Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Presenting A Shattered Lens by Layton Green!

The camera felt so right in her hands. So natural. The sheer heft of it made her feel important, as if she were already more visible in the world. Everybody everywhere needed something to help them belong, Annie knew. For some it was obvius: money, drugs, guns, sex, power. For others, it could be something as simple as a pet, or a child, or a single friend.
Something no one else could claim.
Something to make you feel alive and special.
What Annalise Stephens Blue wanted, what she had craved since she had first seen ET...sitting on her daddy's lap before he left home, was a camera. Not just any old transmitter of encoded images, but a real  camera...
Night Lives.
That would be the name of her first film, an expose on the nocturnal activities of the people who lived just across the forest from her but who thought they were so much better. Not just the parents, but the kids. The popular ones those Wild Oaks parents bred like minks. She imagined they came out of a celestial assembly line, little blond babies wearing Ralph Lauren onesies in the car seats of their BMWs and Mercedes. The Morning Star himself lived there, David Stratton, the high school quarterback and resident golden boy. Despite herself, she fantasized about dating him, though not for his popularity or good looks. No, she recognized something inside him. A darkness like her own born not of evil but of sadness, a searing aloneness that scraped at the edges of the soul.
How could someone that beloved ever be lonely? Did no one really know him? Was he lost and didn't know how to escape the trunks of the longleaf pines hemming in his neighborhood like the bars of a giant prison?
When they were kids, she and David used to play in one of the tree houses the Wild Oaks fathers hired someone else to build, until David's parents found out and banned him from associating with the trailer park kids. In the years that followed, the forest between them became an ocean to cross, a Maginot line, a barrier more mental than physical.
What had happened to that little boy?
The true story of the Morning Star, both devil and angel, was one of the many mysteries she aimed to expose in Night Lives.

A Shattered Lens

By Layton Green

Halfway  through the woods, she heard the murmur of angry whispers, too low to make out the age or gender.  Blue froze. She couldn't be seen with the stolen camera. At first she debated turning back, but teenage trysts took place in these woods--re-purposing the tree houses. This could be her first big scene. Why else would anybody from Wild Oaks be out in the woods after dark?

Annalise, who was called Blue, had stolen a camera and was headed into the woods to try it out. She had big dreams of someday being a filmmaker and her first project was to be Night Lives. She thought the woods would be empty but when she heard distant murmurs, she was afraid--of being found with a stolen camera. Thinking about it, she realized that it was probably teens making out in the tree houses once built when they were all kids...

Continuing to set up her camera in a clearing, she jumped when those voices entered the clearing. She quickly moved back, but realized the camera was still recording... Hearing what appeared to be fighting. She moved to look through the lens when she heard a gunshot...and a thud to the ground...She learned later it was a body!

For now she just heard the sounds--of moaning--of something being dragged...

Then her cellphone rang!

She ran! But soon, she could heard the pounding of footsteps following...

Preach and his lovely wife had found some time to be together, only to be interrupted from a possible romp in the loft, by another cellphone! Preach apologized, announcing, "But there's a body in the woods..."

Discovering that the body was of a teenager was bad enough, but he was also "the golden boy--" the high school's star quarterback. But, for Preach, it got even worse, when he discovered that his mother was Claire Lourdis, the girl in school that everybody wanted--maybe him most of all. He had not seen Claire for many years and now they would be meeting, again, because of her son's murder... And, indeed, it was a difficult time. Especially, since David Stratton's father had abandoned his family. Claire reasoned that David was as well-adjusted as he could be in those circumstances...

In the meantime, Blue was scared. She had lost several things in the woods and now, Cobra, the enforcer of the neighborhood gang was going to each trailer seeking the individual who had lost the things...

Preach was dealing with the interviews, details and normal activities surrounding a murder case, but he soon began to question whether Claire was involved...and hoping she wasn't...

Memories, secrets, and more are revealed as each of the main characters move through twists and turns. But the setting itself--trailer park versus rich part of town residents adds a dimension that many may face around the nation. Where the rich believe they can do as they wish and sometimes, even the poor can be paid to cover for them...Just how much can be discovered digging into these two worlds that cross continuously? Find out in another strong police procedural with a great character, Preach, who allows readers to see the good, the bad, and the memories and private thoughts in between. Highly recommended.


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