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Independent Press Award 

2024 winner

A Very Innocent Man

Edward Belfar

Life’s going great for Dr. Robert Rosen. He has a New York City medical practice, his dreams of TV fame as “Dr. Sober-Up” are coming true, and he’s making big bucks selling oxycodone prescriptions for cash. What could go wrong? Sure, his personal life is a bit rocky—his brother, mother, and son all seeing him as a swindler and a low life—but you can’t have everything. Besides, he has a wonderful young assistant/girlfriend in Tamika Jones and a skilled if out of control mentor in Dr. Barry “Bulldog” Bullard, so really, who needs them?

Unfortunately, his opioid side business includes selling prescriptions to a bogus pain clinic run by Russian mobsters, mobsters who don’t have a lot of respect for Dr. Rosen’s position nor his fees, nor, for that matter, his apartment and personal possessions.
Inevitably, his house of cards collapses when one of his patients rats him out to the FBI and he is arrested. Out on bail, he can’t work, he is hemorrhaging money, and the prospect of spending a long stint in prison looms. He’s got to do something, but the more he tries to get ahead of his troubles the worse they get.
Finally he hits on a plan: reinvent himself as a life coach and motivational speaker. Once again, his fortunes appear to be on the rise. However, he finds, to his dismay, that he cannot escape his criminal past; the Russians have not finished with him yet.

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A Very Innocent Man
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