Gem from the Books of Dusk
“Gem from the Books of Dusk”
From the corrupt streets of Palm City to the barren wilderness of the Mojave, a drifter and a refugee from the future fight for their lives against an unspeakable terror from the end of time.
“Gem from the Books of Dusk” is a pulp-fueled mashup of a modern noir western and urban fantasy. Best described as Mickey Spillane meets William Hope Hodgson.
The book will be a hybrid of prose and graphic novel formats. Text weaved between double-page spreads and spot illustrations.
In another America
It’s 98 degrees and midnight in Palm City. You could say the good times left Palm City a long time ago, but I don’t know if it ever had one—maybe it’s always been a sea of mean asphalt in the middle of the desert. A half-century of dust is baked into its streets, graffiti covers the walls, and when night falls, the coyotes come scavenging.
It’s down-and-out except for the Jail. Incarceration is a growth industry, and the Palm City Jail is a first-class rat trap, shiny and new. It’s downtown at 7th and Main, next to the dowdy old courthouse, in a weird pride-of-place location. What does it say if your finest public building is a jail?
The community’s commitment can be seen in the landscaping. There’s grass out front, tall palm trees at each corner of the building. Even if that foliage is half-dead due to the drought and water restrictions, it shows the taxpayer’s dedication to law and order.
City jails, especially in the sticks, are usually Cracker Jack boxes. In Palm City, it’s one of those rare hi-tech lockups, six stories high, no windows, cameras, security checkpoints, no way-in-or-out except through the electronically locked steel doors at ground level. It’s as close to a super-max as any jail can get. It broods over this town, a faceless gray monolith, a message to the transient population, the poor, the migrants, the drifters: stay in line.
This Jail, the fortress-like Main Sheriff’s Station out along the highway, the substations scattered throughout the county are all part of Sheriff Don Carstairs’s personal, political fiefdom. The Sheriff works both ends of the law. Zero-tolerance for the slightest infraction keeps the work farm full while running all the prostitution, gambling, and drug trade.
On the Palm City Jail’s top floor is the AD-SEG Unit, where the Sheriff houses his most violent offenders.
I’m one of them.
I know everything about this place, been studying it for the past two months as they shuttle me between the courthouse and this cell.
My name is John Starrett.
I’m going to be…