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Nobody by Creston Mapes

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Nobody
by Creston Mapes

Reviewed by Cheryl Russell

"[Mapes] ratchets up the suspense with each page."

One bad decision by a reporter may send him to prison for a murder he didn't commit.

He's just another bum. No one cares. I'll be doing his family a favor by searching his pockets to find some ID. With those thoughts, Hudson Ambrose, reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, pilfers through the pockets of the murdered man. At work, he'd heard the call on the scanner about a potential shooting at the Civic Center North Bus stop. Since he'd finished the obits and crime beat from the night shift, he headed out. Hudson arrived at the bus stop long before the police, giving him enough time to act on the thoughts that would set his nightmare in motion.

It isn't until he's rifling through the man's last pocket that he hits paydirt. He's trying to jerk whatever it is out when his hand gets stuck. Sirens wail from the south. He can't leave; his prints are on whatever is wedged inside. He can't stay and risk getting caught by the LVPD tampering with a crime scene, either. As blue police lights appear on the horizon, he's caught in a macabre tug of war with a body that refuses to relinquish its secrets.

A desperate tug and he's free, with a tattered bankbook in his hand. He checks the balance. It's a hefty six figure sum—large enough to render Hudson incapable of forward momentum. The sirens grow louder, snapping Hudson out of his stupor. As he turns to run, a small key falls into the puddle of blood at the man's feet. He snatches it up and runs for his car, nauseated by both the blood that sticks to his hand and by the fact he has just stolen from a bum.

At home, he determines the key belongs to a safe-deposit box. Morning finds him at the bank, searching for the container that goes with the key. One small turn and he hits the mother lode again. Once more, he makes a foolish choice that will put his own future in jeopardy.

All of the nefarious activity makes Hudson antsy. Even though he knows he needs to work the night shift, he can't sleep. When he calls the paper to see if anything has come in on the murder, he isn't ready for the answer. A quick call to a police contact leads to the same reply. There isn't any record for a murdered homeless man. A quick drive past the bus stop shows business as usual. No crime scene tape. No police investigating the scene. A closer inspection shows no signs of blood. The coroner returns Hudson's earlier call. He doesn’t have a body that fits the homeless man's description.

When he returns home, he realizes the contents of the safe deposit box and the checkbook are gone. Someone else knows about Hudson's finds and his poor choices and uses them to frame him for murder. As the evidence mounts against him, Hudson's future rests on the choice of a stranger. Will he stay silent and remain free or step forward and face a prison sentence of his own?

Nobody is Creston Mapes' (author of The Rock Star Chronicles) latest novel. Written in first person, the story unfolds through the eyes of several different characters, each adding their own layer to the book. Greed and its consequences, selfless love for society's rejects, and the struggle to forgive are strong themes throughout this book. He ratchets up the suspense with each page and left this reader wondering if justice would prevail in the end.

Cheryl Russell lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. Her short stories, as well as a few articles, have been published in print and online. She's loved to read for as long as she can remember and puts all that time to good use writing book reviews for Infuze, Novel Reviews, and Title Trakk. She's also a member of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, FIRST network, Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's currently working on her first novel. If she could, she'd spend her time hanging out in the thermal areas of Yellowstone in general, Norris Geyser Basin in particular. Another favorite spot is Kennicott, an old copper mining town in Wrangel-St. Elias National Park, Alaska, which is at the end of a 60 mile dirt road, 8 hours west of Anchorage. She and her family are frequent hikers in the national parks, and have pounded the dirt trails in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. You can visit her at her blog, Unseen Worlds or at her website.