Excerpt: Falling Back to One by Randy Mason

About the Book:


Winner (First Novel) 2018 Next Generation Indie Book AwardsWrapped inside this gritty New York story laced with darkness and suspense is a most unexpected, richly layered tale of transformation and healing. When thirty-six-year-old Detective Sergeant James Baker finds himself at a dangerous crossroads―facing suspension or even the end of his career―he agrees, under great duress, to an unorthodox therapy: being the acting legal guardian of a convicted juvenile offender. Banished, like an outcast, to the high school where the teen will be a student, he’ll be overseeing security―far away from the general criminal element.
But seventeen-year-old Micki Reilly is not what he expected: she’s female, far more violent, and claims to have no memory of her past. Cynical, Baker is determined to be rid of her as quickly as possible while she, full of dreams of a new life, sees him as her only chance. Remaining together out of necessity, they battle each other on every level, the shrouded bridge between them rarely seen and often missed. But the stakes are far higher than what they first appear, leaving both lives in jeopardy―until a tragic decision finally rips away the veil.

Set against the backdrop of the 1970s, a time of pulsating change and social upheaval, Falling Back to One is the story of a man’s struggle for salvation and the fragile thread of hope he alone offers a severely abused child. With complex, sharply drawn characters that are flawed, human, and heartbreakingly real, an unusual relationship gradually unfolds, winding its way through unique twists and turns to an unforgettable conclusion.

Read an Excerpt:

Featured in April/May 2017 Issue: The Eighties


He pulled up short.

It was both super-real and dreamlike standing there under the dark, grey sky—cars intermittently whizzing past, headlights ghostly in the cold, misty air. Safe and warm inside their vehicles, the cars’ occupants were totally separated from the scene playing out on the shoulder.

He could feel the chill seeping into his open jacket. “Micki, you get back in that car right now.”


“Don’t you tell me ‘no’! You get back there right now!”

“Or what?”

They were about five yards apart, and he could see it in her eyes: she didn’t give a shit about anything. Reaching across his body, he pulled his service revolver out of its holster and aimed it at her with both hands. “Get back in that car,” he repeated.

She didn’t move.


Chin tilted up slightly, she said, “Or what? Y’gonna shoot me?”

The large gun steady in his grip, he sighted down the barrel. 

But her eyes were laughing at him. “So go ahead… Shoot.”

After a few seconds, when he did nothing, she snorted, turned, and started walking away.
He remained where he was, still pointing the revolver: a healthy, six-foot-six adult male holding a loaded gun on an underweight, five-foot-six teenaged girl. And he was powerless.

Weapon reholstered, he started after her, and she began to run. But he overtook and tackled her, twisting his body as he did so, taking the brunt of the fall on the edge of his back. Covered in snow, he rolled over, pinning her beneath him. She heard the ratcheting of the handcuffs as the cold metal closed around her wrists.

She laughed at him. “D’ya take those goddamn things with y’everywhere?”

He pulled her up by the back of her jacket collar.

Published by Rare Bird / Archer. © 2017 Randy Mason.
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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