He was warned.
He was flying too high, too fast… he didn't listen.
Just as the mythological Icarus discovered… fly too close to the sun, you will get burned.
He was warned.
1968 – Somewhere in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Australia.
Nick Williams was enjoying life. He was master of his own prawn trawler, Garamut Phoenix, (a nod to his family's New Guinea roots first met in Payback) living a carefree existence in the top end of Australia. Until the day Ron Ormond appeared in Guido Beladocci's pub one steamy Cairns afternoon with an offer that the young Nick couldn't refuse. An offer that would alter the course of his life in ways he could never have envisioned.
Nick finds himself embroiled in a lifestyle he is ill-equipped to navigate. When a simple trawler skipper finds himself thrust in to the heady world of international shipping, the fast lane rapidly becomes the slippery slope.
Angie Condor (Puri Puri), a journalist with a national newspaper, is sent to interview the young entrepreneur Nick Williams. Unknown to her paper is the history she and Nick share. Nick is thrilled to have the opportunity of Angie back in his life, but is that thrill reciprocated?
Falling hard for Nick when on assignment in his pacific paradise home of Kavieng, New Guinea, Angie had her heart broken when Nick found himself with another offer he couldn't refuse. How can she trust him now? Who has he become?
As his wealth and notoriety grow, Nick finds himself up against shady characters better suited to the underbelly of city life, and the brutal unions of the Australian waterfront. Caught up in the headiness of the materialistic late 1960's, Nick naively and glibly ignores the warning signs as he splashes his new found cash over an increasingly lavish and greedy lifestyle.
He didn't listen… he was warned.
The crash came hard and it came fast for Nick. Losing his money, his power, his empire, his mentor and very nearly his own life. Has he also lost his closest friends and the woman he loves, has only ever loved?
Based on a true story, Melted Wax is the third book in the author's Williams Series, following on from Payback and Puri Puri.
So you're in the bookshop and you've found an interesting looking book. Flick through the pages, read a few extracts.
"He's there again, Nick. The Russian. Be careful." She cut off for another call. Then, "I have to keep out of the way, there's a surprise coming. "The little aircraft banked, dived to just above the water, and raced away to the east. This time Sam brandished a flare gun. (Nick) didn't have time to think about her comment as the black hulled Van Gogh closed ... this time turning deliberately towards Garamut Phoenix. Nick grabbed the VHF mike and on Channel 16 shouted "Nyet, nyet, nyet!" He wished he knew more than one word of Russian. Or even how to pronounce the one he did know."
"A Dutch ship? You'll never get to work it on the coast… Only chance you got is to import it, fly the Australian flag."
"How do we do that?" Nick asked.
"Blowed if I know, mate. You better find out quick smart, or you're gunna have more problems than a prime minister lost 'is pants."
"I say you're bloody mad," replied Nick, holding out his glass. Hank topped it up, bubbles cascading over the rim. "… why don't you do that yourself?"
"You know why, young fella. I start work at four. At midday I go to lunch. The afternoons, my brain's fucked. Seven days a week. Make a lot of brass, but got no time." Jacobs leaned back. "What's more, you remind me of my son. What he would have been like." He peered across the champagne glass for a moment at Nick. "Say yes."
"Of course I'll say yes, you crazy Yank. I'd be silly not to." Not only that, Nick admitted to himself, I've grown to like this overweight powerhouse. "When do you want to start this thing?"
"I want a Herc, my boy, not a ship. A Lockheed Hercules. You won't find one of those babies anywhere but in the good ole US of A, unless it's completely clapped. Anyway, I got one teed up for you, it's in Arizona. A bit on the expensive side, so I also got finance for you. Not cheap either, but this job'll make you a wealthy man." Nick guessed the financier would be slinging Hank.
"A bloody Hercules! Holy shit, Hank! I know nothing about 'em."
"You can fly a Cessna, can't ya?" Hank shot back. "These only got three more engines. Anyway, you don't have to fly the freakin' thing."
"Have you heard, Nick?"
"About the Saigon charter. Attacked last night by freelance Vietnamese pirates, all wearing black pyjamas. Somewhere south of the Spratleys."
The big man slowly raised the ring spanner, began to advance. Nick slid the skipper's little Saturday Night Special .22 revolver from his pocket, pointed it at the engineer's groin.
"It mightn't stop you, but six shots in the balls will slow you down. Now get going. Pack your gear."
For a moment it seemed the big man would keep coming.
"Nick, we have a major problem." It was Steve from Matrix Partners. "The bloody Indonesians arrested the skipper and crew off Sudhaan and have impounded the ship at Amamapare."
"What? What the hell for? What's going on?"
Joe Zapata leaned on the rail of the Honeymooner, staring into the moonless night. He drew the last from the cigarette, then flicked the butt overboard. He watched it fizzle and die as it hit the water. He went to turn away. The muzzle of a Glock pistol rammed into his cheek. Hard and cold.
"Don't make a sound," hissed Kris Johansson.
Well, Nick," his Matrix agent answered, "they didn't. They came up the Brisbane River right on daylight… The ship's tied up to our wharf right here in the city and the crew are sitting there yelling their heads off. They've got bloody shotguns. The newspapers are already onto it and I can see a TV crew arriving. You're about to hit the news, Nick. Big time." In the television studios, Angie picked up the first news item. 'Mutiny in the Brisbane River!