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The Author Speaks

Excerpt From 'Guilt by Association'

Former prosecutor's first novel is a murder mystery

In fact, far from depressing him, the ugly room made him feel triumphant. It represented the world he'd been born into, and the one he was finally leaving behind ... forever. For the first time in a life that had nearly ended at the hands of a high-wired crackhead while his so‑called mother was crashing in the next room, he was going to be in control. He paused to consider the memory of his early near demise — not a firsthand memory since he'd been only two months old when it happened, but rather a paragraph in the social worker's report he'd managed to read upside down during a follow‑up visit at one of the many foster homes where he'd been "raised" for the past sixteen or so years.

As it always did, the memory of that report made him wonder whether his mother was still alive. The thought felt different this time, though. Instead of the usual helpless, distant ache — and rage — he felt power, the power to choose. Now he could find her ... if he wanted to. Find her and show her that the baby she'd been too stoned to give a shit about had made it. Had scored the big score.

In just a few more minutes, he'd say good-bye to that loser kid who lived on the fringes. He stopped, dropped his hands to his hips, and stared out the grimy window as he savored the thought of having "fuck you" money. He planned to extend a vigorous middle finger to the many foster parents for whom he was just a dollar sign, to all the assholes he'd had to put up with for a meal and a bed. And if he did decide to find his mother, he'd show up with something awesome for her, a present, like a dress or jewelry. Something to make her sorry for all the years she'd let him be lost to her. He pictured himself giving her whatever it was in a fancy, store-wrapped box. He tried to picture the expression on her face, but the image wouldn't resolve. The only photo he had of her — taken when he was less than a year old — was so faded, only the outline of her long brown hair was still visible. Still, the thought of being able to play the Mac Daddy puffed him up, and for a moment he let himself go there, enjoying the fantasy of his mother really loving him.

Next: The knock on the door jolted him back to reality. >>

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