A captivating and disturbing story…

…about a man who rejects the common answers to life, suffering, and injustice. In his life, in his dreams, and in painful flashbacks, Jay faces the agony of grave injustice, experiences the cold hand of fate, and reluctantly embarks upon a questionable search for hope.

“…well written…”

“…not for the faint of heart…”

“McDowell takes perceived notions and completely shatters them…I believe that this novel is his wake up call to society.” Courtney Hancock

Reviewer, Norman Park, GA

“In this novel, McDowell expertly drills deep into the core of humanity and exposes a raw nerve—a painful discovery, but not without purpose…it addresses a question we all face at some point in our life: is there any beauty to be found in a dark place? Linda Marie Zupancic

Writer, editor, B.C., Canada

the story in pictures
pinterest board
a look inside

the first scene

Part One


“That’s one small step for man,” I said under my breath as I stepped out of the van and into the light of day.

The other men climbed out behind me, but I paid no attention to them. Two buses sat idling in the broad parking lot, like sleeping monsters gently snoring. The sign on the front of the closest read “San Bernardino-Los Angeles Union.” The other was “Phoenix-Tucson.” Besides the two buses, there were three cars, parked apart across the asphalt expanse, like vehicle outcasts. Afraid to get too close to anyone else.

I took a deep breath of the warm morning air. My plan had been to return home, despite how different it would be. Many of my contacts would still be there. Still alive. But that other emptiness might be more than I could stand.

I heard a female squealing. One of the men was hugging and kissing her. She was not attractive and looked far older than him, though her bawling sounded like a child. The man was delighted. They stopped kissing and began to talk with animation. I watched as she led him to one of the lone cars.

Another who had been with me, a black giant of a man, lumbered over to a pickup truck where an elderly male leaned against the driver door, arms crossed. They shook hands. The larger man opened the passenger door. The truck rocked as he struggled to get in. It was a bus for me. Phoenix? I had visited a few times on business, but had no real contacts. I knew nothing about Tucson. Maybe I should head out to parts unknown. Really start all over. In every way. With an attempt at dispassion, I decided that the known was better than the unknown. I want some order to this puzzle that is my life.

Message the Author

Questions, beta reading, review copies, etc.

15 + 1 =

My signature (blue)

Author, writer, and freelance editor.
Nonfiction and fiction.

Pin It on Pinterest