by Gregg Bell
What can a mother do when she has no money and a dangerously sick kid?
She can make a mistake.
In a moment of desperation, cleaning lady Phoebe Jackson tries to pawn the diamond-bejeweled Rolex she found in a mobster's locker. Turns out the watch is a fake, but the mobster isn't - and he's on to her.
The wind from the thudding helicopter was pushing Phoebe this way and that. The sirens were getting louder. Phoebe’s shoulder burned. She was starting to lose consciousness. But with a shaky hand she kept her pistol on Michael.
Michael straightened up, his arms up in the air, fingers extended, the helicopter whipping his hair. “There,” he yelled, “you’ve got them both now. It’s what you wanted. It’s over.” He took another step down the stairs but stopped at the second to last stair and held his arms wide. “You’ve won, Phoebe.”
She shook her head. His lawyers. His owning the police. His vendettas. His lies. He’s like a mosquito. The only way you’ll be rid of him is to move away or kill him.
She wasn’t moving away.
Michael read her eyes. “Don’t, Phoebe,” he yelled. “It would be your worst move ever. Do you really want your girls to grow up without their mother? You’ll spend the rest of your life in prison. I can promise you that.”
Phoebe swallowed and lowered the gun. “Maybe so.”
“That’s right.” He nodded aggressively. He stepped down to the last stair. “That’s the only way to go.”
“Then again maybe not.” She raised the pistol, fired, and the bullet ripped into his chest. He fell, landing solidly on his butt on the last step, almost like he’d meant to, his feet dangling like a little boy sitting on a pier. He coughed blood and tore at his shirt. Then he looked at Phoebe. And he kept looking at her.
Phoebe didn’t look away, her eyes staying on his until like a slow-falling oak he tumbled hard onto the tarmac.
By MyTwo Cents
The story started out well, and I expected a lot of suspense. However, it settled into a fairly predictable, almost romance-type novel, with a main character that can't seem to decide between a safe, solid, nice guy, and a hard, abusive, but to her, exciting crook. Other than the main character, we don't learn much about the other characters, what drives them, their backgrounds, etc. The main character will do anything for her kids, and I mean anything. Many of the events in the story provide no context, and leave the reader with a lot of questions that never get answered.
For me, I would have preferred more mystery and unexpected turns, but I think this book would appeal more to women.
From the Author
When I was ten, a drunken guy almost drowned me in a swimming pool. It was in Miami Beach at the Chateau motel. The guy was a pool hand and he was wrestling (playfully, for the most part)with us kids. Then he said, "I'm going to show you a good hold" and he got me in a headlock and took me under. It was a good hold all right. He held me there and held me there and held me there. I struggled but this was a powerful man. There was nothing to do. I would either die or I wouldn't.
That experience gave me an appreciation for life's tenuousness. If you think about it, we're only alive as far as our next breath will take us.
So I write novels and stories about characters like you and me with their heads underwater. (Figuratively speaking of course.) Characters under so much duress their brains are about to burst. They're at the end of it all. No way out of this one. But I also write with a sense of humor. (You have to have a sense of humor, right?)
I was born in 1956 in Chicago. A lifelong Illinois guy. Married once. Divorced. No kids. No pets. Passionate about things: people, classical music, golf. And I always seem to be on the side of the underdog.