Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Raymond Chandler knows me!

I have found the perfect description of myself, courtesy of an article Raymond Chandler wrote in 1950, "The Simple Art of Murder" --

The detective story ... is  usually about murder and hence lacks the element of uplift. Murder, which is a frustration of the individual and hence a frustration of the race, may have, and in fact has, a good deal of sociological implication. But it has been going on too long for it to be news. If the mystery novel is at all realistic (which it very seldom is) it is written in a certain spirit of detachment; otherwise nobody but a psychopath would want to write it or read it.

Honey, the final part of that last sentence is me to a psychopathic "TH." Having some space forced on me by this last job has been very useful. I can see The Vanishing of Owen Taylor is fighting to be realistic when I'm worried and trying to keep it within the vague norms of the detective novel. So it repeats itself and rambles and scores some vicious points, and it would all come together if I'd just accept that Jake refuses to be detached from the emotional core boiling under the surface. I am the madman through which his story is being told.

It's about so much more than just Owen's disappearance and the solving of the mystery surrounding him; it's about a society crashing into conflict over the future, and manipulations by those who think they are, and who are, in control. It's about a man questioning his decision to love someone he isn't sure loves him back, even though deep down he knows he has no choice in that love. It's about building a family that's strong and caring and supportive when your own blood relations have abandoned you. It's about maintaining your sense of integrity, no matter what, even in the face of a horrifying truth.

Suddenly there's a very real possibility Jake will never return to Copenhagen. He's got the balls and the ability to counter the growing conflict. This book is only a skirmish in a long-term war...and more battles need to be addressed. And my Jake would lead the fight, not run.

Do I sound grandiose enough, yet?

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