Found by Jason Smith
Publisher: MaxQ Enterprises
Publication Date: May 13, 2015
Not all the good in the world is known - the same can be said for the bad. People, places and events that seem random, really aren't.
How are we to know whose lives will be affected, or destroyed? Will one wrong move make the difference? Will one bad decision end somebody's life?
No one knows what will be lost - or who will be Found.
Excerpt from Chapter One - ADRIFT
Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Joe Suggs received the alert just as he was thinking about stopping for coffee. It didn’t come from the normal radio dispatch, but from theunusual green box that sat on the passenger side seat. The low hum startled him as it hadn’t sounded off in a few months. It took him a couple of seconds to realize it was the box pulsing and not something coming from outside his vehicle. All thoughts of coffee went away.
He smiled and started to play with his mustache. He was back in. A flood of relief washed over him. He’d been afraid that whatever made it work was broken. He knew it didn’t run on batteries and he’d spent plenty of idle time thinking about how it operated, but it was beyond him.
The box itself was pretty simple. It resembled a recipe holder in size and design, complete with a clasp on the front that didn’t open; it wasn’t supposed to. Suggs knew, from experience, what he needed would be digitally displayed on the top of the little box. He confirmed what he needed to know, then removed his thumb from the clasp. The information disappeared.
He liked the electricity that came from moments like this; wondering what he was going to be asked to do. Suggs asked why he couldn’t just get a text to his cell phone. It was explained to him that they couldn’t risk him not receiving the message. What if your cell phone goes dead and you can’t charge it? What if your phone was off? What if your phone broke and you couldn’t get a new one for a few hours? There were a lot of what ifs. Timing was crucial and he had to be able to return the call within minutes.
Suggs pulled into a supermarket parking lot, to one side off the front entrance. The digital display, on the box, had shown a phone number. He had the number memorized, but he was told to always check first before calling, just in case. Suggs followed the routine exactly, every time, as he thought somehow they would know if he didn’t.
Just as he pulled a cell phone from his pocket, a man dressed in jeans and a Dodgers’ sweatshirt, whose original color was a mystery, moved past him and started sifting through a dumpster looking for returnables. Joe hit the siren for a quick whoop. The man jumped and turned to face him. He put his hands together in a praying gesture, backed away from the dumpster and headed around the corner of the building to the front of the store.
Suggs took in a deep breath. He pulled a small pad of paper and pen out of his shirt pocket. His 6’ 3” frame once looked good on a 200-pound body, but now he was closer to 250, so moving in tight quarters, with full police gear on, wasn’t his favorite thing in the world to do. Suggs flipped the phone open, but almost dropped it. He steadied himself before he typed in the number. He held the phone to his ear and tapped his pen on the pad as he waited to hear the familiar voice. After two rings, and a click, he heard a soft voice.
“Joseph, so marvelous for you to get back to us so soon,” the voice on the other end, named Simon, remarked. “I have a little assignment for you, but it has to happen now.” A sense of urgency ran throughout his voice. “It could be the most important thing you have done for us yet.”
Inspiration Behind the Novel
My wife Pam and I were driving home from a short vacation, which had to be sometime in 2007. I think we may have been in the desert outside of Los Angeles - I’m not sure. I was behind the wheel, which is rare, because any long-distance traveling we do in a car she drives. I’m about as useful with directions as I am with an ultrasound machine. She had her eyes closed attempting to nap in the passenger seat, while I deftly turned the middle air conditioner in the console towards me so I would have three of them blasting at my face in the afternoon heat. (She was sleeping, how was she ever going to find out?)
I don’t know how long I’d been driving, but my general impatience with music had me flipping stations pretty frequently. I’m one of those people who always think there’s a better song to be had somewhere else. I’m not the most die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan in the world, but I happened to hit 'Hungry Heart' just as it was starting.
“Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack. I went out for a ride and I never went baaaack…”
Hmm, I thought. What if someone actually did that. Just up and left their life for a new one? Started fresh wherever they wanted to go. If they had a wife, kids, a job, or all of those. Or none of those. You talk about an adventure without a safety net.
To be honest, I get ideas all the time. I’m a radio and TV personality, so a good portion of my job is trying to be creative five days a week. Some ideas I get work out. Some are just awful. A lot of them are just awful. And it’s not like this was the first time I’d heard that song, I’d probably come across it hundreds of times. So when I got this thought, I spent a few minutes daydreaming about what could happen to a person like that who wanted a life re-start and decided to say ’Screw it, I’m doing it.’ It was just really to pass the time, nothing more. But then I got another idea. And another.
The guy decided to do this on the worst day of his life.
The guy was being chased by the police after he did it.
The guy gets involved in something that’s way over his head.
Hey wait a second. This could be…a book.
After a few minutes my wife woke up, and I said, “Hey, I just had some thoughts these last few minutes.”
I relayed to her - in greater detail than I will do here to avoid any spoilers - what turned out to be the outline for the first third of what became ‘Found,’ my debut novel. I didn’t know it then, and in fact the whole thing might have just died right there - a temporary flight of brain exercise - had she not said to me “What if there were others like him?”
No sooner were those words out of her mouth than a switch went on in my head that was unable to be flipped back. I had to try to write this story.
I had never written anything more than a few hundred words - internet sports columns, mostly - so this would be juuuuuust a little bit more than that. Working at night (and before our daughter was born), I had my days free. Instead of playing ‘Guitar Hero’ for two hours or dozing on the couch watching daytime cable, I’d write. And if after a little bit of trying, if it didn’t work out? No one would know. The stakes were very low.
So I wrote. Soon I had eight pages, then fifteen. Then twenty-three. Then I was near forty. Then fifty. I remember fifty, because I had sort of unconsciously set that as the bar I wanted to reach before I re-assessed everything. I didn’t know if I even had anything worthwhile. I mean, I thought I did, but maybe it was all in my head. I needed feedback, so I had the person I trust the most in the world read it. When she got done, Pam asked me what came next. That’s when I first believed I could do it.
Would I have gotten on this road I’ve been traveling for the last seven years from concept to execution to publication if I didn’t hear Springsteen on the radio at that day, at that time, in that situation? I don’t know. Maybe. But maybe not. A lot of life is chance, which is what my main character finds out in ‘Found.' Lucky for me, he had already made his choice before the song came on his radio.
About the Author:
Jason Smith began his career in television production before becoming both a network TV and radio personality. He has spent the last dozen years with ESPN, the NFL Network, and Fox Sports Radio. He currently hosts "The Jason Smith Show", heard nights on FSR and iheart radio.
His other highlights include an Emmy Award for his work on 'Sportscenter,' marrying well, memorizing "Caddyshack" and the '86 Mets. And not necessarily in that order.
And he's glad Revis is back.
'Found' is his first novel.
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XNE9ISK