Ilze Berzins
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A woman suddenly goes missing and becomes just one of the pieces in this enthralling puzzle which will hold readers in suspense until the surprising nail-biting climax. The clues are scattered across two continents – in Sweden, Latvia and Canada.

A maelstrom of secrets, betrayals and deadly connections threaten to destroy the hapless Birdie Finch, a friend of the missing woman and the first-person narrator of this murder-mystery. As the search for the missing woman gets underway, life becomes a violent waking nightmare for Birdie. Far-away Kolka, the rugged untamed coastal area on the Baltic Sea, shines like a mystic beacon of hope.

Fast action, suspense, fascinating characters and local colour will have readers turning pages as fast as Birdie can jet to Riga and Kolka searching for a way to untangle a deadly spider’s web of deceit and thwarted desire.

Click here to read the first few pages of Kolka

Kolka (Page 1)

Chapter 1

Sometimes I’m not sure that Jacob ever existed. That afternoon, when he rang the doorbell and I opened it to find him standing there holding my cat, was the beginning. Zola was yowling and screeching. I remember looking at the stranger and seeing blood streaming down his arm. I saw that it was coming from a gash on Zola’s leg. Then, just like that, the world tilted on its axis and my fate was sealed.

Even now, when I least expect it, I’m struck by a stab of memory so sharp that I stop in my tracks and see him standing there with Zola in his arms. Not a ghost but flesh and blood. I get a shiver down my spine even thinking about it.

I have lots of other moments like this and it’s not as if he left yesterday. Late in the afternoon is another bad time. I turn on the light and suddenly I can see him sitting in the easy chair. For months after, I left his jacket hanging from one side just the way he always did. In those days, it drove me crazy. Now, I like to turn my head and breathe in his smell—his mixture of pipe tobacco and the mothball that he always kept in the pocket. Images of Jacob from the past and images of Jacob from my imagination fuse together in a kaleidoscope of changing patterns. I twist the cylinder and Jacob’s face falls away and I see my own. But sometimes it’s Alma’s face which appears. Then it’s both Jacob and Alma.

I was always surprised by Alma’s comments about Jacob. She saw things in him that I had missed. It makes me wonder what had given me a blind spot. Why hadn’t I seen it coming? I certainly hadn’t. It was a complete surprise when I woke up one morning and he simply wasn’t there any more. I realize that when you live with somebody every day, you take them for granted and struggle to make the adjustment it takes to ignore the things they do that drive you wild. I did this for Jacob.

Then, Alma came into his life, or rather, he came into her life, or we all entered into a life together. It didn’t last long. In short order, the tensions became unbearable. It’s as if all three of us were suddenly dropped into a pool of blackness and our relationships became clotted with deceit and rivalry. The unaccounted for disappearances, the phone calls whispered in the hallway, the far away looks were the start of it. It didn’t take long for me to see that Jacob and Alma were as thick as thieves.


How did Dr Kurtz ever get her hooks into me? I must have been feeling sorry for myself, or very lonely, or struggling with guilt, or all of the above. Right from the beginning there was something hypnotic about my sessions with Dr K even though I loathed the intrusion into my privacy, especially this Freudian thing she had about dreams. She wanted me to

Kolka (Page 2)

write them down. For some reason, I wasn’t about to tell her that I didn’t have dreams—I only had the dream.

Still, I went right home and did what I was told. But as soon as I started to write, I knew it wasn’t going to work. Even before the first words were down on paper, my heart began to beat painfully. I was back in the past. Back with Jacob and the enchantment of Kolka.

I realized that living and reliving my dream was my one hope of getting through to the things that were bottled up inside me. Instinctively, I knew that Dr K had no part in this. The strange thing is that I kept seeing her. I just didn’t tell her about my dream. I made up something quite ordinary like attending my high school graduation in the buff or running to catch a bus.

In my dream, I’m as light as air. How strange that it’s always the same, with the same vivid details and the same inevitable ending.


I’m alone, speeding along the highway in Jacob’s seen-better-days Volvo, sunlight gleaming softly across its light blue skin. Once I hit the crunchy gravel road, I slow down. I’m approaching the signpost which tells me that I’m more than halfway to Kolka. Even at a distance, I can feel the pull of the tide and hear the soft whoosh of the waves as they roll in toward me. In my mind, Kolka seems infinitely far, buried in myths and legends, existing only in Jacob’s world, an elusive mysterious world belonging in its own universe.

The whisper of the waves grows stronger and I catch a glimpse of the Baltic Sea. How dark the water looks! How hostile and unforgiving! I shudder involuntarily, taken aback by this strange forbidding landscape. The thrumming of the wind in the ancient pines seems to come from another age, from a distant past ruled by pagan gods and goddesses.

The road becomes rough and I swerve to avoid potholes and the ditch. As I continue along I get the uneasy feeling that I’m entering deeper and deeper into the heart of an uncharted wilderness.

Despite my anxiety, I finally sigh with relief. The longest journey of my life is over. I’ve arrived at Cape Kolka, the north-westernmost tip of Latvia, a country Jacob couldn’t stop talking about. Even though a Swede, he had adopted the tiny Baltic nation as his own, especially this corner of it.

It’s amazing how quiet it is all around me. No people. No noise. Only the sound of the whistling wind and the gentle whoosh of the waves. My thoughts are in a muddle. Everything seems confused and clear all at the same time. Why am I here? The crazy thing is that I’ve forgotten. Yet, somewhere in the back of my mind is the knowledge that Jacob has brought me here. Looking around, I realize how easy it would be to get lost. I could die and no one would find me. I feel a sudden twinge of fear thinking that this is exactly what Jacob has planned for me.

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