Douglas Stark and Carl Cramer

Given a chance to leave the soul-crushing confines of Purgatory for 24 hours of mortal bliss on Earth, a young man (the "Stranger") assumes the body of shifty attorney Jack Hoyle. In exchange for this short-term lease on life, the Stranger must perform a seemingly simple mission while "renting" Jack's body. On Earth, the "old" Jack was a gold-plated winner, admired by all, charming and handsome -- but hiding infidelity, alcoholism, and a host of skeletons in his closet. Those skeletons are out in the open when the "new" Jack enters the scene, drinking and womanizing for all to see. It's Jack's wife, Abby, however, who puts him at a crossroads.

Abby had secretly wished Jack wouldn't have survived a coma-inducing car crash. She knows all the real Jack's secrets, but couldn't help giving him second chances -- and regretting it every step of the way. Now, Jack is not only alive and well, but living it up for all to see and a fed-up Abby threatens to leave him. The "new" Jack brushes her off initially -- the Stranger won't let anybody stand in the way of his 24 hour pass -- but begins feeling sympathy for her and a neglected daughter, Jess.

Thinking the crash affected Jack's mental make-up, Abby reluctantly agrees to look after him, but the Stranger's mission comes to the fore -- he must plant a gun on a security guard. This seemingly obscure act leads to dire consequences as Jack realizes why he's been given these missions: each small act creates a "ripple" effect triggering ever-greater implications. Jack pieces together the end result of his actions on earth, his "missions," and makes the ultimate offer -- he agrees to assasinate a popular politician, whose death appears to be the focus of Jack's earthly missions. Jack is willing to risk eternity in hell in exchange for the rest of a normal life on earth with Abby and Jess. Part "Wings of Desire" and part "Heaven Can Wait," "The Ticking Man" is about the invincibility of love and the sacrifice one man must make to see it continue.

Copyright 2005 Douglas Stark and Carl Cramer
All Rights Reserved