Midnight Black by R. J. Eastwood
“When plunder becomes a way of life for men, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
Frederic Bastiat, French Economist. 1801-1850
Fifteen years following his imprisonment for committing a brutal revenge murder, former top DEA Agent Billy Russell is paroled five-years early to a world controlled by autocratic billionaires. Armed only with his wits, Billy returns to find a society fighting for its very survival and soon finds himself embroiled in the wildest conspiracy he could have ever imagined.
Winner of the Author’s Circle Novel of Excellence for Fiction, The International Review of Books for Fiction, the Literary Titan award for Excellence in Fiction,
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
What interested me was what a future general might be going through based on the decisions we are making today. So, I set the story 44 years in the future and let the story unfold through the eyes of one man, an ex-prisoner who return to a society on the verge of economic and moral collapse. The entire story unfolds through his eyes.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I created a very moral man, a man who was a high-ranking DEA officer, but was convicted of a crime of passion. He's sent away for 17 years in total isolation. Once out, he quickly finds himself embroiled in the wildest conspiracy he could have ever imagines. I thought it would be interesting to see how he dealt with the challenges presented to him once released from prison.
When my earthly expiration date arrives, I’ll be whisked off to heaven because I’ve already experienced hell. I no longer have a sense of what is real and what is not… the memories that once lifted my spirits when all hope seemed lost are gone… like I’m seeing life through heavy gauze. That’s what this hellhole has done to my once-functioning brain… but I will endure, I will survive. Until then, like the missing tab of a thousand-piece puzzle, apocalyptic dreams are in control of my nights… those precious memories that once kept me going when I thought I couldn’t are distorted and fragmented… those I wish I could erase forever linger within the deep recesses of my consciousness haunting me night after night after night. When I arrived here, I was twenty-six years old, six-feet-two, weighing in at two-hundred and fifteen pounds… I’m one-hundred and ninety now thanks to six days a week hard labor… my hair remains dark brown except for the streaks of white that have invaded my temples… dark circles live under my light brown eyes, my face has forgotten how to smile. Like everyone back on Earth, I had only heard stories of this place that painted a grim picture… little did I know what I was in for. On the day we landed in this nether world, management had us strip and marched past a line of leering, catcalling inmates… the brass’s way of removing any sense of self-esteem we had left… from that moment on time and space was altered… I had descended into a black hole of punishment. We were issued identification numbers… names are not used here… my number is 11349556… I’m addressed only as 556, which is stitched on the front of the two shirts I was issued. We sleep in four cold, dark, gray cramped spaces called ‘Bays’, fifty men to each… I’m in bay three… the bunks are two-feet apart in earshot of every snort, belch, cough, sneeze, grunt, fart, along with a cacophony of constant distractions coming from some of the scariest men I’ve had the displeasure of coming into contact with… that’s saying a lot considering my profession before being sent here. You have to set bunkmates straight right off or they’ll make life a living hell of harassment… I did… they know not to screw with me. Apartheid is alive and well thanks to a complicated mix of races… if you’re black, brown, red, or yellow, life is a nightmare of racism that leads to an occasional battle royal nurtured along by the all-white goon squads who watch over us.
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