William Hammett, Independent Ghostwriter and Editor

Fiction (Literary)

The following excerpt has been used with the permission of a former client and/or the publisher. Please note that I can adjust my prose style for a particular genre, and the following is not intended to represent my full range of styles or the number of genres I consider. For nonfiction, the level of complexity can be adjusted depending on client preference.

How many people had Jake Lopez seen killed in the past year? Twenty? Fifty? One hundred?

Lopez himself didn't know, for late at night, when sirens wailed down Cuenga Boulevard, he looked through chintz curtains billowing in the warm wind swirling inside his one-room apartment. He would then pour another ounce of bourbon into his glass and peer over the antique Remington typewriter, craning his neck to get a better view of the bloodied asphalt two stories below. Dancing like fireflies, switchblade knives caught glimmers of moonlight in the middle of the dark street. Streetlamps were blasted into shards of glass diamonds so frequently that the city of Los Angeles no longer bothered to send out repair crews to the battle zones. Lean figures scurried, some seeking the embrace of narrow alleys, others crumpling to the pavement and moaning for Mother Mary to have mercy on their sinful souls.

An hour later, when the police had gone through the motions of clearing the streets and taking the obligatory crime scene photographs, Lopez would resume typing. The police no longer canvassed the neighborhood, knocking on doors to see who had witnessed the latest turf war. Once reconnected to his brain, his fingers sought to describe the desperation in the faces he saw at vegetable markets, diners, and pawn shops—the look of hopelessness in the faces hiding in worn, wooden pews of Catholic churches as black-veiled widows fingered their beads and made their novenas, seeking hope. The only hope to be purchased on the proverbial mean streets of L.A., however, was coke or heroine.

Fifty murders. Yeah. Lopez was sure he had seen at least fifty murders in the past year. 1954 had been a bad year, a year for bloodletting and lost dreams.

He stopped, took another drink. Did anyone here have dreams anymore? Lopez sure as hell didn't. His mother had been gunned down fifteen years earlier on her way home from the night shift at the factory. He had been writing ever since, selling his stories to underground newspapers.