Awaiting Identification (Paperback)

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Awaiting Identification is a brilliant mystery/crime story taking place on the streets of Detroit on Devil’s Night or Angel’s Night depending on what side of the law you prefer to dance on.  Immediately we are thrown into "NYC Girl’s" anxiety and worry about coming back to a place she never thought she would have to see again.  With few options left, she is just aiming for survival.  With child, NYC Girl has to be careful in this city that seems to always have the scent of fire on the wind. Should she haunt some of the old corners and clubs she used to frequent or should she try and see if her drug addicted mom will pity instead of spite her?  Will "Leaf Man" the DJ finally make it out of his seedy underworld?  Will the sonic waves of drum and bass be enough for him to finally retire? Or will he end up straying from his path, perhaps helping a young lady he meets on the train?  The young man, "R.I.P.," has made some poor decisions as a defense mechanism to keep him one step ahead in a city that could eat him alive. He must keep coming up with ways help cover the huge cost of his father’s medication that his uninsured family, living in disarray, affords by breaking the law.   Or will the nice samaritan with a suitcase full of vinyl be his savior?  "The Cat Man" seems to be at peace with the world just trying to spread a little joy to the down and out in a town that seems to be rejecting the people trying to survive there. After all, who doesn’t like a homeless man, with a kitten in his pocket that just wants to make friends with his fellow travelers in the world.  Then we have "the Zealot."  He seems to be everywhere.  Always warning people they must change their ways and get rid their sin.  He offends everyone he meets.  Why does he have those scars all over him?

I could not put this book down.  Roaming all over Detroit with these poor souls knowing their fate before the story even gets started is an insane roller coaster ride.  Each time you see an interaction through another character’s fate the story changes just a little more. I loved how you can love them when seen from one perspective, and how the next time you are disgusted with how the interaction turns out.  It reminds me of watching a scary movie and when the music begins to jump I can’t help but yell at the players to not go in the basement.  If you are looking for a great crime story set in the city of Detroit, please pick this one up.  It will have you laughing, crying, and cursing before you close the last page.

— From Alex


Five bodies, five intersecting storylines, five lives . . . each searching for hope and redemption

Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, Detroit, Michigan: October 31, 1999.

Five unidentified bodies lie in the Wayne County morgue on Halloween night. Although each character was on a separate journey, fate leads each of the five victims to cross paths on the streets of Detroit en route to their tragic demise.

Set against the backdrop of a Devil’s Night party at legendary Detroit concert venue and nightclub, Saint Andrew’s Hall, Awaiting Identification details the final night on earth for five lost souls.

NYC Girl: a former dancer arrives back home from New York City to make amends with her mother and begin to rebuild her life.

Leaf Man: a musician and part-time DJ is on the cusp of his big break with one final, unexpected drug deal to complete before he can go totally straight.

R.I.P.: a career criminal must come up with a large sum of money to pay for his father’s medical expenses, despite his yearning for a crime-free life.

The Zealot: a religious fanatic on a mission from God to rid the city of filth.

Cat Man: a kind and trusting homeless man wanders the city looking for new friends.

Like the city in which it takes place, Awaiting Identification is a story of hope, identity, and above all, redemption.

About the Author

R.J. Fox is an English and video production teacher who uses his own dream of making movies to inspire his students to follow their dreams. He has previously worked in public relations and as a journalist. He is the author of Love & Vodka. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Praise For…

“In a city that demands nuance, R.J. Fox treats Detroit with a surgeon’s precision. Each character’s story is a different side of the Motor City, each one as complex and multi-layered as the Motor City itself.”  —Aaron Foley, Chief Storyteller, City of Detroit, and author, How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass

“Elmore Leonard meets Donald Goines . . . a cinematic quality that is enhanced by fresh, spiky dialogue and literary cachet.”  —Herb Boyd, author, Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination

“Cinematic, lyrical, and unflinchingly raw . . . if you’re looking for a fresh new voice in fiction, R.J. Fox is the real deal.”  —Camille Pagán, bestselling author, Life and Other Near-Death Experiences

“The keen-for-a-brawl bastard child of Last Exit to Brooklyn.”  —Ian Thornton, author, The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms

“R.J. Fox is a master of dialogue—a sharpshooter who sends out blasts of words that never miss the mark. Awaiting Identification hits readers with the sights, sounds and smells of Detroit as five lost souls travel its streets in search of human connection. It is loud, bold and insightful: everything you want in a story that stays with you even after you have torn yourself away.”  —Karen Dybis, author, Secret Detroit: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure and The Witch of Delray, a true-crime murder mystery set in Depression-era Detroit

Awaiting Identification weaves the desperation and decimation of the city with the funk, resilience, and hard-luck histories of its too-often ignored inhabitants.”  —Lori Tucker-Sullivan, Detroit-based essayist

“A rich and suspenseful narrative that will keep the reader anxiously turning each page. Fox is a wonderful writer who truly knows Detroit and how to tell a damn fine tale.”  —M. L. Liebler, Award-Winning Detroit-Based Poet & Editor

“Fox paints a picture with words so vivid, you feel the cold and weary bleakness of the night and the warm glow of the approaching dawn.”  —Sean Deason, Matrix Records, Detroit

Product Details
ISBN: 9780989908764
ISBN-10: 0989908763
Publisher: Fish Out of Water Books
Publication Date: May 10th, 2018
Pages: 304
Language: English
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