Monday, September 19, 2016

Imitation of a Dark Blond

Annamaria on Monday

It is Bouchercon Hiatus, during which the paperback of the new anthology Sunshine Noir will launch.  In the interests of fairness in the battle between bright writers and gloomy writers, I am reposting my close brush with a Scando author.  Look at this book cover and then look at his.  Read the opening paragraphs of his story, and you decide which you would rather read.





Bjorn Leggo-Saab Freudsen - Standing in for Annamaria on Monday

A fragment from my upcoming London Times bestseller: The Laughing Faceless Detective With the Frost Tattoo.

Dedicated
to
Everett Kaser
who, like me, lives in a gloomy place.



I rubbed my eyes, trying to force the image outside the car window to come into focus.
            I wished I had stayed with goop.  But it was illegal. The sticky, black-brown paste my brother cooked up in his lab at the university every Friday afternoon had had its base in hashish.  Hagar had spread it, still warm enough to be soft, onto cigarette papers, which we rolled and smoked.  Hagar had given it its American namegoop.
It lighted me up.
            If I could take a few hits on goop right now, this bleak landscape would assume the aspect of a brilliant minimalist painting. Even in this relentlessly somber light, where the color of the sky exactly matched the wet concrete pavement.
            If I were high on goop, this thin strip of blue water between the endless bands of grey would take on gleaming intensity.  Painful because it was the shade of Sigrid's eyes.  It reminded me of death.  One death I could not stop. And all the deaths I could not stop investigating.  Not even goop, with its silly American namesilly like all Americanscould erase my agony.
            It had, in the end, taken away Hagar's passionhis work at the university. He had been shamed into resigning.  "For using his laboratory to manufacture a banned substance," the letter from the Department Rector had said.  Hagar had taken his own life.
            I did not.  Coward that I am, I had turned to a weaker, but the only legal means of dulling my pain.  Drink.
            And so I never drive.  I look out the window while my partner drives us to the investigation of yet another death.  And I rub my drunken eyes.  And I try to bring into focus that thin stripe of blue between the interminable bands of grey.  And try not to see in it the color of Sigrid's eyes.
            "I think it's the next turning on the left," Nils said.  "Can you see the spinning light of the squad car through the mist?"
            I could not. "Yes," I said.



27 comments:

  1. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Well, except for one VERY minor thing. Almost not worth mentioning. In the dedication, 'gloomy' should be 'goopy'. But other than that, perfect. No one could have constructed anything more perfect. Well... except maybe one other thing. In the dedication, it shouldn't be 'goopy', it should be 'goofy'. Then it would certainly be perfect. Not only perfect, but existentially unique. Well... except maybe ONE tiny, trivial, not-even-really-a-thing: if the laughing faceless detective was wearing a long white slinky dress of silk, or no, of nylon, exposing his hairy legs, then that one little Freudsenian slip would bring total perfection to an otherwise perfect piece!

    But... now my life will be incomplete. I *want* to read this novel!!! Will the body be lying on a therapy couch? Or posed in the driver's seat of a Saab sedan made from Legos? Is the victim the first-bjorn son of a sailor man? Tonight will be a sleepless night...

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    1. EvKa, you were the inspiration for this. And DEFINITELY the body will be lying on a therapy couch. People in long white slinky dresses always make me think of Faye Wraye in the hand of King Long atop the Empire State Building, screaming, "Let me go. Let me go."
      But, I promise, when we make the movie of "The Frost Tattoo," there will be no plunging except for your neckline.

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    2. "The Frost Tattoo" makes me think of a dead dwarf in a freezer on Fantasy Island...

      As for my plunging neckline, that's fairly passé amongst today's headlines... fairly nauseating, too.

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  2. Brilliant, AA! You've captured the goopy, gloomy essence of what Sunshine Noir saably lacks.

    Though some of us do manage to find roles for EvKa types in slinky silk frocks.

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    1. Bro, we are casting you as the psychiatrist and a suspect.

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  3. I now have an image in my head of EvKa in a silky frock. I am in a dark place indeed.

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    1. Caro, Fair warning then. Don't read my reply to EvKa. You'll need to smoke a whole joint of goop to get over the images it invokes.

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  4. This is hilarious. Good work, Annamaria!

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    1. Thank you, Triss. I must admit, I giggled a LOT while working on it.

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  5. Annamaria, this is a writer to be watched. If he adds in some furniture shopping at Ikea and a lot more coffee, he could be headed for the big time. However, I did hear a rumor that this is actually a pseudonym for TWO writers collaborating on the work by writing alternate words. I await developments.

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    1. Michael, Bjorn is an elusive guy. I think that bit about goop is autobiographical. Maybe that stuff splits the personality, which could lead to such a rumor.

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  6. Maybe EvKa in the slinky silks BENEATH the therapy couch reaking of his last imbibed substance. Excellent, AA!

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    1. Juno, good idea. I will pass your suggestion on to Bjorn, if he every comes down from his high.

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  7. Oh how I wish I had your wit, Annamaria! The book will be very funny!

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. I must confess that I giggled a lot while writing this post. The people who write for this blog and who read it an join in with comments are so full of fun and wit, it's a pure pleasure to join in.

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  8. Somehow, through a Herculean (as opposed to Poirotian) effort, I'd managed to forget this classic column. For just a second, you had me checking my calendar to see if it was April 1st already. Still hilarious the second time around.

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    1. By the way, have you ever read "Maisie Dobbs"? I'd never even heard of the series (or the author, Jacqueline Winspear) until a couple of the books showed up on Amazon's Daily Deal. I'm 80% through the first book and loving it. If you've not read it, I heartily recommend it. Set in 1910-1929, Maisie Dobbs is a woman of poor origins who rises to a good education, becomes a nurse in WW I, and eventually becomes a psychologist and investigator. I've no idea how the rest of the series will be (12 books so far), but the first one is quite good.

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    2. I will get it. It sounds like something right up my street! THANK YOU!

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  9. Aaaugh! I can't take sides in this hairy dilemma.

    However, I know that the cover of Sunshine Noir has a very eye-catching design. And it's upbeat. It makes me want to rush (where? when?) to get a copy and plow into it.

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    1. Kathy, the updated paperback will be available at Amazon on Saturday. It is listed now, but I'd wait a couple of days to get the update - just some minor formatting improvements, no content changes.

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    2. Kathy, I think you will enjoy the collection. It's a trip around the world with a diverse group of crime writers--many voices, viewpoints! And styles. But all well done.

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  10. Well, that sunny cover makes the book quite enticing.

    Can't wait to read it.

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  11. Can you please post when it'll be the best time to order the book?

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    1. Kathy, it is available in paperback and eBook right now. You can order it from any of the on-line bookstores--Amazon, B&N, etc. If you want a paperback and prefer to buy from a local bookstore, they can order it for you. OR can get it at a discount from the website of Strand Magazine.

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  12. OK, either Amazon or I go to B&N.

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