Steve Christian is being framed for murder and he must find the true culprit before he has to serve the time.
This is the plot of "Justified," a new book written by Pasadena resident Bradley Jenkins.
"Justified" will hit the Walden and B. Dalton bookstores in Glen Burnie, Annapolis and Columbia this weekend.
The intricate murder mystery centers around Steve, who is involved in a love triangle with Danielle and Julie. Meanwhile, Danielle's best friend, Cheryl, discovers that she is a lesbian and also madly in love with Julie.
When Cheryl, an Annapolis resident, is found murdered, all the evidence points to Steve. As he tries to find the real killer, the tale unravels in parts of Anne Arundel, Howard and Calvert counties.
There are also scenes at Merriweather Post Pavilion and various restaurants in Kent Narrows.
Mr. Jenkins, who was born in Linthicum and raised in Pasadena, said he based the novel in the areas with which he is most familiar. "Justified" is his first attempt at a novel. The Anne Arundel County native said he started the book three years ago, after being prodded by an editor at a small Calvert County newspaper where he designed advertisements.
"I wrote her a letter and she told me I should write a book," said Mr. Jenkins, 38. "I said, 'How could she say that after a two page letter?' "
Nevertheless, Mr. Jenkins took the editor's advice.
"I wrote 20 pages and I said, 'No, I don't know.' Then I wrote 20 more and I thought, maybe these two can meet somewhere down the road," he said. "Once I got to 80 pages, I just went for it."
He said it took him two years to pen the more than 500 pages he submitted to three publishing companies. Northwest Publishing Inc., based in Salt Lake City, picked up the book right away.
After a year of editing cut the book down to 363 pages, the company printed the 10,000 copies that it is now distributing.
Now that he is a published novelist, Mr. Jenkins wishes he had taken his first attempt at creative writing at Essex Community College more seriously.
"I wrote a narrative about a tire in a store from the tire's perspective. It was like the tire was looking at this nice car, wishing that he could be on the car," he said.
His teacher told him he should submit it to the school literary magazine.
"I never did submit it. I guess I should have," he said. "It was the first time I realized I had any flair."
Now, many years later, he said he's glad he took the challenge.
"I keep getting more confident and feeling better and everything looks like it'll be a real success," he said. "Now I can't wait for it to be in the stores."
Encouraged by his first venture, he quit his job and devoted his time to promoting this book and writing another novel, "Double Victim."