Jobless Recovery

Sunday, October 2, 2011

#SampleSunday Get Real: A Jobless Recovery is like a Moneyless Paycheck

It didn't take long for the characters in my novel, Jobless Recovery, to figure out the government had engineered the economic downturn and was now lying to them about the recovery. 

Dave Griffin is a poster boy for the American consumer. He drives a blood-colored Behemoth model SUV, has a new home in the suburbs, a beautiful girlfriend, a computer programming job, and all the benefits that come with middle class life in America. Then Dave's employer replaces American computer programmers with cheaper imported labor in order to increase company profits. Soon Dave is out on the street. But he still believes in the system. All he has to do is bring the problem to the attention of the media and the people in Washington to get results. This move only deepens his trouble.
Meanwhile, Dave's friend Joe Tremaine, a former FBI agent who lost his job after suffering a head injury, is struggling to stay sane. Cynical Joe knows better than to trust anyone in Washington or in corporate America. He embroils Dave in his fraudulent money-making schemes, and when Joe decides to educate the powerful senator who has been the driving factor in eliminating American jobs, his plan goes awry. Can an unemployed computer jockey manage to keep Joe--and himself--out of jail? Or will the oddly-shaped bundle in the back of Joe's truck lead the cops to haul them both to the slammer?

What others are saying about Jobless Recovery: “Jobless Recovery will push all your buttons as it tells a story that is too close to reality for many of us. It was a real think piece for me and I recommend the book highly.”--Sandy Nathan, award-winning author of Numenon and former Economic Analyst, Santa Clara County, California

"A brutally honest look at corporate America's flaws and desperate people caught in the middle, Jobless Recovery is a masterful, gripping piece of fiction that rings true with every word. Candid, suspenseful and moving. Jobless Recovery was a very enjoyable read, one of the best novels I've read in a while. I think it would make an awesome movie." --Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author

A brief excerpt: 

Joe waited until the lone customer cleared the convenience store before he went in to steal cigarettes. The security camera only worked half the time, and the clerk, Howard Simms, always made sure that the down time coincided with Joe’s visits. Joe would give him some of the stolen cigarettes later.
Howard glanced up from his newspaper. He raised his right hand in a halfhearted salute and pried himself from behind the counter to lumber down the narrow aisle to the back, his stocky body moving with the deliberate slowness of a man who’d given up and placed himself on permanent autopilot.
When Howard, former software engineer and now day clerk at the Quick Buy, returned to his station a minute later, Joe had already snared a carton of Marlboros and shoved them under his jacket. He fingered a Snickers bar as if trying to decide whether he wanted to part with seventy-five cents. He finally tossed the Snickers down on the counter and watched it skid to a stop next to a Slim Jim rack.
“Still working, Howard?”
“I’m here, aren’t I? And glad to have a job. I’m buried under a stack of bills a mile high.” Howard jabbed the candy bar with his pudgy fingers. “That be all?”
Joe nodded. He paid with a handful of pennies and nickels that Howard didn’t bother to count.
He collected his Snickers and walked outside like any paying customer, holding his head up and pretending he had places to go. He limped across the parking lot and paused next to the rusting gas pumps to squint into the distance toward the center of town. There was too much haze for him to see, but he knew it was there. Normally the soaring Pyramid Building owned by Markham-Hook Conglomerate dominated Avalon’s skyline, poking heavenward to broadcast to everyone in North Carolina that Markham-Hook meant power. The building’s architect had won an award for the design, a tower with a pyramid forming the top five floors, which he said was inspired by the pyramid on the dollar bill. But Joe thought that from a distance the silver pyramid topped by a gold-colored metal sphere made the building look like a NASA rocket with a wad of chewing gum on top. He spat on the ground, just missing his left shoe.
He planned to go home and do his laundry, but there was no rush, there never was. He’d already washed the breakfast dishes, dried them, put them away, and swallowed his mental illness prevention pill this morning. He decided to reward himself for good behavior with a smoke or two.
Mental illness my ass, Joe thought, grimacing as he tripped over a bump in the sidewalk where tree roots had burst through the concrete. He was as sane as anyone. Saner, because at least he had sense enough to see what the politicians and their corporate campaign contributors were doing to the economy while the brain dead citizens of the country wondered where all the jobs went. 

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