Murder, Drugs & Hope In San Francisco

In ‘My Dreams Out in the Street’ Private Investigator Gary Shepherd Provides Emotional & Financial Support to Rita Jackson, a Deeply Troubled Woman Who Has Witnessed a Murder

Shades Of Words
3 min readJun 6


Source: Author

Every once in a while, you come across a book that makes you uncomfortable by its sheer unfamiliarity. I have been staring at the screen for the last fifteen minutes trying to find words to describe my reaction to the national-award nominated novel My Dreams Out In the Street.

What does that mean? Did I like it, hate it or just didn’t get it. The dilemma indicates it was worth my time, but I will hold off putting it on must-read lists.

So, What’s It About?

Rita Jackson is a 23-year-old addict. She is addicted to drugs, alcohol, and smoking. She is homeless, married but does not know where her husband is. She freelances as a prostitute when she is penniless. And she has seen a man disposing of a dead body, someone he might have killed. And he knows that she has seen him.

A hundred pages in and I am already gasping for air with the hopelessness of it all.

Does it get any better or happier? Not really.

The closest thing to hope is Gary Shepherd. He is a private investigator, who works in the hell holes of San Francisco trying to find justice for people just like Rita. As he walks into a chapter, you breathe a sigh of relief.

He is instantly drawn to her and provides some emotional and financial support to this deeply disturbed yet earnest woman. Once he discovers that Rita has witnessed the very murder he is investigating, he promises to protect her. Even if it means sleeping with her and cheating on his wife. A modern, 21st-century fairy godmother if you will!!

But there is redemption for him and for her. Nothing dramatic. Maybe because this isn’t a fairy tale.

Final Thoughts on My Dreams Out In The Street

Reading fiction is an opportunity to feel unfamiliar. Travel to places unseen meet people unknown, and live another life. So relatability is not high on my list when reading…



Shades Of Words

California based culture blogger, obsessive & compulsive reader, globetrotter. Day job in technology. Writes at!