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Crooked Fences: A Novel

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A troubled war veteran battling PTSD returns home to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer. But is he ready?

Experience the life-changing events through the eyes of the main character as he comes to grips with himself, his family, and the community around him.

The night of the ambush changes everything for US Marine Todd Goodson. One moment, he is discussing tactics with his battle-weary squad in Afghanistan and the next he is waking up alone in a military hospital desperate for news of his friends.

Now returning home to pursue his dreams in law enforcement, Todd struggles with a deep sense of guilt over his role in the attack and worries that his prejudiced comments are ultimately what led his team astray. On top of his guilt, he’s battling relentless PTSD nightmares and rising tensions with his girlfriend. To escape his troubles, Todd travels from New York to Tennessee and visits an injured war buddy, eventually taking a temporary job managing a troubled low-income housing community in Nashville.

As Todd faces the challenges of his new job and makes some unexpected friends, he must also confront his deep-seated racism and homophobia. Overwhelmed with moral questions and his future career as a police officer, he starts to spiral out of control.

Is Todd ready to serve and protect the public equally without prejudice?

Crooked Fences is a fiercely honest story of change about a returning war veteran’s battle to overcome the debilitating effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, before entering the New York State Police Academy. First, he must confront the hatred of racism and homophobia instilled in him by his father while working at a low-income housing project.

246 pages, ebook

Published May 15, 2020

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About the author

C.J. Heigelmann

3 books72 followers
C.J. Heigelmann is a freelance writer and an author of Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Psychological Thrillers.

He produces literature that focuses on the human condition through character perspective and realism. Ever evolving, but yet retaining his core signature of sharp-edged realism, his writing style brings deep and compelling meaning to every plot and storyline while maintaining the integrity of the subject matter at hand. His ultimate goal is to stimulate a reader's mind, intellect, and emotions while being legitimately informative and intentionally provocative.

Visit www.MustReadCJ.com to learn more.

He is a member of the Authors Guild, the Historical Novel Society, and the South Carolina Writers Association.


National Indie Excellence Award, Finalist, Military Fiction, 2022, Crooked Fences.

Independent Press Award, Winner, Multicultural Fiction, 2021, An Uncommon Folk Rhapsody.

Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Fellowship for Fiction, Finalist, 2021, The Other Side of the Hill.

Wishing Shelf Book Award, Finalist, Adult Fiction, 2020, An Uncommon Folk Rhapsody.

New York City Big Book Award, Distinguished Favorite, Military Fiction, 2020, Crooked Fences.

Bestselling Amazon Author: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Depression, Racism and Discrimination, African American Literary Fiction, Historical Thrillers, Historical African Fiction, and Vigilante Justice.

"I express my characters in their pure flawed form because all of us are flawed. I don't shrink from using stereotypes whether positive or negative. Instead, I promote them and in the next breath completely shatter them. This exposes the error of subjugating individuals to intellectually lazy social labels, compelling the reader to confront the empirical nature of a character while lending insight into true understanding."

"Readers are not one-dimensional, and the stories they read shouldn't be either."

C.J. Heigelmann

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5 stars
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4 stars
12 (38%)
3 stars
2 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
March 8, 2020
A wonderful story! Todd's transformation from a broken man filled with anger and hate to a man that learned forgiveness and acceptance was truly inspiring.
10 reviews
January 16, 2020
Flaws & Self-Reflection

We are all flawed. Whether it be our upbringing or own views. Sometimes in life we need to review why we are and if its who we really are. And the make the the changes we need to be who we need to be.
Profile Image for Carol Ball.
91 reviews2 followers
June 6, 2021
Absolutely loved this book, couldn’t put it down. Well written, gritty, descriptive and eye opening. A fabulous story - I felt like a light had come on and it described the behaviours of someone I knew (my father suffered with undiagnosed PTSD after serving 22 years in the Army).

This story is about comrades, battle scars, love, sadness, family, gaining control and dealing with anger issues. Facing up to your responsibilities and finding ways of moving on. I thought the general thread of PTSD issues for forces personnel was handled sensitively but also brutally honest. I loved that Todd’s attitudes, mood swings and aggressive outbursts were not sugar coated. A very gritty story about dealing with one mans prejudice and psychological issues after a very traumatic incident finished his career in the marines and coming out the other end. I liked that not all his issues were sorted completely but the foundations were laid.

I’ve never been a fan of “talking” about issues but this story made me re-evaluate the benefits of therapy - you are never really totally alone. If this book makes one person seek help - then it’s worth its weight in gold!

Thank god he finally saw sense regarding his girlfriend .......

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for Shirley McAllister.
973 reviews120 followers
November 15, 2020
Who am I? What is my purpose?

This is a book that needs read. It is a book about a young veteran returning home with PTSD. This is something that many suffer from and it is highly misunderstood.

This book starts in Afghanistan with four Marines, best friend, Thomas, James, Todd and Tucker on a mission they are hit by a roadside bomb. Thomas and James are instantly killed, Tucker is in critical and Todd walks away with minor injuries. After Todd returns home to New York he learns that Tucker has lost an arm, a leg and is in a wheelchair because of shrapnel close to organs in his body.

Todd struggles with family matters, career choices and who he is and where he belongs. This is a story of a young marine adjusting to civilian life, his prejudices and fighting with PTSD. After a huge fight with his girlfriend he decides to visit his friend Tucker in Tennessee. He resists help from his friend, he drinks too much and he is not sure where he fits in life anymore. Tucker's family the Pearson's take in Todd and treat him like a son. He takes over as a manager of a low income housing unit in a crime ridden part of town and he begins to heal and to find himself.

This book was emotional, enlightening, and very well written. I would recommend it to all.

Thanks to C.J. Heigelmann, and Book Siren's for allowing me to read a copy for an honest review
Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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