From the publisher: In one hand, small-time crook Stokes holds a backpack stuffed with someone else’s money - - three hundred and fifty thousand dollars of it. In the other hand, Stokes has a cell phone, which he found with the money. On the line, a little girl he doesn’t know asks, “Daddy? Are you coming to get me? They say if you give them money they’ll let you take me home.” A wrenching story of an unscrupulous man torn between his survival instincts and the plight of a true innocent. Faced with the choice, Stokes discovers his conscience might not be as corroded as he thought, with the life of a six-year-old girl in his hands.
Stokes, 36 years old, is nothing if not a man of contradictions. A high school dropout living in an Indiana trailer park, he has, as the story opens, spent the last night in jail being questioned about breaking and entering and robbing a local homeowner, the latter now in the hospital being treated for serious injuries sustained during that incident. But Stokes is also a man of compassion and empathy, perhaps belied by the fact that when necessary, he could still, among other things, break into a house and steal its contents, and make a cuckold of a neighbor with a pretty wife.
Shortly after his release from jail, he causes the death of a man by his careless driving and, after finding a windfall of over a quarter of a million dollars in the dead man’s car, steals it. But as the story evolves, he realizes that he has stepped into the middle of a kidnapping, and that a little girl’s safety - - and perhaps her life - - are in the balance. Images of his own little girl, who he hasn’t seen in 13 years, since she was two years old, keep intruding on his thoughts, and his decisions.
In debt to a loan shark for $75,000, which has now grown to $100,000, he contemplates leaving Shady Creek, a city that “may have grown up around a shady crossroads in the middle of a small town, but in the hundred fifty-odd years of its existence, Shady Cross had gotten quite a bit bigger and uglier.” He is determined to try to save the little girl, but has no idea how. This is a page-turner of a novel, filled with suspense, as the clock literally ticks down, and it is recommended....Continua