In 2001, I wrote and self-published a harrowing crime novel called ShelterThis novel is not for everyone, as it is graphically violent and holds nothing back. The following is a slightly re-written version of what appears on the back cover of the book. If you like to read fast-paced crime novels, and don’t mind a resultant nightmare or two, get yourself a copy of this book!



Boot nails click on time-worn asphalt Shelter cover

As two men pass beneath the streetlight

It’s dim glow reflects in the eyes of one

The slightest glimmer of hope

And anger


Anger at a world he once thrived in

Before it took all he had worked for

Then tossed him to the curb

Like yesterday’s bread sack



His companion—not of choice—reeks

Not from lack of soap and water

But from the evil within him

Evil that glows in hate-filled eyes

His soul is black


They move with purposeful strides

Through the chill of the dark night

Slipping through the shadowy light

Of the homeless; edging closer

To victims unknown


Tired of begging, they have found

That to take what they need is the way

To even the score and fill their bellies

Caring not what they leave in their wake

No remorse


A roof above their heads, three squares a day

A warm place to lie down at night

Crime the means to obtain these things

A mother weeps, a father curses

Two young women try to begin anew

Their shattered lives


In time, the victims will heal

Pick up the pieces and go on

But on this night

One of the homeless men will die

The other will live

And he will find… Shelter


Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn


Sharing this on dVerse Poets Pub’s Open Link Night #91 this afternoon.

I also published another crime novel in 2ooo–The Devil’s Dust. It’s a rambunctious, fast moving story about a drug heist that goes terribly–sometimes hilariously–wrong. It’s packed with sex drugs, murder, and general mayhem, and if you want to read a doozy of a page-turner, this is one you need to get. You can even buy autographed copies of both my novels from my friends, Linda & Russ at Texas Trading Post.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find inside The Devil’s Dust: “I’m telling you, man,” Bill said into the phone, trying to keep his voice low. “I can get at least two kilos, maybe three, tonight. They’ll never miss it. By the time they do, they’ll be so confused they won’t be able to remember how many they had, or how much they’ve sold. I need you to stash it for me.” He paused, listening, then sounding impatient, said, “Just be there, okay?” He glanced toward the kitchen as the whir of the blender stopped and whispered into the phone. “Nine o’clock. Gotta go.” As he was placing the phone receiver into its cradle, he heard a gasp from his left and looked over to see Denise, a pitcher of margaritas in one hand, a stack of plastic cups in the other, staring past him, eyes wide and mouth agape. He turned slowly, ice water running through his veins, and thought surely his life was over as he looked up into Gene’s grinning face.


  1. Susan said

    Got to look into these!

  2. jmdh said

    sounds very interesting !!

  3. Raivenne said

    Well that’s an attention getter!

  4. oo intriguing promo for your book man…you give us enough to get our minds going and to entice us as well…i rather enjoy a good crime story…

  5. Raven said

    This is so good. This is so awful. This is so awfully good. 😉

  6. viv blake said

    If I were to read this as a book jacket blurb, I would probably put the book down unread. But as a piece of writing in its own right, I would say Bravo.

  7. ayala said

    I have to look into them. The poem was a good and interesting.

  8. Well I sat up straight in my chair upon reading the first stanza. Good luck with your novels.

  9. A departure from your usual writing, I didn’t know you dabbled in these themes too Charles ~ Good to know, thanks ~

  10. Mary said

    Interesting poem, Charles; but, unfortunately I am more into writing than reading these days..and I don’t like to be scared.

    • Oh, I can’t imagine not having time to read. I love to read almost as much as I love to write!

      • Rowan Taw said

        I don’t think I could do one without the other. If I read, I then write, and if I write, I have to read…all one creative circle.

      • My writing is greatly inspired by my reading!

  11. aka_andrea said

    This really sparks the curiosity, I want to know more about these folks!

  12. How can you not appreciate a poem for advocacy? Observational, honest, without being preachy. It’s a fine line to walk, Charles. And you have.
    Mark Butkus

  13. Tony Maude said

    Well Charles, I sure do love a good crime novel/detective story, and these are intriguing. Sadly, I think the delivery costs to Scotland might prove criminal too.

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