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The Novels

Synopsis: “Vortex”

  Winter is over; Spring has come to the California coast, and gifted musicians Rachel Monroe and Jaz Fenneman are out of hibernation and starting a new band, ‘Vortex’.  Bouncy young keyboard player Merilee Tanner has joined them, along with their old friend Ben Calvin, a gifted guitar and fiddle player, and drummer Steve Hammond who replaces their friend and former drummer, Styx Buchanan.  Styx has moved to Oregon to learn organic farming.  
  With a steady gig at a popular club, Vortex attracts a loyal following, but find themselves in a ‘battle of the bands’ with a group that covets their dates and success, and is willing to resort to criminal activity to assume command of the local music scene.  

  Their drummer, Steve Hammond, has unintentionally involved himself in a drug ring led by ruthless people when he is hired to assist a courier who keeps his boat at a marina in Jaz and Rachel’s home town of Bodega Bay,    When the man’s Nitro is sabotaged, he steals a fishing boat from a friend of Jaz and Rachel’s named Chum Cassidy, needing a boat to meet another courier in International Waters, as arranged, one evening.  Later unmasking Steve as the saboteur, the courier endeavors to drown him, but Steve is rescued by the old fisherman, Chum Cassidy, who has witnessed the attempted murder.

 The courier’s overseer, a man named Victor, who is wresting control of the drug ring from its current boss, worries about the activity in Bodega Bay.  He arrives planning to eliminate both Chum and Steve, but the assassination fails, and Jaz, Rachel, and Ben help Steve escape to Styx’s Oregon blueberry farm.   A young woman, Chum Cassidy’s long-lost daughter, Alicia arrives and  makes an unsuccessful play for Jaz, even as his bandmate, Ben Calvin, is yearning to get closer to Rachel.

    Vortex’s keyboard player, Merilee Tanner, has become involved with a former beau of Rachel’s, a filmmaker who had been part of a dangerous cult called The Rievers.  Now known as Jay Sheffield, he is directing a film project that possibly is being funded by the same criminals circling the members of Vortex.  All five band members, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, sign a contract to appear in his well-funded movie “Sound Currents”, a documentary highlighting Bay Area bands, and begin filming in a local recording studio..

  As the conflict between the outgoing and incoming directors of the drug ring crescendos, key players gather in and around Bodega Bay.   Soon, four boats, Chum’s fishing boat with Jaz Rachel and Ben aboard, and three fast Nitros, all manned by members of the drug ring, collide.   Aided belatedly by the Coast Guard, Rachel, Jaz, Ben and Chum engage in an agonizing, chilling battle and rescue on the waters of their beloved Bodega Bay and its harbor.         

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