Hit and Run

by Dr Bob Rich


Cover design by Martine Jardin

   My 17th book is about to be published. Writers Exchange E-Publishing is working to release Hit and Run, which several of my beta readers have judged to be my best book yet.

   Alfredo Zotti is one of them. He was inspired to make some drawings based on his visualisations. All the drawings on this page are his work.

Synopsis
Read the first chapter
A few advance reviews
A free offer for you


Sylvia

 

Synopsis

   14 year old Chuck hates everybody; would blow up Earth if he could. So, he steals a car and seeks someone, anyone, to kill. He drives over 6 children and the crossing supervisor, narrowly missing 84 year old Sylvia.

   That night, there is a mysterious contact between them, which continues. Sylvia looks after Chuck's little brother, Tommy. Her drawings help the police to arrest him, but at the memorial service for the victims, she says, "Hate begets hate, vengeance only leads to vengeance, violence feeds on itself. Only love can stop the endless cycle. Only love can turn hate into love."

   His very name is an abusive joke against him, so she insists on calling him Charlie. But can she steer him toward a good life?

   Follow their journey together through many more crises, and good times too.


Chuck


Chapter 1

   "Good afternoon, Mrs. Kryz." The broad-shouldered, dark haired man held out his hand. "I'm Vlad Stavrou, the psychologist sent by Victims' Services."

   I invited him in, handing him a cup of tea and a plate of my latest baking set on the coffee table, as I waited for him to continue. I'd never dealt with a psychologist before, and didn't know what to expect.

   He took a sip, then put down his cup. "Just tell me about last Friday morning, please. Make me feel I was there, like I was you."

   And so I started my tale.

***

   The psychologist nodded with an understanding smile.

   The psychologist smiled at me, and finished off the last biscuit on his little plate.

   The psychologist sighed, and nodded in sympathy and agreement.


Advance reviews

Joe Zammit-Lucia
Alfredo Zotti
Florence Weinberg
Jan Sikes
Max Overton
Bob Selden
Yvonne Rowan
Wendy Laing
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Carolyn Harris
Margaret Goodman
Betty Gordon
Robert Eggleton

 

Margaret Goodman

   Dr. Bob Rich's novel, "Hit and Run" was so interesting that I could not put it down. I started reading it late in the evening, and, throwing common sense to the winds, stayed up all the night reading it.

   The story of redemption and of how love conquers hate was inspiring. Watching the language of Charles and Tommy go from containing many expletives to being more civilized and seeing how they learned and recovered from each relapse was worthwhile. And they were not the only people in the book to be rescued from hate.

   The book was refreshingly realistic about how people in authority, such as clergy, bureaucrats, and police, were a mixture of good and bad. It also showed how difficult it is to get through a bureaucracy, even when the intentions of everyone involved are blameless.

   Sylvia Kryz was a jewel of compassion who always had baked goods and a pot (jug?) of tea to share. This reviewer aspires to be so compassionate.

   Finally the book gave me a little insight into Australian life. Sadly the criminals are just as bad as in the United States. At least they don't have the easy access to guns that United States people do. In the States, Bruce would have had a gun.

Margaret Goodman, retired computer programmer in the United Sates, AKA Trumpistan.


Yvonne Rowan

   When an 84-year-old woman witnesses the vicious mowing down of six small children and their crossing supervisor and is nearly run over as well, she finds herself having to deal with strange "visitations" from the young murderer. The resulting relationship leads her on a journey of peaks and valleys that changes her entire community.

   Hit and Run is the well-told tale of the courage of a community, the wisdom of age, and the healing power of love. It will move you to tears as it moves you into the purpose of your true heart. Expect to be enlightened.


Florence Weinberg

   Dr. Bob Rich has produced, in Hit and Run, a deeply psychological work with paranormal aspects. His belief in reincarnation is also crucial to the plot, especially in the early phases. Dr. Rich portrays the influence of a crippled old lady on a young monster from the slums, Charlie Debnall, who had run over and killed six very young school children and their Street Crossing Guard, barely missing the old lady. She helps the police identify and capture the culprit, but then, rather than treating him with hatred and fear, old Sylvia begins to reform him, partly through their telepathic meetings, partly through the intervention of the wise psychologist, Dr. Vlad. Sylvia's influence permeates the entire community affected by Charlie's murderous act, until grief and loathing are turned into compassion and love. The community works together to redeem Charlie, and their efforts are wonderfully successful. The author assures us that such successes have happened -- are happening -- in the real world, and the reader is uplifted, knowing that, despite our usual cynicism, such rescues are possible. This book is a paean of praise to light in the darkness, to the power of love to conquer all. It is a call to go forth and do likewise.

Florence Weinberg is a retired professor of French and Spanish language and literature, specializing in the Renaissance, and a multi-award-winning writer of historical fiction. Many of her books have a crime or mystery theme. She is my ultimate authority on all things grammatical. We beta read each other's books.


Max Overton

   Most normal people feel horrified and sickened by a senseless crime, particularly one committed against defenceless children. The crime in Bob Rich's book Hit and Run is one such act of savagery and one that cries out for justice. Where this story differs from the usual crime and punishment tale, however, is in the thoughts and actions of one old lady who witnessed the deaths and came near to becoming a victim herself. Rather than give in to a desire for vengeance against the heartless perpetrator, she is moved to forgive the young man and try to understand his motivation.

   What follows is a startling account of what can happen when good people decide to show love instead of the all too easy desire for vengeance and retribution. Forgiveness is not an easy path to follow, and several members of the community are reluctant to show mercy to the young man who wantonly killed so many young children. It is a cliché that "no man is an island unto himself" but like it or not we are each of us alone in our thoughts and inner torments -- but what if we were not? Young Charlie Debnall, his character warped and twisted by horrific circumstances and a terrible upbringing, finds his 'island' connected by a causeway to the old lady he almost killed -- Sylvia Kryz. This connection opens up possibilities that he had never imagined and leads to him turning his life around and taking the first steps on the long road to becoming a worthwhile member of society.

   This is a simple story yet also a complex one with a wide array of characters on both sides of the ledger. Some people actively work against Charlie's rehabilitation; others refuse to even give him a chance, but a growing number believe in the possibility of change and it is heartening to see the gradual blossoming of a mind stunted by terrible circumstances. Hit and Run is a story of hope in a world where it sometimes seems as if civilisation is crumbling around us.

Max Overton was my first-ever editing client. His writing has soared since, and he has written several magnificent award-winners.


Joe Zammit-Lucia

   Some time ago I was walking in a park in Amsterdam. I came across a fantastical small sculpture. Below it was a sign that read "If you believe in magic, you will find it."

   It was uplifting. And that sign came to mind as I read Bob Rich's uplifting book. Using some of the magic realism style pioneered by Latin American authors such as Garcia Marques, Hit and Run seamlessly blends the magical with the real in a way that one doesn't know quite where one ends and the other starts.

   The book shows a remarkable faith in the essential goodness of human nature. With love, kindness, patience, cleverness and a belief in the possible, Sylvia Kryz manages to find and bring to the fore the essential goodness of kids like Chuck (the mass murderer) and his brother Thomas whom many had given up as hopeless criminals. She manages to delve into the hearts of the victims' families to find compassion where there only seemed to be a desire for vengeance.

   In a world where violence is a fact of life and where the mantra that 'the only protection from gun violence is more guns' has become commonplace, Hit and Run offers an alternative prescription. It is a book that provides hope that there is another way. Finding that way will not be easy. As the book clearly shows, our whole bureaucratic system is designed to meet violence with violence and to assume only the worst about people. But this book motivates us all to try in our own little way.

Dr Joe Zammit-Lucia calls himself "The Intersectionist:"

   "Previously a physician, entrepreneur and consultant to senior management. Now a leadership advisor, artist, author and commentator. Intersectionist -- working at the intersection of disciplines on organizational success, resilience and sustainability in our chaotic postmodern world and unpredictable socio-political-environmental situations. I am, irritatingly, a compulsive contrarian, taking seriously Lyotard's idea of finding ways to resist the complacent certainties of the expert.

   His latest book is The Death of Liberal Democracy? with David Boyle, a powerful analysis of politics.


Carolyn Harris

   It is indeed a rare event for me to read a book twice in a row... third time just doesn't happen, but in this case the rule was broken.

   Hit and Run is a book full of meaning and valuable insights into living a fuller life, but even without those, it's a bloody good yarn! The people are so clearly depicted, you can see them, they move, they have feelings and ideas, agonies and pain, love and courage. The story line goes along smoothly and quickly with never a dull moment, never a loss of plot or a fault in the planning of the events. There is no pulling back, there is language and violence and no pretty pictures glossing over the tragic images, but there are wonderful moments, emotional moments that one can't help but recognize and feel.

   It is a momentous story of courage and strength from everyone involved and a story of healing that goes way beyond the norm, and yet makes such total cool sense.

   Bypass this novel and you will have missed an open door, one you should walk through.

Writing as Rosamond Carter, Carolyn is an old comrade in sharing caring. She has been internet mother for thousands of women affected by breast cancer, and has often used hypnosis to help resolve trauma, sometimes by facilitating past life recalls. I have benefited from this service of hers. I have edited all of her books.


Alfredo Zotti

   Originally I was going to write a detailed and long review of Bob Rich's book Hit and Run, but decided against this for the reason that it is better to present my understanding of the important messages of the book in a broader sense.

   I could not put the book down once I started to read it. What caught my interest and curiosity was the presentation of human nature, in all of its forms and qualities, through characters that are very real to life, as are their stories.

   This book is the best work that I have read of Bob Rich. The message is simple: forgiveness, kindness, mutual support and understanding, among many other good qualities, are the key to a better social world.

   This book shows, in very realistic terms, how it is always possible to help the hardest criminal to become a better person, to abandon her or his cruel ways, which spring mostly from traumatic early experiences. Criminal behavior is often a response to early negative life experiences. There are many important messages in this book, not least the fact that older people are valuable members of society and that their wisdom often leads to a better understanding of problems and events.

   I feel that this book is of the level of great novels. I am very proud of being Bob's friend and I feel that this book deserves to be read by all people. It is a story that tells us much about life and from which we can all learn.

   There is no doubting my mind that there is a bit of "Charlie" in all of us and that with wisdom, humility, and hard work, we can overcome the many existential challenges that we face each day. We should remember that many older people can show us the way towards a better understanding of life and in this sense deserve much more respect than we currently offer them in our still primitive world.

Alfredo Zotti's main passion is to fight stigma against disadvantaged people, particularly those lumbered with a diagnosis of a mental disorder. He and I have collaborated on many projects, and I've edited all his books. He is also a talented musician and artist.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson

   I was hooked from the moment the old woman began telling her story to the psychologist who had been assigned to her case. Though still shaken, there wasn't a hint of dementia in her demeanor and then there was the lovely coincidence that she might draw a mug shot of this criminal she had just encountered -- a talent she was apparently born with that had served her well over the years -- and a hint of Aussie exuberance that comes through in her voice.

   Honestly, Mrs. Kryz's story [Hit and Run] gave me chills that mounted in the first chapter that includes a surreal dream of the criminal she has just fingered, his face much like Cheshire cat coming to her in the night, and a hint that all may not be as it seems. It turns out Mrs. Kryz has other talents of which she seems comfortably unaware. She may become my favorite literary character and yours, too. This may become your favorite cross between a literary and paranormal driven novel. It certainly is mine! I have never seen a hook more perfectly crafted.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning novelist and poet and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension's world-renown Writers' Program for nearly a decade. Learn more about all her books at her Amazon profile.


Jan Sikes

   Is it possible for a hell-bent teenager to turn himself around?

   In this story, we see a drug crazed, typical inner city youth, tired of being alive at the age of fourteen. He is angry at the world and determined to take a lot of innocent people out with him. When Charlie Debnall drives an out of control car into a group of elementary school children as they attempt to cross the street, it unleashes a chain of events which eventually lead to total and complete transformation from the inside out. Not only are school children and the crossing supervisor brutally murdered, but aging Sylvia Kraz, also attempting to cross the street with the aid of her wheelie walker, narrowly misses her demise at the hands of Charlie.

   Sylvia gets a good glimpse of Charlie's face, making eye contact, as he speeds by leaving carnage in his wake. With her uncanny artistic abilities, she sketches his face then experiences Charlie appearing to her in her bedroom through mental telepathy. Her drawing of his face leads to his arrest and yet the visits continue. Sylvia's psychologist assists her in working through her traumatic brush with death and guides her into a past life regression which establishes her connection to Charlie. When Sylvia agrees to help look after Charlie's little brother, Tommy, a bond of trust is formed.

   Over the course of the story, we see a collage of characters all woven together with one goal in mind and that is to help Charlie and his little brother, Tommy, break the pattern of abuse and learn to be good decent humans. What they don't realize is that they are all growing and learning in the process of helping the boys.

   This is a touching story which brings to light paranormal activity and past life connections and how those connections continue to weave through each lifetime.

   A fascinating read, that keeps you turning one page after the other, and holding your breath when Charlie "stuffs up", as he calls it.

   This is a great story with a message of hope and inspiration. Love wins.

I edited all the books in Jan Sikes' award-winning series honouring the life of her husband Rick Sikes, a Texan musician of note, who was falsely imprisoned. This fictionalised account is excellent reading.


Wendy Laing

   Hit and Run is an absorbing psychological story about a boy killer, with the added touch of paranormal. The book is told from the point of view of an old lady, Sylvia Kryz, who narrowly missed being killed by Charlie (aka Chuck) Debnall, when children and the 'lollypop' lady at the crossing were hit and killed by Charlie in a stolen car.

   It is also an intriguing tale of the power of love and forgiveness versus the power of hate and evil. Sylvia's paranormal contact with Charlie begins an influential and eventually close relationship with the troubled teenager. The families of Charlie's victims learn to forgive and actually assist her to help Charlie, whilst he is on bail before his court hearing for murder. Her tale involves the assistance of Dr Vlad, a psychologist, to help Charles. Can they all help Charlie to reform, or will he succumb to the way he was brought up -- to "Hit and Run"?

   A fascinating read!

Wendy Laing is the author of 9 books, with 3 more soon to be published. The latest book, Tarmac Tales, was co-authored with her husband, Dave, who sadly passed away recently. She is published in varied genres including crime, mystery/paranormal, humour, children's books, and poetry, and has a Masters degree with a thesis on electronic & digital publication of creative writing.


Robert Eggleton

   Uplifting and Empowering. Hit and Run is an interesting and uplifting story written in a simple declarative style that's well-suited to the imaginary diary of a most unlikely spiritual leader. Without understanding the paranormal phenomenon, Sylvia, the elderly hero, communicates with pure hatred by employing unconditional love, thereby defeating the evil that had infected a community of vengeful victims.

   The first scene is powerful and could possibly trigger a reader's moral anger, but as the author implements sound psychological practice true to his profession, reader anger subsides and surprisingly leads to empathy. This story does a great job of using fiction to speak truth about intergenerational violence and its hopeful remediation.

   At first, I found the modification of profanity true to the colloquial voice of some characters objectionable. I suppose that the technique was used to tone down violation of comfort zones, especially the "F Word." I got used to it and read the profanity as was intended by the characters. No biggie.

   While reading, I found some of the back story needless, but after I let the story digest for a couple of days I realized that I was engaged and wanted to know what would happen next in the story, perhaps in too big of a hurry. The back stories did contribute to how each character processed hatred toward acceptance -- examples of individualized barriers to pursuits of happiness. This is not an action packed, pure escapist novel and does require processing time after reading it to achieve maximum impact. And, that seems to be the overall purpose -- impact on one's thinking about love and hate, a psychological treatment plan for those who need it the most -- everybody. Thanks.

   I recommend Hit and Run as a perfect read for those stuck in skepticism and negativity, and who are willing to invest a little time to work toward inner peace. As such, I give it five stars.

Robert Eggleton works with traumatised children in an impoverished location. His science fiction/fantasy Rarity from the Hollow naturally deals with such issues, but with the same kind of humour as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


Bob Selden

   I loved this novel Hit & Run. It's well written with the right amount of twists and turns to keep the reader interested till the end. The story entails an 84-year-old grandmother, Sylvia, who through her wisdom (and a bit of supernatural help) turns around the attitude of a young mass murderer, Chuck (or Charles as he becomes).

   Written by psychologist Dr. Bob Rich, the story enables him to provide positive personal change models through the voice of Sylvia as she 'contacts' Charles and assists many other people from the time of the murders through to Charles' final sentencing. I liked how these messages were done in a simple way that people can use themselves, clear of perhaps the scientific or psychological language of the original research. Very clever.

   There are only three, what I would call overt learning points -- how to handle mistakes, how to be an assertive communicator, and relapse prevention (from changing an old habit or addiction). These are all given as sage advice from the Psychologist in the story, Dr. Vlad. The many remaining learning points are cunningly conveyed through Sylvia's dialogue.

   An entertaining and cleverly designed learning tool for anyone who may be considering a change in their life. A good read with an ingenious plot. 5 stars.

Bob Selden is a guide on how to use words to improve your life. This is the theme of his nonfiction book, Don't: How using the right words will change your life.


Betty Gordon

   Hit and Run is a moving story that opens with a devastating accident that takes the lives of six children, all under the age of seven, and a school crossing supervisor. The closest witness to the accident is an elderly woman, Sylvia Kryz, whose life was spared due to her inability to keep up with the children. Mrs. Kryz describes the horrors of the devastation not only by words but with sketches that help the police identify the perpetrator of this crime. The author, Dr. Bob Rich, paints vivid descriptions that will capture readers and fill them with enormous sympathies for the families.

   This tale of compassion examines human feelings of grief, despair, hope, love, hate and forgiveness. Sylvia Kryz, affectionately known as "the old duck" or "Aunt Sylvia," is the instrument for creating understanding of a young man, 14 years of age, who committed the despicable crime and who has known nothing but abuse and hatred in his world, a world filled with violence.

   After Aunt Sylvia reaches out to the families who lost children, the reader sees resistance and acceptance that eventually lead to an understanding of the young man, Chuck, who has a background of no education and no understanding of what true love means. The only affection he has experienced is for a younger brother. Their bond is strong.

   Aunt Sylvia makes a supernatural connection with Chuck that allows her to see his emotional state as the story progresses.

   This novel demonstrates that so much can be accomplished with love, understanding, and perseverance. It is timely and a great read.

Betty Gordon writes entertaining crime fiction. She searches for common threads within her own life to fold into her mystery novels and short stories. Find out more about Betty's novels and short stories at her website.


A free offer for you

   Until Hit and Run is listed on Amazon, I am seeking advance reviews, and am happy to email you a free copy of this book, in exchange for your honest opinion. Please send me an email if you are interested, and please spread the word.

Bob Rich's writing site  Bob Rich's blog  Psychology site  Conservation site