local characters in the region which were the foundation for the book. As well, there was a newspaper article in my town about two helicopters seized with drug residue and some smugglers busted. There was also a story about two Border patrol agents ambushed near Coleville and an ensuing manhunt along the border.
Add in a bit of wandering around and researching old mining towns and railroads which helped develop locations for smuggling activities.
Speaking of locations, the plot jumps to London, U.K., Kyrgyzstan and the Maldives as I have worked in all locations and met some interesting people.
For example: The story of the Russian arms dealer and his 350 foot yacht in the Maldives reflects a real event. When I worked there, the Taliban and Al Qaida took over an entire resort island for a month long conference. This was on the local news and accepted as the Maldives is a Muslim country with no visa requirements. There was a 350 foot yacht anchored beside the island and rumor was that it was owned by an arms dealer. Great fodder for fiction.
I have been asked often if the weapon sold to the Taliban was real. I have seen a similar but single shot version.
I tested the manuscript on my wife’s aunt Mabel, a retired English teacher. She loved it and insisted I get it published. I also had twenty other people read it and some of their suggestions were woven into the book. The greatest compliment has been readers asking for a sequel.
I’m wondering if my book became a “how to do it” manual. A few years after the book was published, a helicopter smuggling over $15 million in drugs was caught after a lengthy cross-border chase by police aircraft. Funny that the pilot used a landing site and route from NIGHTHAWK CROSSING.