Austin Templeton, an unscrupulous real estate developer, is able to take advantage of a loosely monitored financial system with the help of friendly bankers, captive appraisers and a naïve clientele. His associates also include well-connected mobsters, union representatives pursuing selfish agendas, and professionals whose credentials are suspect. He tolerates a trophy wife and idolizes his uber-privileged daughter who unknowingly is being used as a “stooge magnet” to attract ignorant, overly ambitious losers who are willing to do almost anything and who are seeking an effortless climb up the ladder of success.
His shady relationships and deceptive practices, once again, allow him to satisfy his greedy ambitions when Paradise Found, an exclusive retirement destination for the affluent, is developed and marketed to previously successful, willing buyers, who paid more attention to the misleading sales brochures than to the sub-standard quality of site work and home construction. By utilizing various non-ethical and barely legal, unilaterally beneficial, contract provisions, he now holds an entire community financially captive and is about to dramatically enhance his ill-gotten gains with his final act of manipulative thievery.
Scott and Heather, young, married, successful over-achievers, whose lifetime financial security is assured many times over, decide to seek residence in a well-researched microcosm of society in order to study the factors responsible for a growing caste system which seems to be divisively widening the gap between the fortunate and those less so. Their travels eventually lead to Paradise Found and, as they settle in with their unselfish, but hidden, agenda, they soon realize their efforts must, instead, be directed toward helping their new neighbors and friends.
As they arrive, amidst a plummeting national economy and a pending, calamitous, non-winnable confrontation between the developer and current homeowners, they soon sense, among their neighbors, that the early confidence of earned security has now been replaced with a feeling of financial vulnerability and a growing, helpless fear of the unknown.
By utilizing the methods that led to their early success, coupled with aggressive fact gathering in a tenacious and creative manner, Scott and Heather eventually discover solutions to the many, previously thought-to-be, seemingly unsolvable problems.
The story also reveals the perceived character of a representative retirement community at a time when pets are cherished more than neighbors and illicit lovers, more than spouses. Rules and laws are compromised to fit the circumstances, whether it involves an erroneous entry on a golf scorecard or a much more serious, intentional misstatement of facts in an accounting ledger. Expediency and a panicked need for self-preservation have combined to severely deflect the moral compass of the neighborhood. Real issues are no longer discussed and, instead, conversations focus only on Botox treatments, golf scores and the results of the most recent health exams.
While this may be a work of fiction, all characters and events are based upon real people and actual occurrences.