Coming of Age / Thriller
Date Published: April 27, 2023
Publisher: MindStir Media
"I realize that saying, The Devil Won't Keep Us Apart, Shane Clark's gritty novel about friendship and revenge is masterfully paced and suspenseful to the upmost degree sounds like the usual promotional B.S...but honestly, people, this book kept me reading way past my bedtime, and I don't find many that can do that these days. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next."
Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff, The Heavenly Table, and The Devil All The Time
Some vendettas can never be forgotten...
When Sherman Rehabilitation Center suffers its first murder in decades, authorities race to find a motive as the media swarms. The brutality is unprecedented, even in a prison setting. One week later, eighty-seven-year-old Elmer Ray walks into the local Ohio Highway Patrol Post, claiming he has the answers. First, they need to hear about the two most interesting people in the world: Adrian Franklin and Conner Wallace.
Adrian Franklin, the young neighbor of Elmer Ray, lived a troubled life of neglect and abuse. He had a bad haircut and a worst nickname. The older man tries to take the boy under his wing in a way no one else has ever done. For Adrian, most see a quick temper and lost soul. Elmer sees something different in him, a sense of loyalty and a yearning to be loved.
Conner Wallace, a British National, a drifter on a motorcycle, and a pugilist with a quick wit, roamed the west and lived by an unbreakable moral code that got him in more trouble than he bargained for. After a five-year bit in a Nevada prison, he finds a safe haven in the underground fight scene on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
What does a young boy and foreigner have to do with a brutal prison murder in the sleepy town of Sherman, Ohio? Only Elmer Ray knows the answers. And he isn't giving them until the Post Commander hears how their lives converge with an Appalachian drug dealer, a sexual predator, and a mob boss to influence the brutality in that prison cell.
The Devil Won't Keep Us Apart is a shocking and raw account combining a coming-of-age tale with a disturbing psychological thriller.
READ EXCERPT BELOW
About the Author
Shane T Clark hails from Chillicothe, Ohio, where he lives with his wife and four kids. He played football at Ohio State University, including in the 1997 Rose Bowl. He earned a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree before being employed by the State of Ohio for the past twenty-four years, and he also has taught Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Deviant Behavior courses as an adjunct professor for ten years.
An avid reader and traveler, he hopes to live in a van and travel nonstop around the country when he retires. The Devil Won't Keep Us Apart is his first novel with at least two more on the way.
Excerpt from "The Devil Won't Keep Us Apart"
Blood oozes out from under the prison cell door slowly, methodically, and purposefully, like it has a predetermined destination in mind. Below, on the first tier, two correctional officers lounge, oblivious to the actions above. The first officer is at the computer screen, using the light to study notecards. Today, he brought thirty-one. He is in his second semester of nursing school and is working third shift. Seven hours into his shift, he has memorized twenty-nine. Six months removed from the academy, he has grown quite proficient at studying while listening to inmates sleep, pass gas, and snore. The second officer reclines in a chair with one boot over the other. He is forty minutes into a deep sleep, dreaming of lotto numbers, mansions, and Swedish maids, Babette and Inga. He is the senior officer.
The first officer reads over his thirtieth card and notices the time. He fists the thigh of his partner. “It’s four forty-eight.” He hears him stir, adds, “It’s count time.”
Sleepy croaks back, “I got it,” moans, and stretches his arms. He comes down hard on both feet and lets out a whine and stands up. He yawns and sticks out his hand. “Keys?”
The first officer unclips the keys, extends them, and returns to his cards. Sleepy flips the flashlight on and starts his round on the right-hand side of the range. He draws close to the door and squints through the window. When he sees two bodies breathing, he pushes on, continues, and crosses over to the other side. When he reaches the desk, he says, “All good,” and heads toward the stairs. Swipes away a bead of sleep from an eye and lumbers up.
Hears his partner call out, “Are you counting?”
He squints down and says, “Huh?” When he receives an annoyed grin, Sleepy says, “What time is it?”
“Told you it was almost five.”
“Oh,” Sleepy says and continues. His eyes seesaw between cells as he counts the condemned. He gets to the end of the range with a count of sixteen and crosses to the other side. Eighteen . . . twenty . . . twenty-two . . . twen- . . . “Oh, shit!” he yells as his feet slip, and he lands on his back. He fishes for the light with his right hand. His left goes to the back of his head.
He hears the steps below, a voice calls out, “You okay?”
“Yeah,” he says as he struggles to pull his head off the concrete. He gathers the flashlight and notices blood on his palm. Light on his hand. He follows the blood under the cell door and stands up, and peers over the rail. “Call help!”
“What is it?”
“Just call,” he says and gropes for his keys. Come on. Come on. The darkness, adrenaline, and fear of the unknown hinder his depth perception. He unclips the keys, shines the light on the door, and keys the lock.
Before he turns it, he hears the rookie say, “What are you doing?”
He grits his teeth at the rookie jogging toward him, airs a fist, and grinds out, “Can’t you see the fucking blood?” When the rookie looks down at the pool under their feet, Sleepy adds, “We are only standing in it.”
“Don’t open the door,” the rookie says and slows to a tiptoe. “Someone might have a weapon.”
“Did you call for help?”
He leaves the keys hanging and hands the radio to the rookie. “Call for assistance and go wait by the door.”
The rookie is flustered. He stomps around and stutters, “Is someone dead?” Rips at his hair. “Are you going . . . we’re dead. Didn’t I tell you I heard some screaming earlier?”
“You didn’t hear the screaming?” His voice ricochets down range, fills the air.