Broken Birds by Peter Molnar
Will Bentley is an Iraq War veteran turned Pulitzer Prize winner after his military memoir, I Can Hear the Shi’ite Weeping, propels him to seemingly overnight literary stardom. But Will craves nothing more than a quiet, uneventful life spent with his longtime girlfriend, Mina, and Alberta (“Albie”), a big German Shepherd Will adopted after discovering the destitute animal on a tour of duty. Albie is like a child to Will and Mina, an indispensable member of their small family. She is also an animal haunted by her horrid experiences at the hands of abusers during her time spent in a ravaged Iraqi province. Will is of the belief that “love heals all” and spares none when it comes to his faithful companion. It’s a good life for Will and his girls in the rural, sleepy Pennsylvania town of Comstock… But they say you never really know who your neighbors are… Neighbors like Stella Post, a kept, agoraphobic twenty-something who lives a quarter mile north of Will’s farmhouse. Stella’s husband Jack, a serial cheater and abuser, who has made it a game of chipping away at her sanity by slow degrees. Stella has been keeping a secret correspondence with a sociopathic “old flame” named Karl Tarlick, who is serving time in prison for unspeakable crimes. Stella Post’s life is one of hidden misery and madness until her “old flame” is released from prison. Tarlick promises to deliver Stella from her suffering and to help her exact vengeance upon her unfaithful husband. A revenge that is tailor-made for a man as cruel as Jack Post. Broken Birds is a story of two families set on a blistering collision course with one another. When Stella and her sociopathic lover abduct Will’s faithful companion, Albie, to use for their own devilish purposes, it becomes a race against the clock. To deliver Albie from her captors, looking to exploit the dog’s own inner demons. To save innocent lives. To save the ones he loves. Can Will Bentley protect his family from the strangers down the lane before they cost him everything?