||Jan 1 2003
Sheppard Earl, a bail bondsman and Terrance Jones, a bounty hunter, work hand in hand with Shep bailing them out and Terry chasing them down. Both work round the clock, seven days a week facing financial and physical hardships that would challenge the best of men. The two depend on each other for their livelihood and it is only because of their strong friendship and loyalty that both are able to survive and prosper. Action, titillating encounters and courtroom drama fill the pages of this fast moving essay about America’s least understood professions.
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Running From Justice
Chapter One…The Office
It was Saturday, April 27, 2002. Sheppard Earl took a deep drag on his Marlboro cigarette, sucking the carcinogenic embers deep into his lungs. It was his 10th cigarette of the morning and it was only 9:00 a.m. A noxious cloud of white smoke filled the air as he exhaled the burnt remains through his flaring nostrils. He had been in the office since 7:00 a.m. after an uneventful evening. His sleep was interrupted only once during the night – a typical collect call from an inmate at the Baltimore City Jail, which atypically, he didn’t accept. How could he accept, after all, he was in debt up to his ears and during the last week, Sheppard had three skips totaling $125,000. Adding those skips to the ones from prior weeks left his company exposed to over half a million dollars in liability. With only $20,000 in his checking account, he was only a few weeks away from becoming bankrupt.
Business for Sheppard had been good over the years. The bail bond business was rough and tough, but it had rewarded him handsomely. In just 10 years, he had made enough money to buy himself a country home, private schools for his two children and a Porshe 911 sports coupe.
This year was different. It all seemed to start after September 11. Something strange occurred after the World Trade Center disaster. Crime was way down over the previous year and business was off about 50 percent. It was almost as if the criminals were afraid to go out on the streets and do their thing. Crime being down was great for the city and the reputation of the police chief, but it sure sucked for Sheppard Earl and his bail bond business.
Terrance Jones was a bounty hunter and a good friend of Sheppard. Terry, or TJ, as his close friends affectionately knew him, was introduced to the bondsman in the early days of his business and as the bail bond business prospered in Baltimore, so did he. Sheppard paid Terry the traditional ten percent apprehension fee, which on a $50,000 bail, would amount to $5,000. Terry’s only overhead was the gas for his ’65 classic Mustang convertible, his monthly cell phone bill and the cost of the licenses and permits he needed to carry his Glock-17 semi-automatic nine-mm caliber pistol.
Running From Justice: A Tale of Fugitives on the Run
Review of: Running from Justice: A Tale of Fugitives on the Run
Publishing Date:March 2003
Chain-smoking Sheppard Earl owns a bail-bond company. Business
was good in Baltimore, Maryland before the 9/11/01 tragedies.
Now, with crime down and too many "skips", the bail-bondsman is
almost bankrupt. Middle-aged and married, with two children, Shep
is concerned about his financial future, while his wife, Marie,
is concerned for his safety.
Best friend, Terrance (Terry) Jones, is Shep's main hope for
keeping business open and bankruptcy at bay. Terry is six-foot-
six, weighs 285 pounds, and carries a Glock-17 semi-automatic
pistol. As a modern-day bounty hunter, Terry is the last thing
any bail-jumping criminal wants to encounter. Terry, too, is
middle-aged and married, with a couple of kids, and facing
Between the two friends, tips and clues lead one or the other to
locate runaway fugitives, keeping both men in business and
providing income to support their families. But family relation-
ships are strained, as the work is dangerous and requires odd and
long hours away from home. Meeting the demands of work and family
responsibilities proves more of a challenge than either man ever
Peter G. Engelman digs deep into the lives of his characters,
drawing out past and present experiences, and future hopes and
concerns. He gives an insider's view of what it actually must be
like to be a bail-bondsman or a bounty hunter. Mr. Engelman also
gives glimpses of fugitive lives and provides realistic court
proceedings of a bail client's defense.
Although the pace is slow, as narration is heavy and some author
intrusion apparent, RUNNING FROM JUSTICE is a believable drama. I
recommend RUNNING FROM JUSTICE for people who seek more character
background, emotional depth and problem solving in a book, rather
than fast-paced action from beginning to end.
Patricia Spork, Reviewer
eBook Reviews Weekly
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Reader Reviews for "Running From Justice: A Tale of Fugitives on the Run"
|Reviewed by Bernard Whalen
|Peter Engelman takes the crime fiction reader into the little known world of
the bail bondsman where hardened criminals are pursued by men whose
lifestyles are directly tied to their ability to bring them to court. It's
not about guilt or innocence, it's about money. I highly recommend.
Co-author Justifiable Homicide
|Reviewed by GGrabush
|The short capsule sounds wonderful. Good luck to Peter on this exciting enterprise.|