Sara Jackson, a four-time public housing tenant, and her nine-month pregnant daughter, LaRhonda Saunders face immediate eviction from B. D. James Project for failing to time pay rent, and the confiscation of illegal contraband from her adult son's (Moses Davis) bedroom. Moreover, the Housing Director learns that LaRhonda has been harboring an impermissible pet, a sickly pooch named Lonely Dog. More
It is Christmas time and nothing makes any sense. Obidiah Waters, a penniless, and more importantly dead, person is evicted from Jacksonville, Florida’s most notorious housing project, B. D. James Project—a housing complex so bleak, worn, and desolate that many remark, “If hell had a cousin, it would certainly be B. D. James.”
Moreover, Sara Jackson, a four-time public housing tenant of the year, and her nine-month pregnant daughter, LaRhonda Saunders potentially face the same fate for failing to timely pay rent for two months, and having Sheriff’s deputies seize illegal contraband from her adult son’s (Moses Davis) bedroom. And to top it off, the City’s Housing Director, Baron Winston learns that LaRhonda has been harboring an impermissible pet, a sickly pooch, named Lonely Dog.
But instead of pressing forward with his usual cold, methodical, and impassionate manner, as he had in almost two thousand previous cases, City eviction attorney, M. B. Hawkins questions the wisdom of trying to secure Sara Jackson’s immediate eviction so close to Christmas. Despite such skepticism, and the ensuing negative media reaction and coverage, Mayor Russell Davidson, expecting a tough re-election campaign, and intent of destroying the influence of his longtime nemesis, Uncle Almondine Smith (an outspoken community activist and neighbor of Sara’s) demands that Hawkins follow the Mayor’s newly-implemented zero-tolerance policy, and evict the soon-to-be unemployed, and out of luck, Sara.
Against such formidable odds, Sara gains spiritual strength from her parish priest, Father Patrick Hanrahan, while relying on the legal expertise of Blackjack Scott—an attorney more lucky than skillful. Adding to the mix, a local television station transforms an otherwise forgettable eviction into a classic David Goliath struggle with Scrooge-like implications.
However, the journey to the immediate eviction hearing is complicated by: 1) Moses’ friend, the crude, crass criminal Billy C. Creedmore, who seeks to betray not only Moses, LaRhonda, and Sara, but also, Uncle Almondine; 2) Hawkins’ friend and former co-worker Phil Chase, who attempts to protect Hawkins from unexpected danger; and 3) Hawkins’ love interest, Susan Treadwell, who along with the Mayor’s Administrative Assistant Roger Carpenter, share secrets and lies that when exposed, jeopardize not only Hawkins’ position and life, but also, hold the key to the death of Hawkins’ former colleague, Ernie Sizemore, some three years earlier.
Ultimately, Sara and family have their day in court. The trial encompasses a series of twists and turns—a match-up of two attorneys who possess nearly perfect trial records. But one streak must come to an end, and one attorney must lose. While the trial’s outcome is surprising, the aftermath is shocking. Some live, some die, and nothing stays the same.
With touches from A Christmas Carol, and Bonfire of the Vanities, Without Shelter is an instant classic that explores homelessness, holidays, love, betrayal, pregnancy, death, the law, sin, and redemption. Without Shelter is indeed A Christmas Story of Sorts that comforts, as well as, disturbs. Ultimately though, Without Shelter is a timeless story that cannot be dismissed.
Without Shelter—A Christmas Story of Sorts is the third in a trilogy of Christmas-themed novels by Michael Delphy Hunt. The other novels are A Different Christmas and Digging Up Daddy.
No one should be Without Shelter, at the holidays, especially you.
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