Crime fiction, psychological thriller
Frederick Starks has it all—a gorgeous wife who was his high school sweetheart, three beautiful children, a mansion and cars others envy, millions in the bank, respected in his community, admired by his employees, loved and respected by loyal friends. He revels in the hard-earned power and control he’s acquired. As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” which Starks discovers when gut-wrenching betrayal by his wife sends him over the edge and into a maximum security prison. There, Starks is a new “fish,” stripped of nearly everything he’s always relied on. In that place, where inmates and guards have their own rules and codes of conduct, Starks is forced to face the darker side of life, and his own darker side, especially when the betrayals, both inside and outside the prison, don’t stop. He must choose which path to follow when the line between right and wrong becomes blurred: one that leads to getting out of the physical and emotional hellhole he finds himself in or one that keeps him alive.
Starks left the session confused, wondering if it was a joke. He’d expected questions about why he’d attacked Boen Jones, and why he’d tried to kill himself, among all the other probing questions he’d anticipated and dreaded.
The steel door of his cell clanged shut behind him. He stayed standing where he was and let his eyes scan the confined space. He chuckled, but not in amusement.
What a system.
His thoughts had led him to try to kill himself, and what did the system do? They put him in even more solitary confinement twenty-three hours a day, where his thoughts could eat at him from the inside one tearing bite at a time. He was relieved that, so far, they didn’t know about his small treasure—the six-inch metal ruler lifted from the infirmary doctor’s desk. The failed suicide attempt hadn’t been a complete waste. He’d pretended his foot itched and hidden the ruler in one of his shoes. Every night when overhead lights were dimmed at eleven, he lay on his side, facing the wall. The metal strip would be removed from the slit he’d made in the underside of the mattress cover, right at the seam, where it wouldn’t be obvious. Pretend snores covered the sound as he whittled metal against concrete, until he got drowsy. Then he’d slide the ruler back into its hiding place. A slow process, for sure, but soon he’d have a proper shank. If the guard on the other side of the camera noticed the subtle arm movements made in the dimmed light . . . well, let him think whatever he wanted to about that. When the shank was sharp enough, he’d use it.
Also sharp was the loneliness. It led him to ask himself questions like why had he fallen in love with and married Kayla. He’d loved and trusted her, and she repaid him by proving she was nothing more than a harlot. He’d been through everything with her. Had sacrificed so much for her. And this place—this life—was the end result of all he’d done. For her.
Thinking about her led to thoughts of Ozy and all that her involvement with him had resulted in, how many lives had been irrevocably altered.
He choked on the pain.
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Nesly Clerge received his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, and later pursued a doctoral degree in the field of chiropractic medicine. Although his background is primarily science-based, he has finally embraced his lifelong passion for writing. Clerge’s debut novel, When the Serpent Bites, will be available in 2015, with the sequel to follow in 2016. His debut novel explores choices, consequences, and the complexities of human emotions, especially when we are placed in a less-than-desirable setting. When he is not writing, Clerge manages several multidisciplinary clinics. He enjoys reading, chess, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his significant other and his sons.
Official site: www.clergebooks.com