When I first had the idea for Transient, I envisaged a series of novellas about a homeless man who was on the run from the police for a crime he didn’t commit. I thought it would be five separate stories, each having its own story arc, with one all-encompassing story arc that would be resolved at the end.
After writing the first two novellas, I came to realize that I liked the story better as a full length novel. So I changed it. I adapted the original two novellas to make them more relevant as a novel, and then wrote the remainder of the story which I’ve just recently finished.
I’m happy with the way it turned out, and thrilled with the decision to turn several novellas into a single novel!
Transient is an exciting suspense novel that tells the story of David Sands, a former police officer on the run from the law and living on the streets of Las Vegas. He’s accused of a heinous crime that he didn’t commit, and his intention is to find the actual perpetrators. One problem though: he’s dealing with enormous emotional trauma, and falling into the pitfalls of life on the street, namely, alcoholism.
Check out a preview of the first chapter of Transient below, and I look forward to being able to share it with all of you sometime soon!
I remember when I saw my first murder.
I say first as though I’ve seen a lot of them. The truth is I’ve only had two happen right in front of me. The first was two years ago and I don’t talk about that one. I remember it—I’ll always remember it—but I don’t talk about it.
The second was about an hour ago.
I take a drink from my beer bottle, the liquid warm and somewhat flat as it slips over my tongue and down my throat. It leaves an acidic and bitter feeling in my stomach as it sits there. I know bitter is a taste, or possibly an emotional reaction and not actually a physical feeling, but I can’t think of a better word to describe the daggers in my stomach as the beer churns in my gut. I haven’t eaten today and that’s probably part of the reason the tepid beer isn’t sitting well with me.
Lyrics from Paul Revere, the old Beastie Boys song, suddenly come unbidden into my mind:
One lonely Beastie I be,
All by myself without nobody.
The sun is beating down on my baseball hat,
The air is gettin’ hot, the beer is getting flat.
There’s a line later in the song about a sheriff’s posse being on his tail. That line is even more apropos to my current situation.
I need to figure out what to do about the murder I just saw.
There are options of course. There are always options. Mine are more limited than yours would be though.
If you witnessed a murder—saw it happen right in front of your eyes—what would you do?
I’m guessing some of you are tough guys and you’re thinking you would have done something to stop it. You would have played the hero; you’d have jumped at the killer and wrestled the gun away from him and then held him until the police arrived.
I snort at that thought, some of the beer coming back up my esophagus, burning my throat as it tends to do. This is the worst part about drinking warm beer. It doesn’t want to stay where it belongs, always bubbling around down there, threatening to rise back up. I read somewhere once that Germans drink their beer warm on purpose. They don’t have a history of good decision-making skills though, do they?
It’s rare that I actually have a good, cold beer, so you’d think I’d be used to the warm stuff. I suppose there are some things a civilized person was just never meant to get used to.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m no hero. I didn’t even consider trying to stop the murder I just witnessed. My life may not seem like much to you, but it’s the only one I’ve got and I’d rather prefer to keep it.
Be a good witness. That’s what the cops always tell civilians when the civilians ask what they should do when they see a crime happening. Be a good witness. Don’t get involved.
Those of you who aren’t heroes—like me—are probably thinking that if you witnessed a murder you would be a good witness, just like the police recommend. You would watch the murder happen, and then take note of the killer’s appearance: his clothing, height, weight, complexion, hair color and style, any facial hair, any noticeable scars or visible tattoos. You’d take note of the gun, filing away whether it was an automatic or a revolver, stainless or blued. Perhaps you’d even notice the make and model of the gun (stainless Beretta 92FS in this case). You’d take note of anything unusual, like the thing he’d been carrying in his left hand, something he grabbed from the car after he fired the fatal shot. I couldn’t see what it was as it was blocked by his body, but it was small and white in color, and if you’d seen that, you would add that to your mental report.
Once you’d filed all that information away in your memory, you’d then pay attention to the killer’s escape method. If he left the scene in a car, such as he did in this case, you’d note the make, model, color, any distinguishing characteristics such as body damage or custom equipment, and, if you could safely get close enough, you’d take note of the license plate number, memorizing it or typing it into your phone so you didn’t forget. And of course, you would note the direction of travel after he left the scene.
Then you would call the police, giving the critical information to the dispatcher so he or she could relay it to the responding police officers. When they arrived on the scene, you would give a detailed statement of what you had witnessed. With your superior powers of observation, there would be an excellent chance of the killer getting caught.
I’m a superb witness and I did everything listed above…with one exception.
I didn’t call the police.