One early beta reader said “Fractured Dreams reads like Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child venture out on a conspiratorial road trip in an RV with John Sandford, Lee Child and Dean Koontz!
Kate and Geo Janis hide in plain sight to avoid a bullet to the brain.
Geo learns to ask the dead for advice, some of which is quite good—when forthcoming, that is. But his most daunting challenge? Culling out which conspiracies are real, and which are conjured by the traumatic brain injury he manages with some success.
As a military veteran, a former business executive who retired early, a best-selling author, and now a notorious podcaster, Geo fights the same battle every minute of every day. But nights are far worse. No more so than in the blast furnace of the Arizona desert.
Eight years ago, pulling a trigger to take a human life in the tropics altered Geo’s mind. At the same time, a near-lethal blow to the base of his skull changed his body.
Janis awakens swinging at Kate with clenched fists and hates himself for it. And he pretends arthritis causes his back pain, his limp, and the headaches.
Now he and his wife fear discovery by the Patriot Brotherhood—a death sentence. But there is more at stake than their safety: National Security.
Regardless, friends in high places need his help—again—to defeat the Brotherhood and to defend democracy. He will serve once more, the risks be damned.
Targeted Age Group:: 35-95
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
“Fractured Dreams” is the second book in my Dream Runners series.
The first, “Dangerous Dreams,” is now available in ebook and paperback editions worldwide at all online retailers.
They say the most fascinating characters and their stories originate from real-world experience, and those in “Fractured Dreams” are no exception.
By living for a few weeks to a few months in each of over forty of the United States in the last four years, Kay and I have met and made friends with so many amazing people or heard preposterous stories told by others.
Those stories just begged to become the genesis of “Fractured Dreams,” plus story lines evolved from the first book: gritty interpersonal relationships, large-scale intrigue, political conspirators attempting a palace coup within the White House, assassins foiled by underdogs, conflict with undertones of sexual and political tension, deep-rooted friendships between unlikely characters, and flawed players seeking redemption. What's not to be inspired?
In this book, people and their stories from within the deep Arizona desert to the guttered streets of Washington DC blend in an unexpected continuum of mysterious thrills and psychological twists.
That is the soul of “Fractured Dreams.”
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Have you ever heard of anyone living in the bed of a pickup truck who mines antique bottles by digging underneath the sites of nineteenth-century outhouses in the Pacific Northwestern US, and who considers himself a "forensic archaeologist?"
Or how about a widow who lives in the deep desert in a Ford Focus with a 3×3-foot tent that doubles as her outhouse and solar shower?
I met an extraordinary flute player who performs at a mountain casino above Tucson who tames rowdy tourists with his naked native charm and crafts his flutes from the stalks of desert plants like agave and yucca.
And carried over from "Dangerous Dreams," a personal real-world friend and physician who retired from the US Intelligence community continues to serve as my silent mentor from beyond the grave.
I just couldn’t have infused that sort of authentic inspiration into my writing just sitting at a computer in Southwest Florida.
Dozens of the people we've met in our travels or heard about from others sitting outside the motorhome with a drink in our hands have inspired the nuanced and often flawed characters in Fractured Dreams, and in Dangerous Dreams before that.
BLACK ROCK, ARIZONA
A straight line isn’t always short.
The next ten seconds changed everything, and changed nothing. Too often in his life Geo Janis measured the distance between joy and terror in precious seconds. He was about to measure that distance at least once more.
Before he picked up Kate’s surprise birthday pie at the tiny bakery in the eclectic desert town a half-hour away, he read the first of two text messages. His phone’s screen lit the car’s dark interior with a vague vision of his violent past overtaking him.
Eyes wide and bright, head thrust forward, the chords in his neck bulged and pulsed. He scanned the second text that appeared seconds later. Bile rose in his throat. He tossed his iPhone onto the empty passenger seat, his face a mask of horror. A violent U-turn aimed him back toward the campground, the late-night pie now forgotten.
Geo blasted through the few stop signs and a single traffic light in the village of Quartzsite in Southwest Arizona. He merged onto Interstate-10 East with reckless abandon.
“Get out of the way!”
Left-lane dwellers gorged him with irrational anger. The campground, still fifteen miles ahead, wasn’t getting farther away, was it? Worse than that dream of wading toward safety in waist-deep molasses while being chased by a monster…
Flashing lights appeared in his mirrors. A glance at the dash of his tiny four-cylinder Toyota surprised him. He wondered how much this ticket might cost—ninety in a seventy. Then he realized he didn’t care. In fact, an Arizona State Trooper might back him for what could happen next.
Ten minutes later, Geo rocketed onto desolate two-lane US 60 East toward Desert Wells with the trooper still in tow. He struggled to make sense of a jigsaw puzzle of events years in the making as he raced toward danger, maybe even death. Those two single-word texts brought the chaos back into his life he thought he escaped light-years earlier.
Always the adult in the room, Kate warned Geo not long after they assumed their new identities. She predicted their past would overtake them some day. Said she was okay with that. Geo drew from Kate’s strength these days.
Their friend, Doctor F Samuel Braxton and his friend, the retired senior statesman John W. Stevens, protected them—for services rendered to the United States of America.
Geo feared more for Kate’s safety than for his own. He needed to reach her before they did.
Jeez, God, what if…?
He’d made his choice eight years earlier when his country needed him. But he never envisioned life without Kate. Not after fifty years of marriage.
Geo braked hard at the last moment to avoid colliding with the only other vehicle in front of him, a dusty pickup that flashed across his headlight beams as it entered from a ranch road ahead. The truck belched out a black cloud of diesel smoke as the driver accelerated hard to escape collision from the rear.
Speeding up again, Geo’s tires protested as he fish-tailed on loose gravel scattered on the asphalt. He passed the panicked kids in the truck, still pacing the Arizona Trooper behind him.
This ticket will cost more. Ninety-five in a fifty-five.
Why did the idea of traffic violations keep annoying him? Maybe because he wasn’t used to breaking the law. He sneered in hapless defiance, then in perplexity as the trooper passed him. His blue and red rooftop light bar and taillights disappeared in the wind-blown dust over a rise a half-mile ahead.
Eight miles later Geo drifted sideways into the gravel entrance to the obscure Black Rock Campground on his left. He hoped no children played in his path. Not likely. Not at this time of night. Just retired desert dwellers out here anyway.
A piece of him perished as he saw the ocean of flashing red and blue lights surrounding the bus he and Kate called home.
“Oh, God, no!”
A fit-and-trim trooper stood in his way, maybe even the one who passed him, pumping his palms downward in front of him toward Geo. The little red Toyota’s front bumper dived to a stop within inches of the trooper’s legs. The guy’s instincts backed him up an unsteady step or two.
His palms descended to his hips, elbows akimbo. Even though it was dark, with the lights all around, Geo could see his glare. He was livid. And something else.
But that was irrelevant. Their motorhome and attached trailer were still a hundred yards ahead. Didn’t this guy understand? He needed to get to his high school sweetheart, to his soul mate, to the woman without whom he was adrift—lost.
Kate trusted her husband because she dared trust no one else. Not neighbors, not cops, only him. And her first text to him was their private 911 signal: "brotherhood." But it was the second that made him swallow his rising bile: "RUN!"
Geo realized he was about to say something he’d regret but didn’t care, could not care. His sweaty palms gripped either side of the padded steering wheel—now sopping wet—pushing, then pulling, to the wheel’s breaking point.
His jaw hurt. He was gritting his teeth so hard a few had chipped. Realized he’d been doing so since he’d received Kate’s two texts twenty-two minutes ago. Nothing since!
He even contemplated running down the trooper to get to her. But no.
Fit-and-Trim marched with purpose toward his window. A general malevolent demeanor hung on him like a shroud, and the heel of his right hand rested on the butt of his sidearm in its holster high on his hip. In a smooth and almost invisible practiced motion, he unsnapped the weapon’s retainer loop with his right thumb.
With slitted eyes, he said, “Window.”
Tinted red and blue in the ambience of reflected emergency lights, his gold badge glinted at Geo, taunted him.
Aside from an acute case of clear coat peeling off like skin cancer, his eleven-year-old Yaris featured no other options, not even electric windows. He found it impossible to keep eye contact with the menacing trooper while leaning down and forward to reach the window crank with his left hand.
* * *
“Freeze! Do not move!”
That weapon no longer remained holstered.
Geo complied, although now perplexity layered onto his fear and anger. It was all becoming too much to process. From his hunched-over position, he couldn’t see two more troopers running to support their brother-in-arms.
One of them threw open Geo’s driver-side door so hard it tried to bounce back. Stopped it with his hip. Pressed down on the back of Geo’s head until his back hurt. The other dragged him from the car, head and shoulders and arms first, which made it impossible for Geo to keep his feet and legs under him.
On the ground, he felt rough hands jostling every part of him. He screamed, “I live here! I gotta get to my wife!”
He could taste musty desert dust in his mouth while gasping face down. It tasted gray and gritty. Had he not been near delirious with fear for Kate, his germaphobic nature would compel him to fret over the fungi likely present in that dust. Now in his throat, in his nostrils, in his lungs. In his mind.
“Turn him over.”
He looked up, straight into the blinding beam of a law-enforcement-strength flashlight and maybe the business end of a few gun barrels. He wasn’t sure. Of anything. Not any more.
“Pick him up.”
On his feet, strong hands gripped each of his arms, then released them. Geo raised his hands high without being told, but clenched his fists against white-knuckle fear, anger, and now rage.
“What the Hell?”
“Sir, state your name and your business here.”
He noticed the original trooper held his open wallet.
Geo’s voice projected but quavered. “My name is Lee Randle. That motorhome and trailer over there belong to me and my wife Charlotte. Now will someone please say something relevant?”
Trooper Fit-and-Trim’s voice and demeanor softened as he handed over the wallet. His next words changed Geo’s life forever.
“Sir, your wife is dead. Murdered.”
Geo took a few moments of squinting to process the words. After torturing himself with this new reality, because he sensed the truth of it, even as his mind ran away from it, his head jutted forward. A feral sneer sculpted his face. Geo spit a guttering scream toward the trooper, his voice gathering volume and a fever pitch as the words tumbled out, each progressively louder and higher than the last.
“No. You’re lying! Why would you lie to me like that?”
He fought off the trooper’s now gentle hands, determined to get to the only person who understood him, who awakened his deadened passion after… He needed to… He shook, trembled. Melted. Strong hands held him on his uncaring feet.
Then, something even more inconceivable happened. In a smooth motion, Trooper Fit-and-Trim raised his service weapon, aimed it at Geo’s right eye less than an inch distant, and fired.
Geo dropped into a welcoming black velvet abyss. Didn’t even have time to wonder if Kate had suffered. So why were the trooper’s gentle hands still jarring him as he once again lay there in that fungus-ridden dirt? Was this Limbo? Or Purgatory? Or another attempt to finish the job as he descended into Hell’s deepest pit of despair?
The shaking continued as he writhed in remembered pain.
“Sweetheart, it’s just one of those dreams again. Wake up, Geo. A bad dream. That’s all.”
The fear remained. Not only in the dream. Kate was a saint.
She put up with this.
But for how long?
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy Fractured Dreams On Amazon
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.