Most people probably think of prisons as being pretty terrifying places. And, well, they can be. But they’re not necessarily the scariest things we can imagine.
I have a friend who, because of the nature of her job, spends a fair amount of time visiting prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, probation offices, police stations, and the like. Sometimes she even has to go to the coroner’s office. She doesn’t mind. I’ve been with her on a couple of these visits and she’s completely calm. But tell her there’s a snake in the room and she’ll run away screaming.
A lot of my students work in various correctional facilities. I remember one student several years ago, a really big guy who spent his free time at the gym. He was a deputy sheriff who worked at the county jail. But on the day he had to give a presentation in front of the class, he spent a good half-hour beforehand in the bathroom, throwing up. Speaking in front of forty fellow students scared him more than facing cells full of inmates.
And I’ve spent some time in prisons, too. No, not like that. I got to go home at the end of the day. I’ve had lunch in a federal maximum security prison (turkey burgers) and in a Croatian prison (chocolate crepes for dessert). I’ve sat down across the table from a guy who’d spent the past ten years locked up and who, if he was very fortunate, would be released before AIDS debilitated him. But when I tried to go snorkeling in the bathtub-warm waters of the Florida Keys, I was too claustrophobic to keep my mask on, and I ended up staying in the boat instead.
In my new novella, Night Shift, Aiden Quinn has spent over half his life behind bars. He’s built up a lot of muscle and he knows how to stare down a threat. You know what makes his knees wobbly? Joining a book club.
Night Shift at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3683
Aside from a sympathetic parole officer, Aiden Finn is alone in the world. He knows this is his last chance—after a lifetime in and out of prison, one more mistake will land him there to stay. Unfortunately, his job as a night custodian at a motel is neither satisfying nor good for building his confidence, and booze and burglary are always just a step behind him.
Enter beautiful, exotic, and secretive Luka Gabor, the motel’s new security guard. He seems to know a great deal about literature, history, and travel but otherwise remains a mystery. Aiden has to admit, the sex has never been better, and he might even be feeling the beginnings of friendship. He dares to hope that this time, he won’t mess things up—if lurking monsters don’t ruin his plans.