"A Worthwhile Book By A Guy That Spells "Servise" With Two S'es! How Can You Ask For Anything More Extraordinary?"

- drinking buddy

340

Pages

14

Journal Entries

21

Miles To Tomb

1

Enjoyable Story

The Reviews Are In

“This book may never win any awards, take up space in a bookstore, or open the door to a radio interview, but I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a really fun, clean, and easy read… that also provides the opportunity to get wet, fall off a cliff, and be eaten by wolves.”

-unclaimed… but I think I know who it is.

Find The Maps Where The Tomb Lies

C. J. Bartels

Chris has picked up red-striped golf balls at 4:30 am, flown helicopters over the sands of Iraq, and lifted cutbows from pristine waters of Montana with friends that are still friends. Currently, he spends much of his time looking down at the ground and turning over rocks with his family.

A first-generation American, Chris has flown helicopters in Korea, Europe, and throughout the Middle East. While in China, he met his wife's parents, and then 12 months later, while in Germany, met their daughter, now a mom to their four wonderful children. Since then he has built a house that he and his family live in, recorded music that didn't sell very well, gone fishing with friends for weeks at a time, and tried a whole lot of other endeavors that didn't always go as planned. In fact, a recent book he wrote entitled Where The Valley Lies, was turned into an opera ... when it was supposed to be a musical.

Chris works from a studio in NorthEast Minneapolis, MN.

Other stories by C. J. Bartels
"A Letter From Brazil" – a young girl growing up on the plains of North Dakota is moved across America as her father looks for work in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards during World War II. At the same time, a young boy in Germany turns sixteen and 7 weeks later, in 1945, is sent to the Eastern Front as Germany loses ground and the end of the war draws near. Based on a true story of how his parents grew up during the war, met in America during the last three weeks of a visit sponsored by the Marshall Plan, and marry in Brazil at the request of a letter. "Iudicium" – a mystery and the inspiration for a new opera, "Whispering" – a story of suspense and espionage started while hunkered down in a forward operating base on the border of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, "Charlie Teeter Peeked" – a children's story for around the holidays. And "Dep-Camp 1099... possibly the greatest work ever roughed out."

Thank you for taking the time to visit!

Read A Sample

A Great Mystery. A Wonderful Adventure. The Perfect Graduation Present.

Every father wants the best for his child. Thomas Gatry is no different. But when a friend suggests that he made a grave mistake by making his son’s life too easy, an unexpected turn of events creates an outcome filled with suspense, forbidden love, and murder.


The Will


The lobby smelled like a gym bag. A pine air freshener hung from the ceiling fan. On the counter, propped up beside the bell, stood a handwritten sign, misspelled, and printed on the back of a folded postcard of Niagra Falls. It read: “Ring for Servise.”

“—I know you’re there. You don’t have to ring the bell.” The top of the lobby attendant’s head shone through the comb-over. He spoke bluntly without looking up from his newspaper.
Finishing the article, he rotated in his creaky chair and peered over his glasses. “Well, if it isn’t Mr. Gatry?” Dropping the paper, he clumsily pushed himself to his feet. No other person had ever paid him a week in advance for one of his shabby rooms and then actually stayed in the room for more than a few hours.
“How ’bout a coffee, Mr. Gatry? Just made it…” he glanced over at the pot that sat in the corner and looked like a display showing the age of a tree, each dark ring marking a different day of the week before ending in a thicker section near the bottom.
“Just my key.” His voice was soft and calm.
The attendant behind the desk continued as if he didn’t much care what the response to his offer was. He reached into a plywood slot with one hand and snugged up his pants with the other. “By the way, some First Nation indig stopped by looking for you. Big guy.” He bit his lip and spoke through his teeth. “Probably Cree.” The hand holding the key moved over to his cheek as the tarnished tip twittered up and down. “Scar on the side of his face. Never seen him before.”
The man called Gatry watched as the lobby attendant scratched his neck with the cut end before he spoke. “How long ago?”
“Two hours, maybe three.” He dropped the key next to the bell.
Gatry considered the description. “Did he leave a name?”
“Nope. Just asked for you.” The attendant turned back toward the desk and dropped into his chair. “I told him nobody in town with that I. D.”
Gatry lifted the chipped plastic tag that read 108 and tapped it on the counter before glancing around the room, pausing on the old coffee pot.
The attendant smiled crookedly from his sagging cushion as he waved his guest off with a flick of his wrist. “Everyone’s coffee up here is thin.” The chair creaked. “Drop your stuff in your room and com’on back. I’ll make a fresher pot just for you, thick and strong.”
Gatry stepped away from the desk without responding and walked under the broken door jamb that held three hinges but no door.
The office attendant waited until Gatry was out of sight and then mumbled. “What a prick.”

—^—

Gatry considered the description of the man that had been asking about him as his key slid into the loose knob. The door opened with a soft pop and the weight of cold stale air.

—^—

Pushing himself up from his chair, the motel attendant lifted a dusty mug, blew into it, and mumbled, “…dump that green scum off the top and heat it. That old bastard won’t know the diff—” Blamm. —Blamm.
The mug hit the tile floor and shattered around his boots.
—Blamm.
Another shot pounded his eardrums as he stumbled back, knocked the chair out of the way, and dropped to his knees. Scrambling into the dark space beneath his desk, he spun around and fumbled to open the center drawer, now above him. His hand twisted awkwardly up and over the edge until a chrome revolver tingled below his fingers. He pulled it to his chest, cradled it, checked the cylinder, and cocked the hammer. “Mary Jesus, stay with me on this one. You owe me.”
He listened.
Only the tick of the clock hanging on the far wall echoed through the room.
He considered his options.
Studying his surroundings, shards of ceramic from the broken mug lay all around him. By his left foot was a red smear on the floor.
Checking himself over, he realized that he had cut the side of his hand in his mad dash for cover.
He let it bleed.
Slowly, he poked his head out from under his desk. Seeing nothing but the piles of old discarded playboy magazines in a bag by the side of his desk, he slid out while remaining close to the floor.
Taking a deep breath, he lifted the master key from the hook and lunged forward with the gun out in front. Swinging it back and forth, he shuffled across the room and up against the wall with a thud. The faded wood paneling bent against his weight.
Breathing in and out, as if he had carried a horse across a pasture, he shimmied to the corner where the wall ended. Eyes clenched, led by another ill-conceived prayer, he moved from the sunlight in the lobby to a section of the building that smelled like mold.
“Mr. Gatry?” His finger tickled the trigger before he yelled out again. “You okay in there?”
The unknown and illegal oozed in horizontal slivers from below each door. Sweat drooled from his hairline and down into his eye sockets.
He swallowed hard and took another step forward.
Gatry’s door was slightly ajar.
“Mr. Gatry?” His foot tapped, but he couldn’t stop it. Each hair rising from his body quivered. With a set of quick steps, he jabbed the door with his bleeding hand.
It swung open.
Counting to three, he stepped in.
Gatry lay on the floor as the wind from the open window swept past him.

The Will


The lobby smelled like a gym bag. A pine air freshener hung from the ceiling fan. On the counter, propped up beside the bell, stood a handwritten sign, misspelled, and printed on the back of a folded postcard of Niagra Falls. It read: “Ring for Servise.”

“—I know you’re there. You don’t have to ring the bell.” The top of the lobby attendant’s head shone through the comb-over. He spoke bluntly without looking up from his newspaper.
Finishing the article, he rotated in his creaky chair and peered over his glasses. “Well, if it isn’t Mr. Gatry?” Dropping the paper, he clumsily pushed himself to his feet. No other person had ever paid him a week in advance for one of his shabby rooms and then actually stayed in the room for more than a few hours.
“How ’bout a coffee, Mr. Gatry? Just made it…” he glanced over at the pot that sat in the corner and looked like a display showing the age of a tree, each dark ring marking a different day of the week before ending in a thicker section near the bottom.
“Just my key.” His voice was soft and calm.
The attendant behind the desk continued as if he didn’t much care what the response to his offer was. He reached into a plywood slot with one hand and snugged up his pants with the other. “By the way, some First Nation indig stopped by looking for you. Big guy.” He bit his lip and spoke through his teeth. “Probably Cree.” The hand holding the key moved over to his cheek as the tarnished tip twittered up and down. “Scar on the side of his face. Never seen him before.”
The man called Gatry watched as the lobby attendant scratched his neck with the cut end before he spoke. “How long ago?”
“Two hours, maybe three.” He dropped the key next to the bell.
Gatry considered the description. “Did he leave a name?”
“Nope. Just asked for you.” The attendant turned back toward the desk and dropped into his chair. “I told him nobody in town with that I. D.”
Gatry lifted the chipped plastic tag that read 108 and tapped it on the counter before glancing around the room, pausing on the old coffee pot.
The attendant smiled crookedly from his sagging cushion as he waved his guest off with a flick of his wrist. “Everyone’s coffee up here is thin.” The chair creaked. “Drop your stuff in your room and com’on back. I’ll make a fresher pot just for you, thick and strong.”
Gatry stepped away from the desk without responding and walked under the broken door jamb that held three hinges but no door.
The office attendant waited until Gatry was out of sight and then mumbled. “What a prick.”

—^—

Gatry considered the description of the man that had been asking about him as his key slid into the loose knob. The door opened with a soft pop and the weight of cold stale air.

—^—

Pushing himself up from his chair, the motel attendant lifted a dusty mug, blew into it, and mumbled, “…dump that green scum off the top and heat it. That old bastard won’t know the diff—” Blamm. —Blamm.
The mug hit the tile floor and shattered around his boots.
—Blamm.
Another shot pounded his eardrums as he stumbled back, knocked the chair out of the way, and dropped to his knees. Scrambling into the dark space beneath his desk, he spun around and fumbled to open the center drawer, now above him. His hand twisted awkwardly up and over the edge until a chrome revolver tingled below his fingers. He pulled it to his chest, cradled it, checked the cylinder, and cocked the hammer. “Mary Jesus, stay with me on this one. You owe me.”
He listened.
Only the tick of the clock hanging on the far wall echoed through the room.
He considered his options.
Studying his surroundings, shards of ceramic from the broken mug lay all around him. By his left foot was a red smear on the floor.
Checking himself over, he realized that he had cut the side of his hand in his mad dash for cover.
He let it bleed.
Slowly, he poked his head out from under his desk. Seeing nothing but the piles of old discarded playboy magazines in a bag by the side of his desk, he slid out while remaining close to the floor.
Taking a deep breath, he lifted the master key from the hook and lunged forward with the gun out in front. Swinging it back and forth, he shuffled across the room and up against the wall with a thud. The faded wood paneling bent against his weight.
Breathing in and out, as if he had carried a horse across a pasture, he shimmied to the corner where the wall ended. Eyes clenched, led by another ill-conceived prayer, he moved from the sunlight in the lobby to a section of the building that smelled like mold.
“Mr. Gatry?” His finger tickled the trigger before he yelled out again. “You okay in there?”
The unknown and illegal oozed in horizontal slivers from below each door. Sweat drooled from his hairline and down into his eye sockets.
He swallowed hard and took another step forward.
Gatry’s door was slightly ajar.
“Mr. Gatry?” His foot tapped, but he couldn’t stop it. Each hair rising from his body quivered. With a set of quick steps, he jabbed the door with his bleeding hand.
It swung open.
Counting to three, he stepped in.
Gatry lay on the floor as the wind from the open window swept past him.

Interesting Side Story

From The Author

In 2000, I had the idea to carve a wooden mask, place it deep in the woods, and then write a mystery that would lead others to a hidden site… if they had the courage to accept the challenge. So, on a warm Thursday morning, September 13, 2001, two days after the tragedy of 9/11, I left the Twin Cities and headed up to the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCAW). Accompanying me on the trip was a very heavy Old Town canoe (which has since departed), my wife’s friend, LeAnn, and a carved pine mask that would later end up in this book.

We arrived in the evening on the banks of an entry point leading to the waters of the BWCAW, hunkered down for the night, and waited until morning. At first light, we loaded up and started our long paddle en route to the location initially selected for the final resting place of the mask. On the way across the first lake, we noticed campsites with large American flags strung between pine branches in tribute to the horrors that had taken place days earlier.

As we moved deeper into the remote wilderness, the flags and people disappeared and what remained was vast and easily underestimated by those unfamiliar with the land’s many moods. The sun rose higher and before long we came across a group of adventurers. The group had been on their trek for more than a week. After speaking for a few minutes we realized that these students and their professor had not heard about what had happened in New York, and a friendly conversation between them changed to one that I can vividly remember — because I quickly realized that the person I was speaking to did not believe me. “I could see it in his eyes. He thought I was crazy,” I wrote in my journal later. The young man signaled for some of the rest of his group, along with a group leader, to come over and listen to my outrageous tale.

Unfortunately, we all know it was true. It was an emotional moment and showed me how close, even so far away from the site, we held those people in our hearts.


Still in our thoughts…

Accept The Adventure

Purchase your copy of the book and BWCAW maps by clicking below or visiting any Minnesota REI, but make sure you've read the story and have an idea where you will be heading... or it could be a long cold night.

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McKenzie Maps

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Book

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Jake & The Eyes of Kek

A Jake Gatry Mystery

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