A Work-in-Progress (Novel)
In Cold Spring, Robert Brand ‘takes off his mask’ after a decade of wandering incognito and returns to the city of Cold Spring. There, he meets a homeless woman and tells her his story of coming to the city, fresh out of college, to take a job at City Hall. At that time, Cold Spring’s controversial decision to offer I.D.s to undocumented immigrants—to give them access to bank accounts and other resources—has backfired, leading to an influx of ‘illegals,’ their supporters and detractors, and others, and thus to a fourfold increase in the city’s population. This development, in turn, leads to Cold Spring’s even more controversial decision to close its borders.
Brand’s position puts him in contact with movers and shakers at City Hall and with illegals, resisters, and contrarians of all stripes on the street. His zeal to help others and his inflated idea of his boundary-spanning skills set him up for manipulation by power brokers at City Hall and on the street, both. The citywide violence and destruction that follow a summer of blistering heat and intrigue can be laid, in part, at Brand’s feet. He flees Cold Spring and wanders the country for a decade.
His tale told, the homeless woman responds with her own. It includes Brand, and unexpectedly offers him a chance for redemption.