Law Enforcement Thriller Captures Emotional Aftermath of Tragic Shooting

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In his first novel, "Under A Cloud," Eliot Sefrin develops poignant characters to explore the precarious nature of racial tensions and the resiliency of the human spirit.

The issue of racial tension is, unfortunately, a timeless one. Despite meaningful progress, this issue is just as relevant today as it was 30 years ago during the turbulent 1970s, an era providing the setting for Eliot Sefrin's first novel, "Under a Cloud" (ISBN 059-5372147, iUniverse, 2006).

In a dark cellar within the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, an innocent, hearing-impaired black teenager is killed when two respected, white police officers respond to a reported burglary in progress. The community erupts in outrage and immediately the role of racial stereotypes in the officer's decision is questioned.

"Under a Cloud" reminds readers that in such a quickly politicized situation, one must remember that police officers often have to make split-second life or death decisions under less than ideal conditions; decisions that can potentially be clouded by racial stereotypes.

"Under a Cloud" follows the heart wrenching emotional journey of the two police officers and the deceased teen's father as they each cope with the impact of this catastrophic event. The devastating magnitude of the shooting carries the potential to cripple these three very different people for very different reasons, but they each face the same monstrous challenge of finding a way to cope and move on.

Through the public's vilification of the police officers involved, Sefrin hopes to make readers think about how we should react to such situations, with fairness and justice to all sides involved.

"Most importantly," Sefrin asks, "How do we, as a society, eliminate the conditions and the mindset that result in the kind of explosive racial confrontation depicted in the novel?"

One of the police officers in "Under a Cloud" is Rachel Cook, a character inspired by Sefrin's wife, one of the first female police officers assigned to patrol the streets of New York. Her experiences provided him with relevant background information for his story. Above all, Sefrin said "Under a Cloud" reveals actions and emotions that are capable of lifting us above stereotypes, hysteria, mistrust and history.

Eliot Sefrin resides in Belle Mead, New Jersey. He earned a bachelor's degree from the City College of New York and has held editor positions in both the newspaper and magazine industries. He is currently the editorial director and publisher of a successful business magazine. "Under a Cloud" was the 2006 recipient of the Public Safety Writers' Association Grand Prize for Best Fiction. "Under a Cloud" (ISBN 059-5372147, iUniverse, 2006) can be purchased at local and online bookstores. For more information, visit http://www.eliotsefrin.com. Review copies available upon request.

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