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The Law of the Sea by Dave Gerard

Read Online The Law of the Sea by Dave Gerard Mystery Book

Overview: Young lawyer Jack Carver meets a new client, Ashley Marcum, whose brother has died under mysterious circumstances. The last thing he left her was a set of gold coins, of unknown origin and hundreds of years old.

As Jack and Ashley scramble to discover how her brother died, they find themselves pitted against giant corporations and their powerful lawyers in a legal saga that spans the globe. Ultimately, Jack and Ashley must unearth a dark secret, long lost to history, and prevail in a case that ignites a firestorm around the world.


Read Online The Law of the Sea by Dave Gerard Book Chapter One Free. Find Hear Best Mystery Books And Novel For Reading And Download.
The Law of the Sea by Dave Gerard

Read Online The Law of the Sea by Dave Gerard Book Chapter One

The call came in around 10 a.m. on a Monday. I was drinking bad coffee and trying to clear a couple dozen emails from my inbox.

“I AM OF NIGERIA, HAVE FOUND GREAT TREASURE, MUCH MONEY, NEED ONLY FINANCING TO OBTAIN. PLEASE CONTACT ME PROVIDE BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION. I WILL…”

I hit delete and scrolled on. There were a couple of emails from Bob Kruckemeyer with the subject line re: motion to compel. Kruckemeyer was a senior partner in the firm’s class action division. He was a rainmaker and a noted asshole. He wanted a draft of a motion to compel by tomorrow. There was no need for a draft tomorrow, since the motion couldn’t be filed for another month. But I put it at the top of my to-do list anyway.

I responded to a few inquiries on my contract case, deleted an email with the subject line “mid-level associate needed at Am-law 100 firm,” and deleted another one explaining a boneheaded new IT policy that the firm was rolling out.

The phone rang. It wasn’t an internal number. Lately, I had been getting a lot of spam robocalls asking if I wanted to sign up for free healthcare. After two rings, I picked it up.

“Jack Carver,” I said into the receiver.

“Jack. Bob Kruckemeyer. How are you doing?”

I grimaced. Must be his cell. “Oh. Hello Mr. Kruckemeyer,” I said. “I’m sorry I haven’t responded to your email yet, I’ve been buried by—”

“Look, that’s okay. Just get me a draft by tomorrow.”

“I will,” I said.

“Great,” said Kruckemeyer. “But that’s not why I’m calling. Listen, I need you to handle something for me. We’ve got a client, pro bono thing. I need you to take this.”

“Sure, Mr. Kruckemeyer. I’d be happy to. Who’s the client?”

“It’s this legal aid clinic. We’ve committed to sending someone today. Jorgensen was going to go but she backed out. Had some kind of ‘health’ issue.” Kruckemeyer grumbled at this.

“Okay,” I said. “Is there a matter number for this or—”

“No, there’s no matter number for this. Didn’t I just say pro bono?”

I cursed at myself. “Right. Okay. I’ll take care of it.”

“Good. Should be pretty straightforward. The clinic is downtown. 2:30 p.m. You got that?”

“Yeah. 2:30 p.m. What day?”

“Today.”

I paused. “Today?”

“Yes. So get down there and handle it.” There was a click as he hung up the phone.


I sighed. No matter number. This meant whatever bullshit small-time assignment this was wouldn’t be billable, and wouldn’t count toward my quota. It was just extra work.

I got up and grabbed the suit that was hanging on the back of my office door. I always kept one on hand, just in case. As a litigator, you never knew when you might need to go to court. It wasn’t often. But to tell you the truth, it made me feel like a superhero, costume at the ready, able to spring from a desk-bound paper clerk to man of action in a single bound.

In the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror as I put on my tie. I was six foot one with sandy hair. Thirty years old. I was probably handsomer a couple of years ago. Before the work and the stress and the late nights took their toll. But I still looked pretty good. My eyes were tired.

The tie was dark red. Conservative, in the old sense of the word. Unlikely to offend a judge or a juror or somebody’s eighty-year-old grandfather who had fought in Vietnam. I finished the four-in-hand knot with a flourish, and then walked out the door.


The pro bono clinic was in an old, run-down building in downtown Houston. On the drive, I felt every crack in the asphalt in my old BMW coupe, which was rapidly attaining beater status. I grimaced each time I hit a pothole.

I parked at the clinic and went inside. The walls were an off-cream color, stained by the passage of time. At the front desk, a young woman smiled and said she would be right with me. There were a dozen people in the waiting area. Clients. The old and the downtrodden and the poor. I put on a smile and waved, and got a surprisingly warm reception. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. Presently, I was ushered back to a conference room. There were a couple of other volunteers, and an older lawyer named Kevin, who worked for the clinic full time.

“We really appreciate your being here,” Kevin said sincerely. “And so do our clients. These are people who can’t afford a lawyer. We’re just here to give them some basic legal advice. Nothing fancy. People come for things like landlord-tenant disputes, divorce papers, past-due bills, and things like that. We’ve got a manual here which covers some of the more common situations.”

He passed out copies of a thick binder that had seen much use. I flipped through the pages. One volunteer, a nervous-looking man in his forties, raised his hand. “What if we don’t know the answers?” he asked. “I practice trusts and estates mostly.”

It was a good point. Law is a very specialized business. My specialty, for example, was commercial litigation. That meant I knew how to sue a business, or be sued by a business. But if you asked me to write a will, or draft a merger agreement, I’d be lost. I could figure it out. But you would be better off going to a specialist. Hell, even within commercial litigation there were dozens of different subspecialties.

“That’s okay,” said Kevin reassuringly. “We don’t expect you to know everything. A lot of times all you need to do is provide a little common sense and understanding. Tell them what they need to look into, or whether they need to hire an attorney. Listen to them and do whatever you can to help. It is appreciated. And of course, don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions.”

After that, Kevin split us up and put us in separate rooms. I was placed in an old nineteen-sixties era office with a metal desk and Soviet-style green walls. I banged my knee twice trying to sit down. Eventually, I got myself situated. I placed a pen and a legal pad in front of me like a sword and shield, and waited for business.

My first client was an old lady who was having trouble getting her social security payments. They were being sent to an old address, and she didn’t know how to update it. I found an FAQ online and printed out the change of address form. I helped her fill out the form, and told her where to mail it. She thanked me profusely, as if I had just performed a miracle.

My second client was a quarrelsome man in his early thirties who was having difficulty with his landlord. He hadn’t paid rent in about a year, and the landlord was trying to evict him. I told him that, unfortunately, he didn’t have many legal rights unless he paid rent. He kept saying that he was looking for a way to “lawyer” them (looking pointedly at me when he said it). He was disappointed when I told him it didn’t work like that. Of course, there are ways to “lawyer” your way out of that kind of situation—you could file a bullshit lawsuit and tie the issue up in court for a while—but these methods are invariably more complicated and expensive than just paying rent.

A couple more people came in with legal issues through the afternoon, including another with a landlord-tenant question, one with a child custody issue I had no idea how to handle, and two people with questions that could be (and were) answered with a Google search. I was getting the hang of this.

At 5 p.m., Ashley Marcum walked in.

She was in her late twenties, with pale skin and long, dark hair. I could see the edge of a tattoo peeking out from under her sleeve. She had big eyes and carried a large purse over her shoulder.

“Hi,” she said uncertainly, looking around as if she wasn’t sure she was in the right place. I got up, slammed my knee on the metal desk, tried not to wince, and stammered out a greeting.

“Hi,” I said. “Jack Carver.” I reached out to shake her hand.

“Ashley Marcum,” she replied.

“Please, take a seat,” I said, wishing I’d worn a better suit. “What can I do for you?”

Ashley put her purse on the table and sat down. “I’m not exactly sure,” she said. “I need to file a probate application. For my brother. David Marcum. He passed away.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said, pausing for a moment. “What happened to him? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“No, I don’t mind,” she said. “But I don’t know.” She sounded frustrated. “We don’t—we didn’t—talk much. A couple of weeks ago, I got a package in the mail from him. I called him, but he didn’t answer. His cell phone was dead.”

I listened and scrawled some notes on my legal pad as she continued.

“All I know is that he was working for a company called Rockweiller Industries. I contacted them, and they told me he died. Some kind of accident. Since then, they’ve been giving me the runaround. First, they told me they didn’t know how he died. Then they told me it was confidential. Now they say they can only talk to the executor of my brother’s estate. That I need to file a probate case and get an executor appointed. I don’t know how to do that. So I’m here.” She shrugged helplessly.

I frowned at this. “That’s odd,” I said. “That they wouldn’t tell you what happened to him. Is there a death certificate?”

“No.”

“Did they say what kind of an accident it was?” I asked.

“No.”

“Or where it happened?”

“No, they wouldn’t tell me that either.”

I didn’t know what to make of this. “What did your brother send you in the mail?” I asked, more to buy time than anything else.

“Oh, I almost forgot,” she said. “I have it here. This is the weirdest part.” She reached into her purse and pulled out a big FedEx envelope that was torn at the sides and stopped up with tape. She pulled the tape off and upended it onto the table. Its contents spilled out in a rush.

It was gold. Thick, heavy gold coins. They weren’t shiny, like the gold you imagine at Fort Knox, sitting in perfect, gleaming rows. These coins were discolored and blotchy, like birthmarks on a face. There were greenish-red-brown marks on them, as if they had rusted or tarred. It was as if layers of something was covering them so deeply that no amount of shine could get it out. They looked old, and out of place under the cheap fluorescent lights of the room.

I froze for a moment. I instinctively knew the coins were old and very valuable. I picked up one and studied it. It had some type of pattern on its face, but I couldn’t make it out under all the grime. It looked like swirling lines. They reminded me of designs I’d seen at ancient Indian temples on a trip I once made to the remote regions of Rajasthan and Goa.

“Was your brother a coin collector?” I asked dubiously.

“Not that I know of. But…” she shrugged.

“Did he send you anything else?”

“No.”

“Okay,” I said, sitting back in my chair. I tried to think about what to do. As an attorney, you have to impart confidence, Kruckemeyer always said. Even if you don’t always know what you’re doing.

“I can help you file a probate case,” I said. “That’s pretty routine. We just open a file, inventory your brother’s assets, and the court will appoint an executor.” I wasn’t a probate specialist. But I remembered that much from the bar exam.

“Who will the executor be?” she asked.

“Did your brother have a wife?” I asked.

“No.”

“Kids?”

“No.”

“Maybe your mother or father, then?”

She shook her head. “They both passed away when we were young.”

“Oh. Okay. Well if your brother doesn’t have any closer living relatives, then it would probably be you.”

“That’s fine. What do I have to do?”

“I can start the paperwork today, and we can try to get you in front of the judge in a week or two if you’d like.”

“That would be great,” she said, nodding at me. For a little too long. She had no mother or father to talk to about this. Or any close family besides a brother who was now dead. I realized suddenly that I might have been one of the first people she’d spoken to about it.

“I can also run a background check on your brother to see if I can turn up any more information,” I added. Couldn’t hurt.

“Yes. Thank you so much,” she said.

I nodded. “Finally, I’d like to take one of these coins with me for examination. I may be able to tell you something about it. If we know where it’s from, that might tell us something.”

She hesitated for a second. No doubt questioning whether she should give the gold to a total stranger. But then she picked one up and gave it to me. People put too much trust in lawyers, I think. But in this case, it wasn’t misplaced.

I didn’t know what happened to Ashley’s brother. Or how Rockweiller Industries was involved. But I did know how to find out where the coins were from. And on the way back to the office, I stopped to do just that.

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