Name: Tom Navratil
Twitter Handle: @TomNavratilism
Title: REDEMPTION BAY
Genre: Adult Upmarket Suspense
Word Count: 81,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
…with his own remorse. Vincent Lucius is groping for a way forward despite being responsible for the demise of his younger child. His instincts are to seek closure and do what is in his power to help others. He does not seek relief from his own pain; only a miracle could accomplish that.
In REDEMPTION BAY, an African-American diplomat searching for the remains of his son in chaotic post-Castro Cuba learns the child may still be alive.
Vincent Lucius gets recalled to Washington after losing his seven-year-old in a windsurfing accident off Cuba's north coast. Numb with grief and guilt, with his marriage fraying and his older son refusing to believe his little brother is dead, Vincent finagles a solo assignment back to strife-torn Cuba. His day job is attempting to prevent the outbreak of civil war. At night he haunts the morgues.
In trying to protect and help the people of the Cuban hinterlands, Vincent starts coming back to life. When a real estate mogul bulldozes a shantytown to make way for a golf course, Vincent organizes a coalition of rebels and soldiers to rebuild it. But the U.S. ambassador banishes him for disregarding embassy priorities. Disgraced and defeated, Vincent is about to board the flight home when he hears of a boy resembling his son who drifted alive onto a remote barrier island.
At the risk of snapping the last bonds with his wife and getting bounced from the foreign service, Vincent sets off to pursue this murky hope across Cuba's dangerous terrain. The real estate mogul, tipped off by an informant, seeks leverage and revenge by dispatching his goons to snatch the boy. Whether he is Vincent’s son or not, the child’s fate hinges on who finds him first.
Vincent Lucius juked and weaved his way through the stragglers in the vaulted archway of the stadium’s main entrance. The U.S. embassy in Havana placed various restrictions on its staff, on top of those imposed by the Castro government. But nowhere did it say you couldn’t catch a ballgame on a Friday afternoon in June. Especially at El Gran, Cuba’s premier baseball cathedral. Inside, Vincent sprinted up the cement steps to the stands.
Bursting into the sunshine, he took in the emerald green of the outfield, the alignment of the opposing players, the music and chanting of the fans, the smoky smell of chicharrónes. He would have chuckled at the notion that a door was closing behind him, that his backside would never again warm the government-issue swivel chair from which his navy blue blazer hung like funeral bunting.
In the row directly behind the first base dugout, Vincent located his companions, a pair of officials from the Cuban foreign ministry. He nodded a greeting as he sank deep into the adjacent seat, aware that his height and athleticism, on top of his skin color, could make some men uncomfortable. He extended his right leg into the aisle and returned his attention to the field. On the mound, the pitcher fingered the ball behind his back. At the plate, Havana’s shortstop loosened and tightened his grip on the bat.
Vincent tilted to his left and said, “He’s swinging.”
The home fans intensified their rhythmic stomping, shaking the concrete decks of El Gran.