It’s hard to describe the novel without spoiling it, or giving you the wrong impression. Unlike my other books, it’s not light and hardy-har. It’s pulp. A tribute to old Minneapolis, to the newspapers of the day. The result of marinating in 40s culture all these years. An answer to the question “what if Holmes and Watson were hard-boiled characters?”
None of that really matters. It’s an adventure. I wrote the whole book standing up late at night, and it tumbled out one scene after the other, like a movie that kept me from sleeping because I had to know how it ended. Maybe all you need to know is this:
It’s a warm summer night. You’re standing on the street corner downtown; the movie theater marquees are bright, the crowd’s good for a Thursday, and you just put your date on the trolley. You know you should go home. But you know that if you walk back to the bar where the story began, you’d find Harry sitting at the table where the girl was shot, studying the room, looking for angles, wondering why. Rachel, that was her name. Rachel didn’t belong. Rachel shouldn’t have been there.
But Rachel explained everything, Harry said. Who were you to disagree? You just took the pictures.
Your trolley came; you let it go. You headed back to the Casablanca Bar.