RETURN TO SENDER by Derek Stephen McPhail, Merdick Earl McFarlane

In a boastful act of drunkenness, Atlanta detective, Lt. Bill Baker's promise to solve a murder invokes the wrath of a heavily armed cabal prepared to do anything to protect their lucrative criminal enterprise.

Return to sender

Human trafficking is the third largest criminal activity in the world. It is a form of human slavery which includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. This does not just happen in other countries. It's going on right here. The number of cases has doubled in the past five years. “Return To Sender” rips away the pretense, revealing a depth of corruption existing at the highest level. Yes, there is a touching love story. There are also unexpected heroes who step up to do the right thing. However, the happy ending may only exist in the movies.

This script evolved from a story idea presented to me by Merdick Earl McFarlane, my friend and neighbour. Merdick's daughter is married to a truck driver and spent some years living in Atlanta, Georgia. Outraged by the human trafficking in the U.S., largely being shipped around the country through trucking, he became involved with a nonprofit organization trying to help the police put a stop to this. He subsequently inspired his father-in-law to develop a story idea based on this despicable criminal activity. As Merdick knew I was focused on writing screenplays, he suggested I take the ball and run with it.


For Atlanta detective, Lt. Bill Baker, the loss of his wife was devastating. While

wallowing in the bottle, he boasts he can solve the disappearance of a young woman, the sister of a friendly bartender, Sally Kovacs. Sally has taken a leave of absence from her work as a computer hacker for Scotland Yard in London, to follow her sister to Atlanta, Georgia, where she is studying to become a stewardess.

Once the missing girl is connected to a Jane Doe discovered in a land fill site, Sally uses her computer skills to help Baker connect the dots. His words have put him on a collision course with ruthless psychopaths, who sport state-of-the-art military equipment to protect their illegal empire. Little did he know he was opening up a big can of worms, that take him into the world of human trafficking, child prostitution, ritualistic murder and political blackmail. Bill Baker soon finds himself a target, as he investigates this ring, wealthy and brazen enough to stop at nothing. For Bill and Sally the hunt is personal.

Baker learns to stop feeling sorry for himself and overcome his alcoholism. He realizes he has grieved enough over his deceased beloved wife and that Sally is the real deal. With the help of their mentors, Scotland Yard handler, Sir Robert Moray, Capt. Lennox and Bill's new partner, Modesto Morales, the two succeed in targeting the ruthless Julie Babcock and Rod Fergus. However, the real heroes prove to be the young teenage survivor, Lidia Thomas, supported by her determined parents, Greg and Alicia and two vet truckers, Gator Hardy and Wade Bailey, who volunteer to put themselves in harms way.


Genre: FICTION / Crime

Secondary Genre: PERFORMING ARTS / Screenplays

Language: English

Keywords: Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Urban drama, neo noir, crime fiction, police procedural

Word Count: 22, 353

Sales info:

"Return To Sender" has only this past month been released online in both ebook and paperback format by my publisher, "Float Street Press" in Silver City New Mexico.  as the story is set primarily in Atlanta, Georgia, a few months ago it was submitted to a screenwriting contest at the "Peach Tree Village Film Festival", there.  a few days ago, Merdick and I were informed that our script is in the running for the finals, to be decided by Aug. 22nd.  though there is no money involded in winning, even being a runner up could improve our chances to create a "buzz" and land a development deal with some interested film production company. fingers, toes and eye brows are all crossed... 

Sample text:

Well, Earl... I’m on the side that’s going to make America great again.
Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has squandered whatever good
will was created helping put the boots to the Nazis. The U.S. could
have shown genuine leadership maintaining global peace after the
end of the Cold War. Instead, our government devoted itself to
destabilizing countries around the world, for our corporations to loot
and perpetuate endless war.
You speak like this is a bad thing. We beat the Ruskies and established
an American Empire that will last a thousand years.
We’ve created the most powerful armed forces in the world,
spending half our budget on the Pentagon. But, we’ve turned our
back on our people and the land, allowing corporations to shred our
Constitution and dismantle most of our non-military manufacturing
sector. The police no longer serve and protect, unless they’re rich,
white and male.
That’s quite the rant. You should retire and run as a Green candidate
in the next election.
As long as I’m in this line of work, I will continue to uphold my
oath: "On my honour, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my
character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to
hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always
uphold the Constitution, my community and the agency I serve."
That’s an insult, quoting the
chief’s oath at me.


Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Translation in progress. Translated by Eirini Damianaki
Translation in progress. Translated by yubisnay sanchez

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