“Koby’s New Home” is the story of a man, a stray kitten … and an apartment complex filled with alienated tenants, many of them now lost souls. The book, which takes a sometimes humorous, often unsettling and scary look at working class and middle class economic dislocation, was written in October 2016, just a few short weeks before the presidential election that brought Donald Trump to the presidency. It’s a book about the blue-collar white pain and seething anger that found a champion in Trump, and “Koby’s New Home” is very much about the new Trump Era this country has shifted into.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT:
Having lost his job and now struggling to find a new one, William Grabinski has no choice but to rent a small, dirt cheap unit in an old, decrepit building. Feeling lonely and isolated there, he can’t resist adopting a kitten that cries at him from the building’s courtyard on a cold December day.
The kitten, which Grabinski names Koby, is shivering and starving. He stares up at the man who stops and speaks to him, wondering if he’s a threat or not. The kitten allows Grabinski to pick him up ….
The purring machine quickly goes off. Now tiny Koby has a home.
It starts out very much like a heartwarming and sentimental story of a depressed man who finds comfort and happiness in caring for this sweet, adorable kitten. But it isn’t long before the book heads off in a much darker direction.
The first problem is that Grabinski is suddenly completely paranoid — because his building has a strict no pets policy. What if he gets caught? Will Grabinski and Koby both end up on the street? He nervously bites his nails wondering if there will be a knock on the door, announcing his eviction. Will both man and kitty end up living in a cardboard box?
And yet, that turns out to be the least of his problems.
Through a series of strange and sometimes ominous incidents, Grabinski becomes even more anxious about his life in that complex. He starts to believe the entire building is corrupt, even destructive. Grabinski confronts haunting images: the elderly man in the dark, barren room, the children’s dolls being burned in a demented nighttime ceremony, the mysteriously reappearing box of poison tablets, and, most eerily, the menacing figure that Grabinski comes to call Cigarette Man, who stalks him everywhere he goes. If Grabinski steps out in the hall, it seems like Cigarette Man is standing there, watching him.
“Koby’s New Home” examines people coping in an often intensely hostile environment. The apartment building is filled with people struggling to survive in a grim economy, and nobody is happy to be living in such a decaying complex — Grabinski included.
The pitiful, humiliating feelings these tenants experience from sharing space in this dismal location eventually turns deadly — and horrifically violent. At that point, it’s no longer about economic survival for Grabinski.
HOW TO ORDER IT:
“Koby’s New Home” is 132 pages and is available to purchase for $7.98 in paperback and $3.99 as a Kindle download. The novel, written by author, playwright and journalist Michael W. Freeman, is available on Amazon, as a Kindle eBook, and through the Freeline Productions online bookstore.
Check out a free sample chapter here.
WHO WROTE IT:
Michael Freeman, a resident of Orlando, has been a journalist since 1988. Throughout his career, he’s worked at some of the Sunshine State’s largest newspapers, including The Orlando Sentinel, The Lakeland Ledger, The Sun-Sentinel and The Jewish Journal.
Michael is also a playwright, active in Central Florida’s fast-growing theater community. He wrote and produced the original plays “Hooked,” “Copping a Craigie” and “Murder Sleep,” which premiered at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. A passionate lover of theater and the arts, Michael is a guild member at The Orlando Shakespeare Theater and a member of the Playwrights Round Table in Orlando.
Michael is also the founder of Freeline Productions, a writing and editing service that distributes his fiction novels “Bloody Rabbit,” published in 2013, and “Koby’s New Home.”
Michael was born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts, and has lived in Orlando since 2002. Michael now works for the Orlando Magic basketball team. He enjoys reading, traveling, the music of The Monkees, catching re-runs of the 1970s TV series “Kolchak The Night Stalker,” and the great art of comic books.
Michael is also the proud papa of his cats Fluffy, Midnight, and Peaches.
Conclusion: Written just a month before Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2016, “Koby’s New Home” reflects the rage so many downsized workers feel in the global economy.
Contact Freeline Media at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..