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Against the Grain
Cover of Against the Grain
Against the Grain
A Novel
by Freeze
"FREEZE IS THE COLDEST NEW AUTHOR ON THE COME-UP."
–Nikki Turner
Love him or hate him, Arkadian "Kay" Frost has made his mark on the streets of Baltimore as the leader of a close-knit group of friends: Mike, the ladies' man; Tank, the funny guy with a short fuse; Apache, the wild one with artillery expertise; Gee, aka Dread, a cold piece of work; and Dre, who doesn't drink, smoke, or cheat–and trusts no one.
Bank robberies are their bread and butter. But when a heist goes wrong, Kay ends up in prison. After serving time, he's ready to get back to his boys and start the game again. But they've moved on to big-time drug dealing, and Kay can't duck its lure. The money is flowing, but when someone in Kay's inner circle secretly betrays him, the friends divide and engage in a full-blown war. Kay wants out before more people die, and the only person he can trust now is his woman, ShuShawn, who is not only beautiful but is as street-smart as he is. Together, Kay and ShuShawn go against the grain. It seems no one can touch them . . . except perhaps the Feds, who have been watching everything.
"FREEZE IS THE COLDEST NEW AUTHOR ON THE COME-UP."
–Nikki Turner
Love him or hate him, Arkadian "Kay" Frost has made his mark on the streets of Baltimore as the leader of a close-knit group of friends: Mike, the ladies' man; Tank, the funny guy with a short fuse; Apache, the wild one with artillery expertise; Gee, aka Dread, a cold piece of work; and Dre, who doesn't drink, smoke, or cheat–and trusts no one.
Bank robberies are their bread and butter. But when a heist goes wrong, Kay ends up in prison. After serving time, he's ready to get back to his boys and start the game again. But they've moved on to big-time drug dealing, and Kay can't duck its lure. The money is flowing, but when someone in Kay's inner circle secretly betrays him, the friends divide and engage in a full-blown war. Kay wants out before more people die, and the only person he can trust now is his woman, ShuShawn, who is not only beautiful but is as street-smart as he is. Together, Kay and ShuShawn go against the grain. It seems no one can touch them . . . except perhaps the Feds, who have been watching everything.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    It had been six months since Arkadian "Kay" Frost witnessed the death of his best friend, Apache. He had spent every day of those six months in the city jail, where he was held without bond and had been awakened every night by the same nightmare in which his friend's body was torn to shreds and hit the ground in slow motion. This night would be no different.

    He would be sentenced in a few hours. Kay had been advised by his lawyer to take the plea for 125 months offered by the federal government. He'd never been to prison before, but he wasn't worried. He had a bigger problem; one that he would never live down. He was responsible for his friend's death because he'd panicked under pressure. If he hadn't run the red light, they would have made it home safely, just like all the other times. Kay blamed himself and he suffered every night because of it. . . .

    •••

    Six months ago. It was 10:04 a.m. Kay looked at his watch for what seemed like the hundredth time since his crew had entered the bank at 10:00 a.m. "C'mon, c'mon, we're s'posed to be in and out by now," Kay said out loud as he waited in the getaway car. Something is wrong, he thought.

    The sidewalk was packed with people when the crew ran out of the bank and jumped into the old Cadillac. Kay sped away from the curb, heading for Lexington Terrace, where they had a van waiting with a change of clothes. Without meaning to, Kay ran a red light. He didn't see the police car sitting there, but the police saw him and hit the sirens.

    "Oh shit, it's the police!" Gee yelled.

    At that exact moment, the call came across the police scanner about the bank robbery. They could hear the police behind them giving out their location. Everyone in the car yelled at Kay to drive faster. They knew a helicopter would be on them in a minute and when that happened it would be impossible for them to get away. Kay had to do something, and he had to do it quick. Glancing in the rearview mirror he saw that he was in front of the police car by at least five car lengths. He got an idea. He reached into one of the money bags and grabbed a ten-thousand-dollar stack. He used his teeth to take off the brown paper wrap. Without hesitation he threw the money out the window while the car was going at least eighty mph. When all the people on the sidewalk saw the hundred dollar bills raining through the air, they started running to grab the money. The police car that was pursuing them had to swerve so that it wouldn't hit anyone in the crowd, and ran into a parked car instead. Kay and his friends saw what had happened and assumed that they were safe. But another police cruiser came out of nowhere, causing Kay to panic and make a wild left turn onto a one-way street going against traffic. He looked into the mirror again, and there were now three police cars behind them. All we have to do is make it to the projects and we'll have a chance, Kay thought.

    A city bus was coming directly toward them. Kay had to swerve hard to avoid crashing head on into the bus, barely missing the car that was parked in front of a liquor store. The old Cadillac bucked up on the sidewalk and clipped the side of a fish market, spinning around from the impact before coming to a complete stop. The crew jumped out the car and headed in different directions. Kay realized that he wasn't far from the hair salon where his sister Lyniece worked, so he started that way. Apache must have read his mind because he was right on Kay's heels. It was a surreal scene: men running down the street in wigs and dresses. Kay managed to look back over his shoulder and saw three police officers on foot behind them. Apache didn't have to turn...

About the Author-
  • Freeze lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Against the Grain is his first novel.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 29, 2008
    Freeze. Against the Grain: A Novel. One World: Ballantine. (Nikki Turner Presents). 2008. 288p. pap. F~With an endorsement from Nikki Turner, this impressive debut will need very little selling by librarians. Rocking a Baltimore/Virginia setting, incorporating authentic prison scenes, and detailing the inner workings of the gangster lifestyle, Freeze's tale fits right in with the popular rags-to-riches street-lit theme. Strongly recommended for all urban fiction collections. Background: Haunted by the death of his best friend during a bank job gone wrong, Arkadian "Kay" Frost pulls his nine years in prison and once out quickly establishes himself as a major player in Baltimore's drug industry. Relying on his mentor, Scatter, a reformed drug user, Kay skyrockets to untold wealth in the heroin trade. His friend Mike works the cocaine side of the business but wants more. Can Kay's woman, the sexy Shu-Shu, be trusted? Kay has it all: expensive cars, sleek women, and a party at Virginia Beach that is pure gangster. Once at the top, though, the only way is down, and Kay soon finds out how fast the script can flip.--Rollie Welch, Cleveland P.L..

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    Random House Publishing Group
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