My next novel, (which I initially expected to publish in 2015) started as a speculative fiction piece intended to be a short story. But, the characters and events got loose, and I was never able to corral them into the seven or ten thousand words I originally intended. They wanted a crime novel, and I became their galley slave.
Despite its cry for guns, guts, blood and violence, it is a clean and fairly flinch-free read. Flinching as you duck the bullets and brains.
The protagonist, Troy Bittles, is a retired enforcer for an infamous worldwide motorcycle club (gang). In retirement, he has turned his former exploits into fodder for a semi-successful writing career. He lives alone with an aging English Bulldog, Sam.
Life seems good, but the monotony is not all he thought it would be. Stacked against his former action-filled life, as an enforcer amongst outlaws, his current life is a definite flatline. For a while, he finds peace with the life he yearned for, yet one haunting deed he never can shake, the accidental murder of a child, continues to haunt his mind and heart. The hit was never supposed to go down that way. The boy was not expected to be in the house. On law enforcement logs, the child is still listed as missing, likely kidnapped.
While out for a routine walk with his dog, Troy is rat-packed by a group of street thugs. Initially, it seems unplanned although provoked by Troy. A much older outlaw shows up to help. Silas Parker, who in the spectrum of organized gangs, is the polar opposite of Troy's world. The only thing the two have in common is violence and murder.
Silas' help comes with a bite, though, as both men are propelled headlong into a series of calamitous events filled with hitmen, murder, drug cartels and runs from the police. Within these developments, Troy sees a dim chance at redemption for the one deed he felt had doomed him to a life of torment.
The story winds its way through California, Arizona, Mexico, Central America, and Brazil. In Recife, Brazil they are killing killers, the death squads preying on children whose only real crime is poverty. The story took a turn I could never have imagined, and redemption for the protagonists remains in sight but just out of reach.
The ending flabbergasted me and made me flinch.
Flatline is a crime novel. A wanton wild tale with a cast of strong, colorful characters that ride with impunity through violent circumstances mostly of their making.
The heroes in this novel are not the good guys.
Look for Flatline's release by mid-2016.