Tagline: A closet genius wins a record powerball, inviting the attention of a psychotic IRS agent.
This psychological thriller is filled with Dickensian characters, is set in a vast crumbling family Victorian high in the Wild Forest of the Adirondacks, and features a terrifying villain.
I wrote LOTTERYMAN to satisfy a question: What happens to lottery winners after their big win, and why don’t we every hear about them again? The answers I discovered in my research were astonishing, and I knew I had a riveting story to share. Below you will find a sample from the book.
Slowly, painfully mindful of his fragile ankle and the possibility of being ambushed by the intruder, Gus ambled toward the pantry—a closet nestled beside the table in the nook. Shadows danced in the moonlight here. Gus held his breath as he crept forward, expecting the intruder to jump out at him at any second.
“Who’s there?” he demanded in a voice made hoarse by the hour.
No voice replied, but a low intermittent squeak answered, filling the silence with its steady winding cries. As Gus watched and listened, he realized the shifting shadows and squeaks coincided. Emboldened by this discovery, he backed up to the wide doorway bisecting the kitchen and the hallway, where he flipped the light switch.
The hand holding the Derringer jerked upward, tracking motion.
Breath held, as though he was afraid to expel it, Gus lowered his gun.
The intruder was not here. He had left something, however, and it was hanging from the fan by a leash, twirling around and around as the fan went squeak-squeak-squeak.
Gus’s stomach clenched at the sight of Kevin swinging like that, the dog’s intestines dangling from his stomach like putrid tentacles. He dropped the revolver and covered his mouth, but in the act he gasped, either inhaling too deeply or ingesting a dust particle in the process that set him hacking. In between coughs he heard the hallway floorboards creak. They seemed to be saying sheiscomingsheiscoming.
“Gus?” her voice migrated through the hallway. “What’s going on?”
He managed to quell his hacking long enough to shout, “Don’t come in here!” before another fit seized him and he coughed uncontrollably. Tears welled in his eyes.
Doubled over and leaning on a sideboard, he swiveled. Jessica wasn’t in the kitchen yet, but he could feel her approaching; the floorboards were pressure points of his own body. He sensed her gentle footfalls out there through old oak slats. Clearing his throat, Gus struggled to rasp out another warning, but by the time he had recovered his voice, it was too late.
Abandoning his cane, he switched off the fan and rushed toward Jessica, grabbed her in his powerful arms and swung her around, careful to place most of his weight on his right ankle.
For a long time she wept against his bare chest. Then something switched inside her; Jessica pushed off from him and wiped her face. Her pink chamois bathrobe was open, revealing a white shirt. Nipples poked against the fabric in a way that confused Gus, given their present situation. He cinched the robe closed and tied the sash around her waist.
“It was that Caff monster, I know it,” Jessica declared.
Gus made to reassure her but she slapped him away. “No! It was him and you know it too.” She turned and marched toward the phone.
“What are you doing?”
“Calling the police, what do you think?” Jessica snapped. Her eyes flicked upward, looking at the spot beyond Gus’s shoulder, where her dog hung from the fan. “Oh God. Oh my God. I can’t believe this.”
“Jessica, we need to think hard about this.”
“What’s to think about?” Her voice bordered on the hysterical. “A madman enters our house and . . . and does something like that, you call the police. End of story.” She showed him her back, picked up the receiver and dialed.
Gus rubbed his face. This was bad. How in the world could this have happened?