Resigned to twiddling my thumbs for a month or three, until the over stabled, off-and-on (yet always respected) agent arrives at the thriller opus, I took it upon myself to create a couple maps to guide the intrepid reader along... to go with the A Beautiful Case of the Blues (ABCOB) artwork tattoo artist 2Peng and I created during stormswept Boracay closure (pandemic training wheels?) way back in 2018.
Being somewhat over-exuberantly enthused about the text––taking inspiration from the lengthy serialists of yore, from Tolstoy to Dickens––I recently submitted the book to the online magazine Narrative, which has a prominent place for serialized longform fiction. They require such a thing, so a short summary of ABCOB was created, to wit:
"A throwback, a way forward. This book, 15 years in the making, draws together two distinct plot lines that converge around seemingly unrelated events––a love hotel murder and the kidnapping of an English teacher in Japan. Set vividly in 2007, at the cusp of the iPhone era, the multifaceted plot brings an aging detective on the verge of retirement together with a detective who is just starting on the force and facing brisk institutional headwinds.
Add to this brew a high class Latvian hostess, an American English teacher, a biochemistry researcher, the band Modal Pilaf, Bar Same Same, Club Peach, and a dozen vividly recurring characters. Set them on a Roppongi-centered course that combines elements of LeCarre, Chandler, Hammett, Doyle, Christie, Nesbo, Steinbeck, Tolstoy, and Kerouac. Give them wings to fly toward an ending that threatens the spread of a viral infection that could cause war between Japan and North Korea. Is it too vague? Purposefully so. The plot is logical, forwardly propulsive, relevant to our times, and includes enough breadcrumbs for amateur sleuths to get a kick out of trying to solve."
Whatever the merits of the summary and the book, it beats trying to ascertain whether someone is a Trump or Biden supporter, based on the contents of their refrigerator. It also helps fend off any sense of nerve-rattling loss of self control in these sanity-shredding moments before some kind of politiwhirl sea change.