This is the video that I made for a previous version of the story called “Darkness, Darkness.” That was a short story published by Uncial Press. “A Line in the Sand” expands that story to a novel, but this vid still gives you a real good idea of the tone and style to expect.
Excerpt: Unloading 400 kilos
“But you’re sure we can trust him?” “I’m never sure.” He shook his head. “Your father trusts him.” “And he’s not being followed? He’s not setting us up?” “I’m very sure of that. No one else knows I’m even in the country.” “Well,” I said. “Anyway, I’m glad we’re getting out of, you know.” “Well,” said Antonio. I looked at him. “What do you mean?” “We are, we are.” “Are you saying we’re not?” “No, no.” He smiled. “We’re getting out of, that market.” Clearly there was something he was not telling me. “Screw you.” His eyes shifted sideways, he leaned closer. “We are. We’re out of, the dust. We’re going to be importing pharmaceuticals. Y’know, for the American market.” At that moment a very complex set of gears, levers and bolts all operated, and a door opened. “The plastics! The plastics to China! And we’re bringing back, what? H?” He smiled, uncharacteristically bashful. “No, no, nothing like that. Prescription drugs. Y’know, pain pills. Legal stuff, with a prescription.” “But who gives the prescriptions?” “Doctors, I guess.” He smiled. The door opened, and on the other side, in this new place was a lawn, like the Garden of Versailles, green grass and small white bunnies. Candy pops grew on trees. My father had been one step ahead of the law, two steps ahead of the bureaucrats, and a half a kilometer ahead of me. “Opioids!” I whispered. “Oh, God, that’s beautiful! I should have known. A crooked furrow never plows straight.”
When are you safe? Who do you trust? When is it right to do wrong?
These questions drive the characters in A Line in the Sand. Desperate choices will be made in the first few minutes of the story, and plot twists will come down to the last few pages. Packed in between are action, psychological suspense, admirable courage, and undeniable terror. Killers will be killed; authorities will be lied to; young people in their first act of adulthood will go against everything they’ve ever learned or wanted. In the end, life and hope are chosen over fear and death; a new family is formed; a new future is imagined.
The story works both sides of the southwestern U.S. border and revolves around a vendetta by a drug cartel against two refugee boys, who wind up under the hastily improvised protection of a Phoenix elementary school teacher and janitor. This unlikely band defeats hired killers but then must hide their victory even from the police out of fear of retribution from the seemingly omnipotent and utterly evil cartel. At the same time, we are also seeing the events from the side of the narcos, who, it turns out, have their own fears and failings. A Line in the Sand is a stand alone action-suspense story in a mainstream style, with literary aspirations and lots of heart. It addresses urgent issues of justice, prejudice, and the psychology of trauma. Length: 85,000 words. Headline: Ruthless assassins face off against a janitor, a teacher, and two immigrant children—and lose. 50 word blurb: Mexico’s drug war is real, and the source of corruption, violence and atrocities against innocent people. If it were to leak across the border, how would American citizens be affected? How would we react?
A Line in the Sand (drawn from my story, “Darkness, Darkness, (Uncial Press 2011)) combines exciting action and suspense with street level stories about life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border, and both sides of the law.