Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Win or Go Home (Dr. Rick Parker, Bounty hunter) by Daniel Clarke Smith

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Dr. Rick Parker became a bounty hunter when his personal and professional lives imploded and now it seems that his new position is in jeopardy. He has one chance to redeem himself: find Michael Norton, a bail fugitive who stole the plans for a revolutionary new pharmaceutical. Besides the money there is the allure of Norton’s attractive wife Samantha, who seems to have her eyes on Parker, regardless of whether he finds her husband. In order to claim the prize, Parker has to negotiate a passage teeming with obstacles: a hard boiled ex-cop, an influenza outbreak and the mysterious mind of Norton’s autistic savant daughter. Beset by betrayal and double crosses, he needs to search within himself for the resources to prevail.

Bio: I wanted to write since childhood, but there were some obstacles: career, family, other hobbies. As I approached the end of my fifth decade I managed to make space for a writing career while continuing to work full time as a physician. I’ve been blessed with a supportive family and a work ethic that doesn’t let me give up on anything I start. I live in Minnesota, which is a nice place in spite of the harsh climate.


Angel wanted him to have two guns. Redundancy. Backup. He picked the smaller of the two, a five shot, hammerless Smith & Wesson .38 that weighed only 15 ounces. The quintessential snub-nosed private eye weapon. Only he wasn’t a private eye. He had no idea what he was doing. The sun had dropped below the mountains on the other side ofPuget Sound and in the twilight he felt less secure than ever. He walked up a slight grade, checking the buildings for the pair matching Samantha’s description. Two large apartment buildings almost, but not quite, opposite. Both had parking lots behind gates underneath the superstructure, which fit. The one the right. Avalon. A name associated with the legend of King Arthur, not a seedy romance.

He checked for names on the mailboxes. Miles wasn’t listed. There was only one name: “Curtis-Caretaker” next to Apartment 3. He pushed on the bell and waited. In a minute, the speaker gave a squawk and a rough voice barked, “Who is it?”

“My name is Parker. I work for Rainier Bail Recovery. I’m looking for someone who used to live here. Jonathan Miles.”

“Bounty hunter, huh?” Static crackled and the next few words were garbled. “…people here all the time. I have no idea what he’s done, but he ain’t here.”

“Not good enough.” Parker got out the warrant for Norton’s arrest. He tried a bluff. “I don’t need your permission if I have reasonable cause to believe he’s on the premises. I just wanted to save you the trouble of having to fix this door after I kick it in.”

“The cops know you’re here?” said the voice.

“They not only know I’m here, there’s a squad car parked in the street,” said Parker.

The lock buzzed in answer and Parker entered. The interior had poor lighting so he proceeded slowly. The odor of rancid garbage permeated the air and worsened as he advanced. Parker imagined Samantha crossing her personal Rubicon to infidelity. Did the funky smell add to the burden of guilt or make it all the more of a temptation?

Up ahead, the caretaker waited in the doorway of his apartment, holding a can of soda and smoking. “Help ya with something?” He was reed thin with a shaved head and so many tattoos on his arms he looked like a smurf. “You don’t look like no bounty hunter.” Parker had stuck the .38 in his waistband. He unbuttoned his jacket and made sure it opened far enough to show the pistol grip. The caretaker stood still. “Appearances are deceiving,” said Parker. “They call you the caretaker? What for? This place smells like a rat’s ass.”

Interview with Daniel Clarke Smith

What will readers like about your book? 
I think they will appreciate Parker’s struggles as he tries to solve a mystery with inadequate information and skills he must learn as he works. Everybody has been presented with a challenge that seems insurmountable. Character comes from daring to achieve in spite of the obstacles.

Why did you self-publish? 
Like a lot of other writers, I realized that landing a traditional contract in the current economic climate takes an inordinate amount of luck and is painfully slow. I’d rather have control over my destiny, even if I lack the legacy publishers’ seal of approval. I want readers to judge my creation, not a small group of people in Manhattan.

What is your writing process? 
I’m more of a seat of the pants type than a plotter. I have a general idea about the plot direction but it’s the characters who direct the flow of the story. From time to time I have to re-write segments but I accept that as a necessary evil. Overall, my writing benefits.

How long does it take you to write a first draft? 
I can get it done in around two months if I put my mind to it. I’ve never had to deal with writer’s block. Something always pops into my mind and I put it into words as soon as possible.

What inspired you to write this particular story? 
Bounty hunting is a uniquely American profession. They are independent contractors who work on the side of the law, doing what the police can’t always accomplish. I wanted to create a bounty hunter from the most unlikely source material: a medical professional. What is similar between bail recovery and medical diagnostic work is problem solving and a single minded determination to get there first.

1 comment:

  1. I have begun reading this one and am really enjoying it. Thanks for the interview!