Thursday, December 4, 2014

1955 ~ Father Theo Riley never wanted to be a priest, nor a killer. The former boxing champion and Korean War veteran gave up more than a career when he went into the Army. He lostthe only thing he ever wanted: his love, Andréa Bouvre. Friends thought Theo entered the priesthood to mend his broken heart or atone for the massacred orphans he couldn’t save in Korea. 

However, the truth is much darker and more damning, tied to a blood debt and family secret that has haunted Theo since he was a boy. He drinks to forget he ever had a life of his own—waits for death, prays for mercy, and hopes for a miracle. He gets all three when a child goes missing, another shows up on his doorstep, and the love of his life drives back into his world; the seaside hamlet of Manzanita Oregon. 

Theo’s dream reunion with Andréa becomes a nightmare when a serial killer who considers himself a holy man targets the town and everyone Theo loves. Drinking days decidedly behind him, Theo and some old warriors set out to send evil back to hell and a few good souls to heaven in RETURN TO SENDER.

Used to think that in prison I’d at least be in good company: broken heroes, twisted knights, and righteous kings of the damned—the keepers of dark underworlds, that sort. But no!

In prison it’s mostly just a bunch of fools who did foolish things, guarded by other fools with guns 
who ultimately will do foolish things. Can’t suffer fools. There’s no excuse for ’em.

Just want out—out of this plaster hand cast, out of this cell, this prison, this puke green hell hole where one glance, one wrong word, one secretive tug can release an alchemy of hell on earth. 

Alchemy. That’s a good word; something his God would say. Still, hell on earth because, like I said, they’re all fools, and a foolish man doesn’t know to just shut the hell up and do his time, or bide time until he can get out, unnoticed, real quiet-like. 

Rain pelted against the tin shingles outside the unreachable window near the ceiling. That pinging sound and the absolute boredom got on my last nerve—needed a distraction. I squeezed my face between the corner bars to see the guard and shouted, “Rain, rain, rain! 
Frickin’ rain.” 

“Shut up, Hansel.” The fat guard with the moral fortitude of a hedgehog shouted back from the end of the corridor. He sat feet propped up on the desk, clipping his fingernails. Another sound I couldn’t abide.

Mindy Halleck is a Pacific Northwest author, blogger and writing instructor. Her short story,The Sound of Rain, which placed in the Writer’s Digest Literary Contest blossomed into her first novel Return to Sender. Halleck blogs at Literary Liaisons and is an active member of the Pacific Northwest writing community. In addition to being a writer, Halleck is a happily 
married, globe-trotting beachcomber, antiquer, gardener, proud grandma, and three-time cancer survivor.

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