preview :: novel length fiction
Murder comes to makah
Around the bend
Lobbyist Samantha Benson’s been dog-paddling through an ocean of gin ever since her wife was murdered in the driveway of their Sacramento home last year. When she’s finally fired after blowing her 'one more last chance,' she decides to take her career into her own hands and pass the bill that means the most to her through the California legislature. She has very little time and one last shot at reaching a compromise with her political opposition when she falls face-first into the political unholy trinity of God, guns, and gays.
The fight to pass the bill, the satisfaction of screwing over her enemies, and tangling herself up with a challenging and surprising new ally on the opposite side of the aisle prove to be the sparks that bring Sam back to life, and give her a reason to think about sobering up. But when an angry political activist with an ax to grind makes an unexpected appearance in her world, she’ll win it all or lose it all - for good.
Where it started and where it stopped. That’s what the newspapers focused on. The Sacramento Bee, in particular. A thick, black headline with Paloma’s picture underneath. A much smaller photo below that, which also included Samantha Benson kneeling on shimmering pavement over her dead wife. Tears and snot and makeup smeared across her shattered reality, devastated and terrified as anonymous neighbors surrounded the two of them. A less concerned neighbor with a real heads-up sense for news had taken that shot, immortalizing Samantha’s grief.
There was never anything about the Cheerios scattered everywhere or the busted can of tomato soup all over Paloma and their driveway. A different color than the blood but still runny and red. If you looked closely at the picture, that one with a limp Samantha, you could see the tiny Cheerios.
The bullet had traveled through an exterior wall and across their suburban street, then through the groceries nestled inside the reusable tote her wife unloaded from the bed of the pickup. Finally, as the newspapers loved to point out, the bullet came to rest right at the center of Paloma’s heart. The detail made great copy. Samantha would admit to that. She had a hard time getting it out of her head late at night, so surely it must have been equally hard to forget for the readership of the Bee.
The bullet. It was what so much of the story had revolved around. A real hook for hanging a byline or a criminal case. So it was also well-documented that the offending gun, a Ruger P-series, was loaded with .45 ACP rounds. Very late one night after the shooting, or very early one morning depending on your perspective, Samantha had Googled that particular type of ammo. Even watched a seventeen-minute-long video titled ‘At what distance is .45 ACP still lethal?’ Turns out that at two hundred yards it could stop another human in his or her tracks.
Unfortunately for her and for Samantha, Paloma Meier had only been the other side of the street from Craig Winston when he’d taken the shot, firing wide and easily missing the intended target, his wife.
People are fond of saying that lightening never strikes twice. For instance, most people would say, and most would agree, that there was no way that the same neighbor could get practically the same photo of Samantha Benson in the middle of her driveway, kneeling over the woman she loved, both of them covered in blood, a second time.
Then again - a lot of people are very often wrong about a lot of things.