In college I was dating this really great guy named Justin... or was it Jake? Hmmm - could have been a Jason. Anyway, I thought he was the man of my dreams, the man I would marry. Then one day I borrowed his car to run some errands and noticed I was being followed by some guys in an unmarked patrol car. When I stopped at the little convenient store to pick up a snack... they approached me, showed me some identification, told me it would be in my best interest to return the car to my boyfriend as soon as possible, and return to my own apartment. I think I was home a little more than two hours when I learned that Justin, Jake, or Jason was busted for selling drugs on campus, and that I had been running errands in a car with a few pounds of marijuana in it, some drug money... and "other" things. Well, those were the rumors, anyway.
Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time I made the wrong decision with regards to the dating scene. Shortly after high school I dated this guy named... it doesn't matter what his name was. What does matter is he set up a plan to steal a cool fifty grand from another drug guy in town... and to cover it up he had an individual claim to find it in a paper bag in the middle of the road. His idea was to turn it into the police and wait- knowing that after it sat for a certain amount of time "unclaimed" he would get it back. According to the rumors, he did. And when we broke up shortly after this "incident" some people made it perfectly clear what would happen to me if I said anything.
A few slashed tires later... I found myself moving back home to Oregon where I prepared for that lovely eighteen month mission I served in Vegas. Good times... good times. But I've always wondered if Sh... that guy I dated after high school was ever ratted on. Did his group of drug dealing friends turn him over to the other guy 'cause they didn't get their "share" of the funds? I wonder how long the money lasted? Did he buy something cool, or did he use it to purchase more drugs in order to turn a profit? Better yet... I wonder if he ever worries about his past biting him in the butt now that he's older? Is he even still alive? Hmmm...
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that we all have a past. And you just never know when your past, or the past of someone you know... will make an appearance in your life.
Such is the case with Jake Reese, a handsome university professor that left his gangster-living past behind and made a new life with his beautiful, art dealing wife, Diane, in Already Gone by John Rector. Life seems pretty much perfect for Jake until two guys attack him outside a bar, rough him up, and chop off his ring finger. Devastated by the loss of his wedding ring, Jake spends some serious time contemplating his past and the person, or persons that might be out seeking revenge. Then, just when Jake is about to write this all off as a random act of violence, his finger, with the wedding ring still attached, shows up in the mail... with a message attached? A few days later his wife goes missing, and Jake finds himself identifying her body in the morgue after she's been mysteriously killed in a "car accident." Still not sure what part of his past is sneaking up on him, and wanting answers that he's unable to find on his own, Jake enlists the help of his father-figure, mobster-friend, Gabby.
In this story you'll read about Jake's past, his father's past, Gabby's past, and the jaw-dropping past of Jake's wife, Diane. I'm just happy to report that the Jake in this story isn't the Jake, Justin, or Jason I remember from my past. Yeah, the past doesn't just bite a few butts in this page turning novel- it riddles most of them with bullet holes, and leaves one lonely soul... drifting out to sea.
John Rector is a prize winning short story writer and author of the novels THE COLD KISS (optioned for a feature film now in development), and THE GROVE. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska. You can read more about him on his blog HERE.