A Possible Screenplay? Maybe. A New Excerpt–Absolutely

A handful of potential suitors have showed some interest in turning Psychic Reprieve into a screenplay.  If and when an offer actually materializes, I will pass along the details.

Over the past two months, I have been contacted by about two-dozen readers who have purchased and read Psychic Reprieve.  It is important for authors to receive feedback from their audience.  Knowing that people have busy lives, I do appreciate the time taken to critique the novel.

It seems that younger readers, especially those who live on Milwaukee’s eastside or are alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, enjoyed Chapter Five, entitled, “Jokers to the Rite.” For your enjoyment, I have released an additional excerpt from this chapter.  The scene involves a hazing prank pulled by three individuals on the Milwaukee State baseball team in an attempt to produce the team’s funniest video.  In this segment of the chapter, a drone is used to frighten a member of the public.  The scene occurs near E. North and N. Humboldt Avenues.

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From:      Psychic Reprieve

By:          Mitchell Nevin

Chapter Five: Jokers to the Rite

With just four days left before the MSU baseball team headed south, outfielders Jake Patterson, Jeremy Brietlow and Ian Rourke had plans of their own. Breitlow’s girlfriend, Rachel Dunning, borrowed a Hammacher Schlemmer 9-1/2 foot remote-controlled bald eagle, from her father, who was conveniently out of state on business.  The drone was controlled by a Gimbal-powered engine and propeller. A handheld transmitter enabled the user to command the bald eagle lookalike from a distance of over 300 yards away.  The concept was simple: find an unsuspecting person walking alone in an urban environment, have the large bird hover near them, and then video the person’s response.

The team set-up a state-of-the-art digital video camera, also procured from Dunning’s father, inside Rourke’s dilapidated Ford Windstar. The van was parked facing southbound in front of a home that Patterson rented in the 2200 block of N. Humboldt Ave.  Inside the van with Rourke, Breitlow would manipulate the eagle from the front passenger’s seat.  Patterson—stationed inside a beat-up bread truck he had borrowed from his uncle under the guise of retrieving a couch from a nearby thrift store—stood-by in the parking lot of a grocery store a block to the south. Inside was the 9-1/2 foot drone. On cue, Patterson would open the bread truck’s rear compartment skylight and release the eagle.

Even with the temperature nearing 40 degrees—considered balmy for the 10th of February—foot traffic in the area was minimal. Just before noon, however, the crew caught a break.  An older black man dressed in a filthy plaid work shirt and blue-jean overalls pushed a large shopping cart up the inclined sidewalk on the west side of Humboldt Avenue. The man, known throughout Patterson’s neighborhood as ‘Grady,’ eked-out an existence as a scrapper, scavenging through recycling bins and garbage receptacles in search of aluminum, copper, and used athletic equipment.

Jeremy Breitlow called Patterson’s cell phone.  “Okay, Jake, I think we’ve got one.”

“Yeah,” added Patterson, “that’s Grady. He’s the neighborhood junk guy. Do you want me to deploy?”

“Release the eagle,” said Brietlow, whose mannerisms mimicked those of a NASA flight engineer.

Patterson removed the skylight cover in the rear of the bread truck. He gently placed the drone on the roof and carefully spread the wings.  “Okay, ready for lift-off.”

Brietlow flipped a silver toggle switch to power the eagle’s electric motor. Using a plastic joy stick, he gradually took the drone airborne.

The prank’s target had stopped to rummage through a blue recycling bin just feet from the sidewalk.  Grady removed two aluminum cans, placed them on the cement, and crushed them with his right foot. He then spit a chunk of chewing tobacco to the ground, some of which clung to his shabby gray beard.  He then resumed pushing the shopping cart—filled with aluminum curtain rods, an older motor, a plastic bag of aluminum cans, and a sky blue bowling ball—towards the van occupied by Breitlow and Rourke.  Out of the corner of his eye, Grady spotted a large object in the sky.  He stopped, used his right hand to shield the sun from his eyes, and watched as it circled above.  That’s one big-ass bird, he thought to himself.

Brietlow then maneuvered the eagle directly above its target. Forty-feet off the ground, the eagle did a flip and gracefully rolled to one side. Grady was getting a little nervous. He began pushing the shopping cart up the hill noticeably faster. Breitlow turned the eagle slightly south, increased the height 20-feet, and took the drone into a dive.

Looking over his shoulder, the man with the shopping cart realized that he was under attack. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” he screamed. “Good God almighty!” To increase his chances of escaping, Grady let go of the shopping cart, which tipped over onto a small section of grass between the sidewalk and the street.  Brietlow once again sent the eagle upward as Grady dove headfirst to the ground covering his head with his arms.

Ian Rourke laughed hysterically.

With their attention and the video camera focused on Grady, the pranksters failed to notice that the bowling ball from the fallen shopping cart was now traveling down a hill southbound in the Humboldt Avenue roadway.  As a passing motorist used a horn to warn others, the blue bowling ball gathered momentum as it approached the bottom of the hill. A man in a candy-apple red BMW, turning left from E. Kane Place, never saw the fast moving object, which, after striking a lip in the road, went airborne, before slamming into the BMW’s front driver’s side door.

“Damn it,” Rourke shouted, “make that eagle go away!”

Breitlow steered the drone back to the bread truck, where Jake Patterson quickly grabbed the bird, slammed its wings together, and pulled the robot inside. After replacing the truck’s skylight, Patterson drove the van out of the parking lot northbound on to Humboldt Avenue.

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Sent to investigate a bowling ball versus car accident, Officer Felix Montes was skeptical, to say the least, of the statement given to him by the man whose actions allegedly caused the damage.

“Officer, I’m tellin’ ya the truth,” Grady insisted, as tears welled-up in his eyes.  “I was just mindin’ my own business, walkin’ down the street, pickin’ up junk, when all of a sudden, this big-ass bird came swoopin’ down out of the sky right at me!”

“And what did this ‘big-ass’ bird look like?” asked Montes.

“The wings, man, they had to be ten-feet long,” Grady pleaded.  “I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I’m thinkin’ it looked like one of them bald eagles.”

“Come on, man. How much have you had to drink? A bald eagle flying around the east side of Milwaukee? What’s next, Big Foot in Reservoir Park? ”

© Mitchell Nevin, Bloomington, MN, 2013.

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Psychic Reprieve is available now at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.  For more information, please visit www.authormitchellnevin.com

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The Colorful Characters of Law Enforcement and Beyond

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My new Web site, www.authormitchellnevin.com, is now up and running.  I have received some positive feedback about the graphics and links to The Cozen Protocol—an Amazon.com Breakthrough of the Year Award nominee—and my recently release sports related crime drama Psychic Reprieve.

Whether it is at a farmer’s market book signing or an informal setting, one question I am frequently asked is why I choose to dedicate months-and-months writing crime novels.  Having served in law enforcement capacity for parts of three decades, I have had an opportunity to work among some larger-than-life characters. These colorful individuals include the men and women who serve and protect, as well as those who I have had contact with.   Police officers and detectives who are successful at their jobs relate to people by walking a mile in their shoes. Often these shoes are worn by those from a variety of backgrounds.

In this online video, former Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Patrick Kennedy, who recently passed away, correctly points out that it is important for investigators to speak the language of the boardroom and the barroom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10eFZcSAER0

Known in MPD circles as the Big Kahuna, Kennedy left the department and spent a considerable amount of time in academia researching police officer decision making.

In Psychic Reprieve, I took a page from Pat Kennedy’s mantra of top-to- bottom communication skills by introducing three colorful characters that are fish out of water.  When individuals find themselves thrown together in challenging environments, they often operate outside their personal comfort zones regarding age, race, and geography. In many instances, they soon learn that while Americans are different their hopes and aspirations are somewhat similar.

So enjoy Psychic Reprieve, not just for the character development.  While writing this novel, I spent hours-and-hours researching psychic meanderings, high-tech government surveillance initiatives, criminal profiling and even traveled various locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa.  A retired detective recently told me that he had a conversation with an investigator who asked how I obtained specifics about sophisticated drone surveillance and warrantless sneak-and-peak searches of homes.  These descriptions, provided in the novel during an probe of international terrorism, apparently touched  a nerve.

As always, I appreciate any feedback whether it is good, bad, or indifferent from readers of my novels.  I can be reached at mitchellnevin@ymail.com or via my Web site.

Psychics Under Fire

Lemon PressSlate Magazine online recently ran an interesting article entitled, “Investigative Intuition: Do psychics ever solve crimes? Why do police consult them?”

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/05/psychic_sylvia_browne_said_amanda_berry_was_dead_why_do_police_consult_psychics.html

The gist of the article is that psychic phenomena is generally bunk.

“… taken as a whole,” Slate’s Brain Palmer writes, “psychics’ visions are true just as often as anyone else’s.”

In a piece for his former blog, retired Milwaukee PD homicide detective Steve Spingola explores the predictions of Arthur Price Roberts — a Brew City man with “strangle talents.”

http://sleuthwiththeproof.blogspot.com/2009/10/library-detective-goes-old-school.html

Since I am in the process of putting the finishing touches on my latest novel — one that delves into the world of psychic abilities — my guess is about .09 percent of some people experience premonitions. Some researchers believe these feelings are generated by the brain working a step or two ahead for the purposes of self-perseveration.

If you’ve had any experiences, good, bad or indifferent, regarding your contacts with those claiming to have psychic abilities, please feel free to comment or contact me at mitchellnevin@yamil.com
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Mitchell Nevin is an author and law enforcement veteran. His first book, The Cozen Protocol, was an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award nominee. His second novel is set for release in August 2013.

© Mitchell Nevin, Bloomington, MN 2013