Proceed With Caution

Jon Petersen

Jon Petersen graduated from Bangor High School in Bangor, WI in 1999. He went to the University of Wisconsin Platteville and joined the United States

How the Proceed With Caution cover was made

By Cover Artist: Sheal Mullin-Berube


Proceed With Caution is the story of Richard “Dick” Dean, a forty-year-old tremendously plain librarian, finally sees his wife Jane as a serial abuser. 18 years of marriage and 18 years of psychological and psychical torture by the hands of the woman he loves bring him to the harsh realization that he now has to figure out how to remove her from his life. For years Richard’s close friends, Sam a Master Chief and Navy SEAL, and Bob a local hardware store owner and former Mafia associate, have tried to show him the cycle of abuse his wife Jane has subjected him to.  Too ignorant, or too unobservant, Richard went about his day to day life allowing Jane to use him as her personal pin cushion. Richard finally received a wake-up call when Jane was arrested for punching him so hard she knocked out a tooth.

Jane was sent to the hospital on a psychiatric hold, but relief was short lived as Jane was only held for 72 hours and was released. She returned home to continue her cycle of abuse against Richard. A local detective, Apollo Stone, takes a personal interest in Richards case and shows up at the house to notify Richard that Jane is free. Richard realizes the law failed him and he leaves Jane. Now, with the help of his friends and a lot of self-discovery, Richard faces his past and his wife in order to take back 18 years of abuse and torture that Jane wasn’t ready to give up. Proceed With Caution is a novel that looks at female on male spousal abuse. Males are raised from little up to be strong and not weak. But what happens when the female is the strong one in the relationship and is able to control her weaker spouse with torture and violent acts? Instead of strong male lead, a feeble, meek, and mild shell of a man emerges and his abuser walks free, as it is unfathomable and not realistic in today’s society for that type of relationship to happen.

In 2022 we had an opportunity to collaborate with Jon to make ‘profiles’ for our killer ladies Ivy and Jane who had an opportunity to shine in The Bone Jar and Proceed With Caution.

The Profile of Ivy

Angel Bay Underworld Ivy Gender: FemaleSiblings: one, sisterFamily Life: Ivy has been systematically abused from the time she was born. She shows signs of significant physical trauma including two distinct injuries to the head, one scar on the side of her eye, as well as emotional trauma from the abuse. Father...

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The Profile of Jane

Angel Bay Underworld Understanding Jane: Profile Interviewer: Shawna Kahn Name: Jane Roe Austin DeanBirthdate: November 18th, 1977Occupation: Real-estate agent Jane: Word on the street is your looking for me? Kahn: That is correct. Jane: Word also is you’re an investigative reporter. Kahn: Also correct. Jane: Well, Ms. Kahn. You have...

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Premise: Richard Henry “Dick” Dean has been in a grueling torturous relationship with his Wife, Jane for 18 years. She is extremely abusive, physically assaultive, and psychologically manipulative toward him. She strikes him in the mouth in front of their neighbors and he loses a tooth, she is arrested but checked into a hospital for 72 hours to receive a psychological evaluation, but as is her nature she manipulates the psychologists with her sensuality and sexuality to be released from the hospital after the 72 hours are completed. Richard thought his nightmare was over, but it was only a short intermission. He found the strength to leave her and with his friends, colorful characters who really have his best interest at heart, Richard navigates this new world free from oppression of his abusive past but not entirely devoid of her influence and the real fear he feels. As he develops into a stronger version of his meeker self, he takes actions into his own hands to rid his world of his wife and her exhaustingly disgustingly inappropriate abusive behavior. Strength is found when weakness no longer is able to present itself. All he needs is a little help from his friends.

Setting: Angel Bay, Wisconsin. Year: 2015. North Angel Bay is where Richard and Jane live with their children. They live on a quiet dead-end cul-de-sac in a two-story modest ranch house. Richard spends time at ABU library at ABU campus and around the campus area. Sam’s parents’ house is in Midtown east Angel Bay. It is a shoebox, one level small ranch style home. Bob lives in a single-family home next door to the hardware store. The kids work at University Ridge Golf Course and lifeguard at Prairie Athletic Club. They attend Angel Bay Area High School in North Angel Bay. Primary areas are around campus, the Dean house, and areas around the capital building. The bar that Bob and Richard visit is a dive bar in midtown north angel Bay, called Pooleys. Bob has a small garage in Midtown Angel Bay in a wooded area, on Hoepker road across from the FED Ex building that he fixes cars and motorcycles in on occasion. Bob and Richard take a bartender from Pooleys there for an interrogation.

The Novel

Character POV: Proceed With Caution is written from the prospective of observers and direct characters involved in various parts of the story.

The book nods to the often silenced abuse inflicted upon male victims and the mistaken view that men are ‘too strong’ to be the victim. The novel pegs the concept of the narcissist to the wall with its revelations of Jane and her mental instability.

Easter Egg

Characters in the novel were heavily influenced by music.

"I listened to a lot of Halestorm radio on pandora, mostly Halestorm, Pretty Reckless, and In This Moment. In fact, Jane was written and developed by listening to the song “Whore” by In This Moment. The song describes her perfectly. So, I would suggest listening to Halestorm radio and a lot of In This Moment (band) when reading Jane’s sections, and a fair amount of Pretty Reckless (band) for Richards sections." Jon Petersen

Angel Bay

Angel Bay, Wisconsin as of 2015: Approximately 600,000 people

Major University: The University of Angel Bay, (ABU). Formerly the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The city of Angel Bay is a metropolitan area, formerly the Madison metro area. Around the year 2000, the city and community leaders realized Madison was growing faster than there was space to do so. Madison is landlocked. It cannot grow out and it cannot grow up. Due to this rapid expansion, Madison leaders approached the community leaders in the surrounding areas and proposed to join all areas under a new city name and a new county. Divine county was created in 2005, and Angel Bay shortly thereafter. Angel Bay spans from as far north as what was Deforest, as far East as what was Marshall, as far south as what was Brooklyn, and as far west as what was Mazomanie.

All communities in between were also assimilated into Divine County and became a part of Angel Bay. There are four districts. Angel Bay is divided into North Angel Bay, South Angel Bay, East Angel Bay and West Angel Bay. Three areas, Uptown, Midtown, and Downtown encompass the four districts. Uptown: North, North west and North east districts. Midtown: East and west districts. Downtown: South, South west and south east districts. There are approximately 600,000 people in Angel Bay according to the 2015 census. The projected population growth by 2020 will be almost 800,000, and by 2025 the projected population will be nearing 950,000.

Angel Bay Characters

Richard Henry “Dick” Dean: 40-year-old librarian at ABU. Richard is the director of the library. He oversees all employees and all of the literature in the libraries. He is responsible for a fairly large library operation. Richard is married to Jane and has been the subject of her abuse for 18 years. Richard is 5’10” and 145-150 lbs. He is a runner and runs every day.

He is very active and cognizant of what he eats and drinks. Richard is strictly regimented. He follows strict schedules and wears the exact same type of clothing daily. A white button-down dress shirt, black tie, black dress pants, black socks, and black dress shoes. He looks more like a hitman than a librarian. He does not drink alcohol very often if ever. He has a lean athletic build.

Status: Protagonist

Jane Dean: Married to Richard, real estate agent, and habitual domestic abuser of her husband. Jane is calculated, conniving, manipulative, and power hungry.

She learned at a young age that she can gain power through her manipulation tactics, and her sensuality. She is very good at getting what she wants by any means necessary.

Jane is voluptuous, erotic, and an extremely sensual person completely confident and in tune with her sexuality. She flaunts her assets and uses her prowess frequently.

Status: Antagonist

Mary Athena Dean: The daughter of Jane and Richard. She is a 17-year-old high school student with a 4.0 GPA, works as at a local Angel Bay golf course and as a lifeguard. She is a three-season athlete, soccer, volleyball, and track and field. Mary is protective of her father and her brother; she stands up to her mother frequently.

Mary is a fighter; she has an extreme amount of personal strength; she has strong personal and moral values. She fights for what’s right and good and stands up to the injustices served to her father by her mother. Mary is 5’6-5’7”, 110-115 pounds, athletic young beautiful girl with dirty blonde hair, hazel to green eyes and a permanent tan complexion.

Status: adds to character development

Michael Achilles Dean: The son of Jane and Richard. He is a 16-year-old sophomore athlete. Michael is an exceptional swimmer. He also works at the golf course and as a lifeguard in the summer. He is a B average or C average student. Michael is a typical teenage boy more interested in girls and sports than in studying and academics.

He is a quiet internal processor, unlike his sister who is a vocal external force. Michael is over 6-foot-tall, 150-160 pounds, blonde hair, with green blue eyes, athletic stacked build, and a permanent tan complexion. Both kids are all American and have been compared to Ken and Barbie if Ken and Barbie were brother and sister. Good kids with kind and good hearts despite their mother’s cruel and violent abuse toward their father. Status: adds to character development

Robert “Bob” Doral: 40-year-old best friend of Richard Dean and second cousin to Jane Dean. Bob is a very large man. He is over 6 and a half feet tall, probably closer to 6’7”. He weighs 340-350 pounds. He is all muscle. His biceps are like whiskey casks and his legs are like beer barrels. He has a shaved head and wears shirts with the sleeves cut off because they do not fit his arm size. He usually wears a cut off sleeveless t-shirt under a black frayed vest with shorts because pants do not fit his legs. Bob owns a local hardware store in Angel Bay.

He and Richard have been friends since kindergarten. Bob had, has, a gambling problem. In order to pay off his debt he had to work as an enforcer for the Mafia in New York for many years. He is ruthless in his approach and defense of Richard. Bob uses his size to his advantage in most if not all situations. He has no qualms or remorse about hurting others and on several occasions has used his hardware store truck to inflict pain onto others for many different reasons. He is a gentle giant that could tear a person apart if or when he needs to. Status: secondary protagonist and adds to character development.

Sam Ellis: 40-year-old best friend of Richard Dean. Sam is a master chief with the United States Navy. He joined the Navy as soon as he graduated high school in 1993. He is a career sailor who is very active with covert operations all around the world. Sam is home packing up his parent’s house in Angel Bay five years after they died in a drunk driving accident. His sister is a lesbian porn star living in Los Angeles. Sam lives in San Diego. He is the sole proprietor of his parent’s estate as his sister cut ties with the family when she left Angel Bay for LA.

Sam is rude, crass, and a little unorthodox in his approach to most situations but he is extremely well versed in covert operations. In the eyes of many governments around the world, including in the United States, Sam Ellis doesn’t “exist.” He “died” in 1993 in a Naval incident when the ship he was on collided with another vessel and he was “lost at sea.” In reality, he was selected to be a member of the elite Navy Seals shortly after his enlistment and given fifth freedom privilege in order to complete any and all mission whether legal or not.

He is calculating and ruthless in his approach. Sam has been married twice. Both ended in divorce. He is cordial with his two ex-wives and has triplets with his second wife. Sam is tall and lean, with sinewy muscle tone, Carmel skin due to being on a ship in the ocean for the last 22 years, piercing blue eyes and light blonde hair.

He is a blue-eyed devil with a sailor’s penchant for fun, sun, food and drink. There is no one better to have in your corner especially if you need someone to disappear. Status: secondary protagonist and adds to character development. Will be a recurring character in other Angel Bay stories.


Apollo Stone: Detective with the Angel Bay Police Department north district. He is in his 30’s and is a very jacked African American police officer.  Detective Stone has an unhealthy obsession with the Deans, particularly Jane. He is instigating a personal investigation into the whereabouts of Jane after she is released from a 72 hour hold at a local hospital. Her placement in the hospital was for a psychological evaluation and for her own safety as well as the safety of her husband.

While Apollo Stone is very much a by the book, on the straight and narrow, dedicated police professional this particular case of abuse and mistreatment by Jane onto Richard has Apollo using his investigation for personal means not for professional circumstances. He is infatuated with Jane. This case is deeply personal to him. It’s almost like she got into his blood and he can’t shake the addiction. Status: secondary antagonist and adds to character arch and character development.


Go deeper into Angel Bay

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Angel Bay Underworld Part Three

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