Sample Sunday - Restitution

Hope you enjoy the following.  It is taken from my suspense novel Restitution.

Chapter 1
The day should have been stormy, overcast at least with light rain.  Isn’t that the way it was supposed to be on the day you buried your loved ones?  God crying and all that.  Surely, he must not have been aware of what I had lost.  Everything I had in this life was gone, housed in four walls of wood. 
I had cried so much before now, I felt void of emotion, just a raw emptiness embodied me.  A father wasn’t supposed to outlive his daughter.  A beautiful angel of only six who was the most intelligent first-grader I knew.  Pressing my eyes shut I could still hear her laugh, and witness her innocence, see the dusting of freckles on her nose.  She looked just like her mother.  I could still feel her embrace, smell her sweet perfume.  Now she would be resting with her daughter for all eternity.
“I’m so sorry, Ben.” 
I heard the words.  I felt the hand on my back.  I was tired of the apologies.  I didn’t want any of this.  I just wanted my family back.  My eyes were open now, fixed on the two boxes that would serve as their prisons.
“It’s hard right now.”  The man’s hand rested on my shoulder, lightly patted it.  “Come back to work when you’re ready.  Take as much time as you need.”
I simply nodded.  It was all I had the power to do. 
“If you need anything, just call.  Margie and I will be over right away.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“No need to say anything.”
I did my best to look over at the man without being caught.  His eyes were misted and the toe of his one black dress shoe stubbed at the grass.  There was a fast swell in his cheek that told me this was hard for him too.  I knew the man enough.  I had worked under him for a couple years now.  “I’ll be alright Lou.  Hey people go through this all the time.  Right?”  Now, I looked at him not afraid of being caught.
His jaw tightened and his eyes misted more.  Sympathetic reactions.  He didn’t really know my Robin and Lindsay beyond a few family dinners.  “Like I said, anything.  Okay?”  He squeezed my shoulder and walked away.
His leaving left me with more emptiness.  People go through this all the time - right?
“Oh Ben.”  Mom came hurrying toward me.  A small black netting came down in front of her eyes.  Her dress a free-flowing fabric swirled around her legs as she made her way across the grass.  Robin would have known right away which type of material her dress was made of.  She had that natural talent.
“I love you, baby.”  Mom grabbed my face, kissed both cheeks. 
I told her not to wear black.  I told her this was to be a celebration of their lives.  She told me there would be plenty of time for that later.  Today – just for one day, she tried to stress to me – was the day to say goodbye. 
“Love you mom.”  I reached for her hand, which was so small inside of mine, although compared to most men I was large.  I got my deep chest and broad shoulders from my pop.  He died five years ago from Lymphatic cancer.  Mom knew what it was like to lose the love of your life, and I had learned the hard lesson of reality.  I hadn’t lost anyone before then.  Maybe his loss in some way would serve to help me persevere through this, help me to survive.  But Robin helped me through that loss.  Who would help me move on now?
They say things in life happen for a reason.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the old man, but when I grew up and met Robin, she became my life.  She was my every day.  Dad became a visit on Sundays.  Just how life works I guess.  You grow up, leave home, get a life of your own.
“Your sister’s only ten minutes down the road honey, she can be here in a heartbeat.  She said she’d stay with you tonight but I told her to go home to Brent.”
Yet another sad reminder that I had no one to go home too. 
“I’ll stay with you-”
“It’s alright mom.”  I leaned down, kissed her on the forehead.  Her feisty personality was housed in a five-foot five package.
The gravesite filled in with family and friends, and the priest showed up to say a few words.  The main eulogy and funeral was held in the family church only an hour ago.  It was Robin’s thing more than mine.  She told me I needed to be more aware of my spirituality.  At this point, I was questioning if I had any. 
Mom squeezed my hand tighter.  “It’s nice that so many came out.” 
I remained silent.  She moved back to look up at me.  I think she knew what I was thinking and it worried her. 
“You need people right now, Ben.  More than ever.  Trust me.”  Her last words were caught on emotion in her throat.
I didn’t have the gall to correct her right now.  But I felt like I had too much human contact since this happened. 
She sniffled, wiped her nose.  “You think you want to be alone...but you really don’t.”
And there was the contrasting irony.  As much as I wanted to be left alone, I was scared to be.  Not sure of what exactly.  There was no risk of reality sinking in more, at least I didn’t think so.  The accident happened only seven days ago.  Saturday – one I’ll never forget.
I told Robin I had to go into work and she wasn’t very impressed.  I told her I had the opportunity to put in more hours to prove myself and it would allow me to advance in my career, really do something with it.  Maybe apply for a Lieutenant’s position or start off in a detective division.  None of that was important to her.  She was happy where we were positioned in life.  She said the most important thing was family and they might not be around forever.
I felt the tremors move through my body, and the warmth of tears as they ran down my cheeks.  I bawled like a baby for the next half hour as they put my world six feet under.

Restitution is slated for released in 2012.  

After a tragic car accident claims the life of his wife and six-year-old daughter, Ben Hammond becomes obsessed with finding the answer to why it had to happen. Motivated by a need to find the answers, and immobilized by grief, he fixates his attention on the one man he holds responsible – the man in the oncoming car.  He survived, albeit it barely, but that’s not good enough.  Ben lost everything that day.

Even with the man in a coma, Ben’s determined to get the answers he needs.  But, the true test comes when the man awakes and claims amnesia blocked out his memory of the accident.  Having sworn the oath to protect and serve, Ben needs to decide what is more important – his career or finding justice for his family.


  1. Very powerful emotions. I can feel his pain. Good beginning.

  2. Thank you, Ken. It's a suspense, but a lot of it is also his emotional journey in coping with the loss he's experienced.

  3. Very intense beginning. The second-to-last paragraph really got to me. You've really captured the shock and grief he's experiencing.


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