This is an email from Stone Cold Crime Stories, a newsletter by Stone Cold Crime Stories.

Where Do You Stand in the Fight of Good Vs Evil?

The moral impact of crime fiction and thrillers

Cover art by Ben Southgate, property of Don Simkovich and Lon Casler Bixby

Before I get too profound, I know that we all love a great story. We like a good story, but we all love a great story!

Stories that are memorable with likeable characters who have strength, courage and humor draw us to the page.

Can stories shape our thinking, even subconsciously? Perhaps so. When I started writing this, I immediately thought of the musical Oliver with all the pickpocketing and treachery. The story was so well done that I don’t need to draw a moral conclusion from any of it.

And author Lee Child has done a great job of memorializing Jack Reacher in the minds of loyal readers. He’s been that unsavory Savior — the imperfect hero.

As an author, or co-author in the Tom Stone Detective stories, we’ve had a few characters who are truly memorable to me.

In our most recent thriller novel release, Tom Stone: Subterfuge, I really connected with a man who comes from Baja California and is swept up in the terrors of smuggling drugs. Luis Delgado.

He has little power against the cartels that forced him and his son onto a narco-sub, but he has tremendous resolve.

Here’s a brief excerpt with little context — Delgado survives a tragic explosion but his son doesn’t. The body is recovered and Delgado is in the morgue with Detective Tom Stone and an interpreter to identify the remains:

Stone kept his mouth shut like he always did, even though anger

at the injustice boiled up inside. Delgado fell to his knees, made the sign

of the cross, and cried hard. Stone gave him plenty of time to let his

emotions loose. Delgado had recovered physically from the wounds

inflicted by his captors, but he’d carry the emotional scars of trauma

from losing his son for the rest of his life.

Once his tears were reduced to sniffles, Delgado stood again. “I

trust God will judge their souls.” He stared at the corpses and made a

bold declaration. “And may God grant me the power to strike terror in

the hearts of any who are still alive.” His jaw tightened and fists clenched.

Stone understood Delgado’s anger. They left the building and

headed to the Crown Vic where Stone got behind the wheel and Delgado

got in the back seat with Officer Guevara.

Delgado was outwardly quiet, but Stone knew his mind was

working hard.

He started the car and pulled into the street when he heard

Delgado muttering. “What’s he saying?”

Guevara responded. “I don’t know. Something about,

‘Vengeance is mine says the Lord.’”

“Tell him not to do anything stupid. The police will handle it.”

Guevara repeated what Stone said.

Delgado didn’t respond and stared out the window.

I like Luis Delgado. He doesn’t give up. I hope a little bit of him is found in me and in many of us as we strive for good.

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