Darcy Lemarsh is pretty much a loser, an aimless young man currently working at a so-so painter. About all he has going for him is a nearly photographic memory. When he hooks up with hot waitress Angela Berry in the Owl, he thinks he’s doing pretty well. Of course at the time, Darcy never dreams that the wiring in Angie’s head wasn’t installed by a licensed electrician.
Through Angie, Darcy meets her elderly grandfather, Professor Jason Berry, a likable but hopeless old drunk who goes around spouting highfalutin quotations from literature.
In his small room filled with books, documents, papers and wine jugs — some full of wine, some full of piss — he sits in sweltering heat swathed in a heavy sweater with the window closed. His old typewriter sits amid other junk on a table, lifeless. The smell makes Darcy’s eyes water, but he’s tough.
Darcy and the Professor Berry hit it off, and Darcy enjoys sipping wine and listening to the old man, even though he hasn’t got a clue as to what Berry is talking about.
One day Angie and Darcy go visit the professor and he tells them he is going to have a novel published. He says he wrote five novels a number of years ago, but at the time, no one showed any interest. But in going over them, he decided they were pretty good and had his landlord mail off one to a publisher. The book was not only accepted, but the publisher believes it has real promise and wants Professor Berry to go on a promotional tour.
A promotional tour? Berry can’t even make it down the hall to the bathroom and he has the stains down the front of his pants to prove it. But Berry has a clever idea. No one knows what he looks like or how old he is. Cleaned up and with his excellent memory, Darcy can become The Author and no one will ever suspect. Berry feels he can teach Darcy enough pithy remarks to get him through interviews and signings.
Appalled at first by the very thought, Darcy allows Berry and Angie to seduce him with the promise of nice clothes, travel and money. Berry gets right to work teaching Darcy how to talk like an Author.
Unfortunately, just before the tour begins, Berry dies. During this time Angie has been growing increasingly paranoid, and following her beloved grandfather’s death she gets even worse. She begins to suspect that Darcy killed the old man out of greed, although Darcy assures he that he loved Berry as much as she did. It’s really too late to turn back now; the show must go on.
The tour begins all right but soon — in San Francisco — during a book signing, here comes trouble. A young man named Arthur shows up and claims that Berry stole the book from him. Here’s where things begin to twist sideways and turn ugly in this noir tail of deceit and murder.
ISBN 1-59431-913-8 or 978-1-59431-913-6
http://www.writewordsinc.com Cambridge Books