Book Excerpt: Country Justice

The following is a brief excerpt from another novel I have in the works.  Country Justice, a post-apocalyptic story that takes place the spring after a nuclear terrorist attack lead to a limited nuclear war the prior autumn.  Most of the U.S. has been without power for months because of an electromagnetic pulse.  We join the story the day after Jam and his wife Lisa have killed the men that shot her father.

Country Justice is the second book in a series.  The first book, as yet untitled, includes all the details about the war started and how people react to it. This one takes place months later with all new characters.

Country Justice by Mitchell Cane
Country Justice by Mitchell Cane

We were just sitting down to breakfast when the driveway alarm beeped.  A moment later we heard the crunch of gravel under the tires.  We were both wearing our pistols but I moved towards the door where my M4 and my FN shotgun were within easy reach.  I relaxed when the sheriff’s car appeared on our driveway.  I took it as a good sign that he came alone.

Before long the sheriff was seated at our kitchen table, joining us for a cup of coffee.  “It’s been a few days since I’ve had a cup of coffee,” he said, as he savored his mug.  “We’re out at the station.  And they stopped serving it at Shirley’s on account of no resupply.  I expect they’ll run out of sweet tea before too long.”

I nodded.  “We’re running low ourselves.   I know it’s not good for me, but I sure will miss my morning coffee.”  We had several bags of coffee in the pantry, but I that wasn’t news I wanted to share with anyone.  Dan had used his Costco membership to get stocked up, which had been a good thing because after the power went out, the trucks stopped rolling, and the store shelves emptied in a hurry. 

“So Sheriff,” chimed in Lisa, “Have you made any arrests regarding my father’s murder?”

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Book Excerpt: Flight of the Condor

Below is an excerpt from Flight of the Condor, a novel that takes place in a dystopian future where much of the population is crammed into small apartments in 100-story buildings, known as towers.

In this excerpt, which comes early in the book, Gabby introduces her boyfriend Jed to her family. Jed’s family is well below hers in terms of social standing and lives in a much smaller apartment.  You will note that due to the plague years (I wrote this while on quarantine due to COVID-19) no one shakes hands; they bow instead.

Likewise, the formality the characters display is intentional. It developed in their society to give inhabitants the illusion of personal space in a crowded state.

Please keep in mind that this is only a small part of a much larger work-in-progress and not a short story. The first draft of this novel is only about 70 percent complete. Consider this your sneak peek, and feel free to leave any feedback or comments below.

Flight of the Condor by Mitchell Cane
Flight of the Condor by Mitchell Cane

Gabby let go of his hand, straightened her shirt so the buttons aligned, and palmed the lock, opening the door. Her mother was waiting for them and arose gracefully, bowing slightly. “Daughter, welcome home. What good timing.”

Gabby bowed in return. “Thank you, mother. Please allow me to introduce my boyfriend, Jedediah Johnson.” Jed felt a grin cracking his face at the word “boyfriend,” so he held his bow a little longer than necessary while he regained control.

“Mr. Johnson, it is a pleasure to meet you at last. Gabriella has mentioned you several times. Please come in and be welcome in our home.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” he said, stepping over the threshold and presenting her with a small, carefully wrapped box. “A small token of my appreciation of your invitation.” She accepted the present with a nod and a slight smile.

He saw two younger children peeking at him through a doorway. Their mother beckoned them into the room.

“These are the twins, Jessica and Joseph. Children, this is Mr. Johnson, who will be our guest tonight.

“Please call me Jed,” he told them.

There was a steamer near the door. Gabby opened it and used a pair of tongs to hand a hot towel to Jed. A common cleansing ritual developed during the plague years, Jed thoroughly wiped his hands, enjoying the smell of citrus while making sure to get the backs of them as well as in between his fingers. Then he looked for a place to put his shoes. Most families had a row of shoes just inside the door. Gabby opened a closet door, answering his unasked question, and joined him in slipping hers off.

“Mother, do I have time show Jed my studio before the lighting of the candles?”

“Yes dear, at least ten minutes. I’ll send one of the kids to fetch you when your father is ready.”

But Jed was already staring at a canvas on the wall. “Isn’t that The Umbrellas by Renoir?” he asked. Then he realized that the girl in the foreground was a younger version of Gabriella. “Oh! A self-portrait,” he breathed. He approached closer and peered at it before turning towards Gabby in amazement. “You even duplicated his brush strokes. You never said you were an impressionist.”

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