Steve E. Clark shares excerpts from Justice Is for the Deserving
Excerpt one; Chapter One; Justice Is for the Deserving :
I’VE HEARD THAT some people who stop breathing or whose
hearts conk out sense they’re being pulled down a dark tunnel
toward a beautiful light at the other end. They say it would have been
easy to let go.
It’s true. I saw it when I died.
Of course, some of those who live to describe their deaths report
only darkness. Maybe that’s hell. Skeptical neurologists say the light is
simply the last neurons firing in the dying brain. Catholics, like me,
hope the light is heaven or leads to a short stay in purgatory for a little
But you can enter another tunnel without dying. That path leads to
utter, complete despair where every dream you had of love, friendship,
children, and honor dies. It’s like being plunked into the middle of an
ocean without a life vest, knowing you can tread water only so long.
You yell and pray, offer Jesus all sorts of promises and deals . . . to no
avail. No one helps.
Not even God.
For years I’d regularly experienced a nightmare—drowning with
dozens of people on the shore watching, who are reluctant to get wet.
A version of that nightmare became real for me. Unlike death, which
can be sudden and painless, despair is slow and agonizing.
Excerpt two; Chapter 37; Scene 1 of Justice is for the Deserving :
I saw three alternatives. Number one - go up and ring the bell. Nothing like getting right to the point. But it might be suicide to walk into a house of homicidal lunatics. Even with the fear of going back to jail, I wasn’t quite ready to die.
Two, I could try to slip behind the place and sneak in, but there was still daylight left and I might be spotted anyway.
Third - chicken out. The sensible choice. But if I was going to puss out, why had I come?
Deciding on number two, I stuffed my 9mm in my waistband, grabbed my phone, and got out. I decided not to call Michael. Not yet anyway. But maybe Jen would still show, so I took a deep breath and crossed myself. Once I scoped things out, I could decide on the next step.
The rain had morphed to drizzle. Gloomy, clammy weather, perfect for the Fall of the House of Kerry. It looked like 1734 backed up to an empty lot. If I could get through the yard of a neighboring house, with luck I could slip closer, unseen.
As I sidled up the drive of 1726, my phone rang. Michael, leave me alone.
I checked anyway and saw it wasn’t my lover, but Unavailable.
Jen? Thank the Lord. I answered.
A male voice said: “Come straight in. No James Bond crap.”
The voice clicked off. I tried Jen again. No answer. My heart sped up from its tachycardia state. Number one it was. I sent Jen a text. Going in. Park outside. Call cops if not out in ten. I figured if I couldn’t convince them in ten minutes I never would. Even a federal judge would give you ten minutes for an opening.
Nothing about the piled-stone and Tudor-like house suggested a potential murder-kidnapping venue. Glancing around, I saw no witnesses who might remember me. Perfect for the Caswells. But hopefully Jen would show any second.
Steve Clark shares excerpts from Justice is for the Lonely
He moved to within inches of her. Even in flats she was looking at the top of his head. His right hand crept around her, as if he thought she wouldn’t notice. The left remained in his pocket.
Ambition and pride had carried her here. She wanted on Layne badly enough to follow orders. Victory would cement her career. She might someday be the female Joe Jamail or Racehorse Haynes—the greatest lawyers in Texas history. A blown knee had ended her first dream of becoming an All-American small forward, but you didn’t need knees to be a great lawyer.
Ettinger, the gangly cardiologist and their joint expert witness, rose and gathered his file.
“Explain and teach,” Stern counseled, “but make the jury think being a doctor is damn hard. If they think medical decisions are easy,
they can second-guess.”
“I can honestly say this is a judgment call, if the man’s signs were properly recorded by the nurses. I would’ve ordered an echo, but with carriers screaming about costs, I can see why a guy might wait for more symptoms.”
HER RIGHT HAND GRIPPING her automatic pistol, Kristen shined her flashlight with her left and tiptoed through the house. She could turn on the lights, but kept the place dark, so anyone returning wouldn’t be alerted. Slivers of streetlight penetrated the halfopen blinds and helped a bit.
In the family room, a Naugahyde sectional had been pushed apart. Newspapers lay scattered. The dining area had no place to hide anything. A quick look in the kitchen revealed a pot on the range caked with dried beans, and bowls piled up in the sink. Somebody had missed the trash with two crumpled beer cans. A den off the kitchen loomed empty.