Welcome to my new blog. It will be a hodgepodge of sense and senses. The senses will include pictures, videos, recipes and the odd political rant that makes sense to me. It will include excerpts from my new novel, "The Straw Buyer", a work still in progress, that you will be able to comment on, along with all the other entries. I will try to make it diverse enough to keep you coming back.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Page 1 of "The Straw Buyer"

Here is the beginning of a murder mystery that takes place in Sarasota, Florida, in the spring of 2006, when the housing boom began to bust. It took an explosive mixture of greed and corruption to bring our economy to its knees.
Here is the beginning; there is much more to come...

Sarasota, Florida – April, 2006

“It’s simple, really. All you have to do is get the mortgage, I take it over from you and hand you ten grand. Then you walk away with the cash. That’s it. End of story.” Derek Friedman leaned forward with both arms on the table, pushing his Scotch aside.
“If it’s that simple, why don’t you do it yourself?” asked Jeff Ames, as he pulled his beer away defensively.
“’Cause I’m a broker. I need a 100% mortgage on this place and the bank won’t give it to a broker. You act as the buyer, that’s all. I do this all the time.”
“Well, I dunno,” said Ames, shaking his head slowly, shifting his large frame in the booth and pulling at the visor of his faded red Black & Decker cap with oily looking finger stains on its brim. He picked up his beer and took a sip, staring into the dark eyes of Friedman. He was breathing heavily from the strain of supporting his obese body.
Friedman returned the stare, shifting his look from one eye to the other, like a tiger might assess its prey. “With the way property values are going up, the banks are tripping over themselves to lend people money. You’ve got a job – hell, they’ll beg you to take their money.”
“What’s in it for you?”
“I’ll rent the place for enough to cover the mortgage and by this time next year it’ll be worth an extra fifty grand. All the baby boomers want to come down here and retire.  There’s a huge market for this kind of property. I’ll sell it and stick forty G’s in my pocket.”
“Is this legal?”
“Legal, schmegal. No one really cares.” Friedman raised both hands for emphasis and scowled.   “The bank isn’t even on the hook for the money. They sell the damned mortgages to someone else.”
Ames thought about the Ram Charger he had seen at Sarasota Motors. That big black beast gave him a hard-on. Ten grand would go a long way towards bringing the price down. Hell, he’d get it with leather seats. He said, “What do I gotta do?”
“It’s easy. I set everything up, do the paper work, pay for the appraisal, the works. All you do is sign the papers at the bank. When we close the deal, I take over the mortgage and you’re free and clear.”
The waitress suddenly appeared at their booth and asked, “You fellows want anything else, something to eat?”
Friedman waved her away without breaking eye contact with Ames.
Ames looked up at the waitress, “Yeah, hang on a sec. I’ll have a couple of cheeseburgers and some fries. You got onion rings?”
“We got them,” she replied, with an air of masked disdain, as if smelling something bad, she noted the order on her pad.
“Get me another beer, too.”
“You, sir?” she looked at Friedman.
“No, no. Go on. We’re talking business here.”
She turned and walked away. Ames watched her from behind. “Nice ass,” he said.
“Yeah, well, what do you think about my deal?”
“Lemme sleep on it, okay?”
“Don’t sleep too long. This deal won’t last. This is a really hot property and someone else is going to come along and snatch it up. I’ve been in this business twenty years and deals like this don’t come along every day.”


  1. Off to a good start . . . can I get in on this deal? How do these guys know each other? Must have gone to high school together.

  2. As before Philip, very good. Looking forward to more.