Bear's Promise

Justice confronts greed as a trial attorney seeks retribution for the murders of his brother-in-law and nephew by a ruthless cop and a company that values profit over life.
Bears Promise by Doug Zipes

Melanie Simpson is desperate when she calls 911 for help controlling her psychotic husband, Jared.

When a dangerous and brutal police lieutenant responds, he shoots Jared with his electric gun, initiating cardiac arrest.

After their son seeks revenge, the police lieutenant kills him as well. A shocked and grieving Melanie asks family for help.

Now it is up to her brother, Jason “Bear” Judge, an ex-FBI agent turned trial attorney, to vindicate Melanie.

After he prosecutes Lieutenant Vincenzo Sparafucile for police brutality and the unscrupulous CEO of the electric gun company for failing to warn that his gun could kill, Bear narrowly escapes multiple attempts on his life.

As the trial begins, Bear’s legal clash with the police and the gun company becomes threatened when his dark history with the FBI surfaces and creates a riveting courtroom drama that culminates in a life-and-death battle between two determined men.

An energizing legal tale that shows the value of asking the right questions

“What elevates this novel by Zipes is his weaving in such timely topics as police brutality toward minorities and individuals who are unable to afford essential drugs. The author, a Harvard Medical School graduate, is a professor at the Indiana University Medical Center. His career lends authenticity to the medical details that are at the heart of this story. In addition, he has created a well-rounded protagonist in Bear, a skillful interrogator who is determined to do the right thing despite an earlier mistake that continues to haunt him. Other enjoyable characters include Bear’s flawed but loving wife, Kat, and his brilliant associate, Deroshay “Shay” Odinga. The acts of intimidation against Bear’s team by the defendants seem heavy-handed but Zipes makes sure readers know who the villains are.

The smooth narrative just flies along, both in and out of court. What results is a heady blend of legal thriller and social justice drama.”

Kirkus Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

This book pulls you in!

“This book pulls you into the pages and keeps you in suspense all the way through. I was spellbound by the details of this story, starting with the opening series of tragedies that really make you feel like you are there watching it unfold. The details of the characters bring them to life and the story will at times bring you to tears. The author is a physician, so the medical details are so accurate, but so are the legal scenes. I actually enjoyed the courtroom portions the most. The ending has multiple surprises that you will not see coming. A truly enjoyable read that anyone would enjoy.”

Amazon Review

5.0 out of 5 stars

A rare legal thriller that really thrills!

“So-called “legal thrillers” are a dime a dozen and, more often than not, fail to thrill at all. Trust me, this one does! Written by an author who has literally lived the courtroom scenes he so artfully depicts, it’s a real page-turner! So, turn off the t.v., send the kids to a friend’s house, order a pizza, and plan to stay in because you won’t want to put this book down!”

Amazon Review

5.0 out of 5 stars

Zipes does it again – better than ever

“A lawyer with something to hide. A policeman with dirt on his hands. A company that markets a potentially lethal weapon. Zipes marries these elements using his prodigious knowledge of medicine, an impressive knowledge of the law, and his ever advancing skills as an author. The result is a nail biter that keeps the reader guessing and reading. Kudos are warranted for the author.”

Amazon Review

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Nailbiter!!

“Dr Zipes’ fiction books are not dull. I have enjoyed them all. Bear’s Promise was on my mind whether I was reading it or planning to read it later in the day.. The twists and turns of characters and events were very surprising. It was a compelling tale he told , and I shall be waiting for his next book.”

Amazon Review

Preview from Chapter One

As Melanie watched helplessly, Jared, his gaze unfocused and brow wrinkled in confusion, lurched in front of the television set in the small living room. He looked fierce with a broad forehead and thick dark eyebrows and a face sooty with stubble from an unshaved beard. The red-striped golf shirt and jeans were wrinkled as if he’d slept in them. His wide stance blocked the children’s view of Sesame Street, and they began to whimper. Their soft snivels escalated as their eyes followed his hulking figure stagger about.

Jared’s knees bumped their tiny chairs, and his huge shoulders brushed finger paintings masking-taped to the blue-and-green-flowered wallpaper. The papers fluttered to the floor like large colorful snowflakes.

He pitched into a black wooden bookshelf standing in a corner, sending Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish tumbling, along with a midmorning snack of milk and chocolate chip cookies.

The four-year-olds ran for Melanie, their cries intensifying. They hugged her legs and buried teary faces in her yellow cotton apron as she dried drippy eyes and gave reassuring squeezes.

She knelt down on the blue shag rug to be with the children but kept her eyes fixed on him, worrying what he might do next, where he might walk, what he might bump into and knock over.

Small fingers entwined her hair, which was pulled into a keep-out-of-the-way ponytail. Gray roots had begun to replace the russet tint, like weeds reclaiming a garden. The Clairol bottle of hair coloring was dry, and so was the cash box.

“It’ll be okay, children. I’m here.” Melanie spread her arms to embrace them. Her eyes darted about the living room as she decided her next move. “I won’t let Jared hurt you. He’s just a little confused right now. Why don’t you go color a pretty picture for me while I help him?”

But they were too frightened to leave her side and whimpered and trembled like lost kittens. She needed to call their mothers to come and get them, but she was afraid to leave them alone. Jared wouldn’t harm them intentionally, but he could stumble over their little frames.

Jared returned to the television set and stared at the whimsical Sesame Street characters. The portable was perched on a rickety metal cart almost begging for destruction. Melanie had bought the Sony with a donation from a grateful single mom. The mom had switched to a higher-paying job after Melanie had made room in the day care center for her twin four-year-olds. She promised Melanie a microwave next paycheck. Melanie wished she had more angels like her. The day care center needed so many things.

Jared’s thick fingers thrummed on the bridge table in the middle of the room, brimming with Lego pieces. The children had spent many hours arranging them into a colorful community of houses, a school, a grocery store, and a school bus full of children.

Melanie wondered if he might take a swing at her. He’d never hit her before—hardly even raised his voice—but in his present confused state, there was no telling. She had to chance it for the children.

She tugged on his arm. “Jared, please leave this room,” she said. “You’re scaring the children. Let me take you back to bed.”

He wrenched free and shoved her away, her 130 pounds no match for his 220. His mouth opened, and his tongue protruded, but no words followed.

“At least let me wipe your face,” she said. She stood on her tiptoes and used a paper napkin to mop the rancid white foam trickling from his nose and mouth. It had a foul smell, like vinegar left overnight on the kitchen counter.

He slapped her hand away and stared at her with clouded eyes. “Who’re you?” he asked, the words slurred together. “Get outta my way.”

“It’s me. Your wife, Melanie. Remember?” she said.

No recognition showed on his face.

The morning’s three grand mal seizures—one after the other, until he fell unconscious—had robbed him of the ability to think, to remember, to reason, as it had once before, right after they were married. That first time, the postseizure psychotic state had lasted two days and had so frightened him that he’d not missed a single medication dose in the twenty-two years since.

Until two weeks earlier.

That’s when he got fired—downsized, the building contractor had told him. Their medical insurance stopped, and they could no longer afford the medication. The forty-five-dollar copays every ninety days had been bad enough, but without the insurance package, there was no way they’d come close to covering the drug cost.

She was now the sole breadwinner, and income from the day care center had to cover all their expenses. She’d pleaded with the pharmacist for more clonazepam, but he would give her only a two-day free sample—six two-milligram tablets that Jared had consumed more than a week ago.

She’d seen one of those pharma ads on TV that said, “If you cannot afford to buy our drug, we’re here to help.” What a load of garbage. She’d contacted the drug company, but they never responded.

Jared gaped at her, brows creased together in concentration. Then he shrugged and shook his head with a blank look. He elbowed her aside, his momentum making him sway and almost fall. He righted himself and stumbled toward the front door.

She ran after him and grabbed at a sleeve. Bed was the safest place for him, for all of them, until the psychosis wore off. She tried to block his steps, but he pushed her aside and went out.

A late-fall storm raged, and cool westerly September winds drove slanting spray into the room. She had to lean hard against the door to close it. The downpour mixed with hail sounded like muted gunshots on the window. Lightning flashed overhead, followed by a horrific rumbling that sent her scurrying from the door.

Through the window, she watched Jared pause on the porch, then shuffle out into the storm.

With the children safe inside, her fear shifted to Jared. Their small house in Hopperville, just outside Indianapolis, was a stone’s throw from a busy four-lane highway where cars raced by, oblivious to the torrents obscuring visibility.

What if he wandered into traffic? He could be killed. She had to stop him.

She dialed 911.

“Ma, who you calling?” Ryan asked, rubbing his eyes as he walked into the room. He was a high school senior, six feet tall, broad shouldered like his dad and muscular from the football team’s weight lifting program. Purdue, Notre Dame, and Indiana had offered him football scholarships, and he was in the middle of deciding. The football concussion that had caused his father’s seizures didn’t dissuade Ryan a bit.

“Helmets are a lot better now,” he’d said. “And they have concussion rules.”

As an eighteen-year-old, he figured he’d live forever. She remembered the feeling. Life was so simple then. Going to school, going to parties, having parents and an older brother to protect her. Life now seemed so … so heavy, so complicated. She had no idea how she’d deal with Jared’s illness. How she’d pay for the medicine he needed to prevent a recurrence.

“I thought you were sleeping,” Melanie said. “An upset stomach, you told me. Isn’t that why you stayed home from school? Or was it really the physics exam?”

“I’m feeling better. Where’s Dad?” Ryan asked.

“Walked outside.”

“In this storm? That’s crazy.”

“The seizures came back,” she said. “He’s not thinking clearly.”

“Want me to go get him?” Ryan asked, heading toward the door.

“No,” she said, holding up her hand. “I called the police. They should be here any minute. Go check on the kids. They’re upset. Your dad frightened them.”

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All of Doug Zipes books are available to buy online from Amazon as well as at Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.