Seattle Author Explores Homelessness, Addiction, and Mental Illness in Three-Novella Series That Uncovers the City's Underbelly and Counterculture

Books roughly follow the life and work of Seattle city prosecutor Christopher J. Stockwell

SEATTLE, Jan. 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Charming and loveable Jack was never “right.” A Gen X punk growing up in the ’80s and ’90s in the Pacific Northwest, Jack is the byproduct of the music scene and drug culture of the time. A people magnet, Jack was the guy that girls wanted to be around. Even as he deteriorated before their eyes, people threw him lifelines because no matter how bad things got, Jack seemed close to salvageable. Those who loved him never stopped trying to pull him back from the brink. But he was always just out of reach.

In his three-novella series, Seattle author Christopher J. Stockwell weaves the story of Jack, an alcoholic, drug-addicted, mentally ill homeless man who epitomizes the lonesome souls on the streets of Seattle. Drawing from his own experience with alcoholism, drug use, homelessness, and the counterculture, Stockwell takes the reader to places on the underside of society that few dare to tread as they follow Jack through the social services and criminal justice systems.

Born in Seattle and raised in Tacoma, Stockwell spent his youth skateboarding, couch surfing, and following punk bands before ultimately becoming a prosecutor with the City of Seattle. He introduces the reader – through Jack – to areas around town many only wonder about: A crack den. A bed at the psychiatric hospital. A homeless encampment under the freeway. The county jail.

In his first book, “Sleeping in the Daytime,” Stockwell follows the affable Jack as he charms his way into people’s lives.

In the second book, “Courting Mediocrity,” Stockwell hangs with Jack as he struggles to never make the right choice, but entertains the reader with his wrong ones. Watching Jack is like watching a fly buzzing around a window, banging into it again and again, never understanding the concept of a glass window pane. Jack doesn’t comprehend the ins and outs of being human. But the good will and patience of others goes only so far as they watch Jack buzz.

In the final book of the series, “Squatting in the Shadow of an Ant,” the reader witnesses Jack – now in prison – continue his downward slide. What had he learned? No longer a wayward youth worthy of a second chance, he turned into a hopeless and irredeemable plague on society. How and where does Jack end up?

“It’s a coming-of-age narrative that’s pretty nihilistic and it’s pretty bleak,” Stockwell says of his protagonist. “He comes to understand a lot of things through suffering.”

Upon reading Stockwell’s work, the reader will come away understanding more as well.

The individual books – along with a hardbound edition of all three, “The Complete Down and Out in Seattle and Tacoma Series,” are available on 

About Christopher J. Stockwell: From a kid who loved skateboarding and punk rock to an alcoholic homeless man to a city prosecutor, Christopher Stockwell has covered a lot of ground in his nearly five decades on this earth. A ninth-grade dropout who later earned his law degree, Stockwell uses his lived experience to tell stories about the counterculture and underbelly of society, delving into issues of addiction, mental illness, the social services and criminal justice systems. Based on his own history with minimum-wage work, he also works on employment rights issues, offering pro bono services to exploited employees who cannot pay. “I’m a lawyer, a prosecutor. When I put on a suit, you can’t see me, but rather you see my mask,” he says. “Who am I? I’m the counterculture hiding in plain sight. Punk rock gave me a worldview, and I bring that worldview into society every time I speak in a courtroom or you flip the page of one of my books. After all these years, Jack and I are still pissed off at the world and everyone in it. And we’ve still got something to say about it.” Learn more at


Cynthia Flash                                              


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Christopher J. Stockwell


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