Works in Progress
WORLD OF SHADOWS
Ali Melek helps people with problems: foreigners with visa troubles trying to find work, students who want to study abroad, families looking for runaway children, businesses trying to circumvent the bureaucratic maze of government restrictions. One day he’s asked by his older brother to help a Chinese lawyer from Shanghai find her missing younger sister who disappeared in Istanbul after answering an ad for work. Since he suspects the younger sister might be a victim of human trafficking, he enlists the aid of his dead father’s best friend, a retired smuggler named The Greek, to help him because he still has connections in the underworld. The Greek, who lives with Irina, a former Russian prostitute he rescued from the sex industry, out of familial loyalty reluctantly returns to the world he left behind and begins asking questions of members of the Russian, Turkish, and Kurdish gangs. Before it’s over, the loyalties of all the friendships and family ties will be severely tested and blood will flow.
The novel is not only a mystery about a search for a missing girl but also about the bonds within families (the Meleks, the Russian, Turkish, and Kurdish gangs) and among friends and lovers that hold people together but can, at times, drive them apart. It is ultimately about Ali discovering what has value in his relationships and about The Greek’s attempts to escape the sins of his past.
INTO THE SHADOWS
In the weeks following the attempted coup that rocked Turkey on July 15, 2016, Ali Melek is contacted by his former mentor, Güven Yildirim, from college who was until recently a dean at one of the Gülen Movement’s universities closed by the government in the crackdown. Fearing an imminent arrest and professing his innocence of any prior knowledge or support for the failed coup, Güven begs Ali to help him escape by smuggling him out of Turkey to a neighboring Central Asian country. Ali, unsure of how to proceed, asks The Greek for his help. Torn by loyalty to the Melek family and his dread of returning to the life he retired from as a smuggler, The Greek reluctantly begins the plans for the escape knowing full well he risks reprisals from the government as well as the traitorous allies he must depend on to ensure a successful smuggling operation.
OUT FROM THE SHADOWS
After completing a dangerous mission for Russian crime boss Ivan, The Greek is sent on a “vacation” to a remote island in the Aegean Sea until it is safe for him to return to the mainland. As a “reward” for his services, and to keep him company on the island, Ivan gives him Irina, a 16 year old sex slave from his stable. Though the sexual relationship Ivan had envisioned does not develop between the older Greek and the teenage prostitute, a friendship does which alters both their lives when The Greek decides to rescue her from her bondage. What follows is an odyssey of escape from one danger and a journey into emotional waters neither could have contemplated before his mission to save her began.
THE SOMETIME MAN
Two old friends nearing the winter of their years in a university town in Upstate New York must come to terms with their tenuous relationships with the women in their lives. Ted, a high school English teacher & part-time singer/songwriter, dreams of a life beyond this year in the Caribbean Islands playing his guitar in bars and soaking up the sun and surf while Joe, a writer more famous for his exploits than his books, tries to hang onto a last chance at a writer-in-residency job and what could possibly be the last love of his life and his one chance for salvation.