“Christmas is Coming”
Gift a good book this Christmas rather than a box of chocolates.
It will likely cost you less.
You won’t be blamed for weight gain, insulin shock or tooth decay.
Plus you can consume it in a single sitting if you wish yet still share it with a friend.
Lastly if your recipient is like so many others, they can consume it over and over again.
Art Williams navigated for years beneath the judicial radar while hand selecting a crew that formed a criminal empire to take full advantage of synthetic drugs unrecognized within current legislation. The thirst for a chemical high along the North American west coast only wetted his appetite to meet the need for MDA, the processor to MDMA – Ecstasy.
The thought of incarceration never daunted his aggressive approach as he considered himself superior to the best legal minds.
For twelve years he slipped through the RCMP traps only to vanish in a reported plane crash when the odds turned against him. The question remains unanswered: “Did he die in the crash or was that just an elaborate hoax to cloud his escape.”
This historical biography – based on the life of British Columbia pioneer John Muir – tells the amazing story of a family from Scotland who came out to Canada in the late 1840s to work as “consignee” labourers for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Daryl Ashby recreates the story of the Muir’s struggle to develop a place for themselves in the hierarchic colony ruled by Sir James Douglas.
With their vision of a country based on democratic principles, the Muirs fought against the savagery of the land to become the first commercial venture to break the HBC monopoly on the West Coast.
The media is fond of using the phrase, “A usually quiet neighbourhood” when describing tragic events that often occur in what are truly peaceful communities. Indeed, most Canadian neighbourhoods enjoy a serenity that makes them enjoyable places to safely raise families or live out the golden years without fear or anxiety.
However, some communities mask a more sinister underbelly, one that remains mostly unseen but exists, nevertheless. And it is wicked. And dangerous; a place law-abiding citizens dare not venture into.
Journalist and author Daryl Ashby is a master researcher, with an impressive ability to extract details of outrageous criminal behaviour, injustice and intrigue from the characters who have participated in or been witness to activities that the average citizen is blissfully unaware.
Folks in the central part of Vancouver Island – including Ladysmith, Chemainus and Nanaimo – may have heard rumours of drug manufacturing, outlaw bikers, unexplained disappearances, and unsolved murders, but until recently the stories were tantalizing yarns with little substantive evidence that any of them were authentic.
In his popular 2018 book, 85 Grams, Daryl Ashby began to peel back the layers of mystery surrounding the life of Second World War hero, brilliant inventor and drug manufacturer and dealer Art Williams. It was illuminating for neighbours and the larger community who may have grown up with some knowledge of the legend of Williams but dismissed much of the banter as fantasies that grew in importance as they made the rounds in the pubs and coffee shops.
Ashby shone a brilliant light on a dark world that only Williams’ family, colleagues and the police knew existed. His research probed into a justice system that often failed, frequently outwitted by Williams and his criminal conspirators.
Now, Daryl Ashby has upped the ante.
Art Williams was a genius. Dangerous and enigmatic. Ralph Harris was no Art Williams in intellect, but what he lacked in book smarts or technical ability, he more than made up for in brute strength, street smarts and charisma. An entrepreneur – albeit a dodgy one – Harris was dangerous. He survived and thrived in the most dangerous of realms, capable of protecting his interests with deadly force.
It has been said that every man’s life contains sufficient material for a book. Some stories are more compelling than others and few can match the outrageous tales provided by the central character in Nobody’s Boy, the notorious Ralph Harris.
For some, the lead character’s moral code may be hard to swallow, but that doesn’t alter the fact that his life produced sufficient material to justify being recorded within these pages.
This is a story about a man who defied the law, not so much for greed as was the case for many of his money-hungry associates, but for the steady infusion of adrenaline that raced through his veins.
Rather than align himself with an established criminal organization, he chose to navigate his own course.
No one thought to abuse Ralph’s loyalty or threaten those he held dear. To do so would be at their own peril. He was a man respected by his peers and in some cases, feared. For those who were slow to accept his ways, they would eventually realize, nothing would stand between him and his intended goal.
With a treasure trove of material gleaned from court and police documents and, most vital to the story, personal interviews with Harris shortly before his death, family members and scores of police officers, bikers, drug runners and others who shared Ralph’s flamboyant life, Daryl Ashby had penned a book that exposes an underworld hereto undiscovered on Vancouver Island.