Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Remain In Light"

Collin Kelley is the author of the novel Conquering Venus and the poetry collections Better To Travel, After the Poison, Slow To Burn and the forthcoming Render. His new mystery/suspense novel, Remain In Light, is a 2012 finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction.

Kelley applied the Page 69 Test to Remain In Light and reported the following:
Page 69 isn’t representative of the mystery and intrigue of Remain In Light, but it does give a glimpse into the complicated personal lives of the main characters. Young expat American writer Martin Paige lives with Parisian widow Irène Laureux. They are searching for the man, Frederick Dubois, who killed Irène’s husband 30 years earlier during the 1968 student/worker riots, but have been road blocked by government cover-ups and sinister elements of France’s organized crime syndicate. Martin is casually involved with his neighbor, bookstore owner Euan McEvoy, but despite Irène’s urgings Martin isn’t interested in a committed relationship. When Diane Jacobs, Martin’s mouthy best friend from America, shows up looking for a place to live, it creates tension.

Irène has encouraged Martin to move across the hall and live with Euan, but Martin believes it will give Euan false hope about their relationship. Instead, Martin proposes something else.
“Martin, you spend many nights at Euan’s,” Irene said. “What is the difference?”

“There is a difference,” Martin said. “It may seem like a small gesture to you, but to Euan it will be huge. I said we were going to try and make it work. ‘Try’ being the optimum word. I don’t want to give him false hope.”

“Oh, Jesus,” Diane muttered. “Well, I’ll just trot back over to the hotel and give them my last shekels. Don’t mind me.”

“This is insane,” Irène said. “You can’t live at the hotel.”

They heard a knock at the front door and Euan called out a greeting as he let himself in. Euan came into the kitchen and stopped short when he saw the three of them standing there. “I changed my mind about the cinema,” he said. “I thought you were flying back across the pond today, Diane.”

“I think I might be staying on a little longer.”

“How long?”

“Forever,” Diane said in a looming voice.

“Oh...really…” Euan said, forcing a smile.

“Yes, indeedy. The Jewess is here to stay and needs a job and a place to live.”

Euan, always taken aback by Diane’s brassy ways, had no comment.

“You have an extra bedroom, Euan,” Martin said. “Why don’t you rent it out?”

Euan cut his eyes at Martin. “Well…I…I barely know Diane. Couldn’t she stay here with Irène?”

“We’ve come full circle,” Diane said. “This hot potato is going back to the hotel and cut a deal with the old man there. Maybe I can scare him into hiring me as a maid.”

Diane left the kitchen and they all stood staring at each other until they heard the front door close.

Euan was outraged. “Staying at my flat for a few nights is one thing, but offering it to her permanently is outrageous. Just because she arrives with no resources doesn’t mean we have to accommodate her.”
Diane is actually in Paris working with a detective to find David McLaren, who happens to be Martin’s unstable ex-boyfriend. Diane doesn’t want David to interrupt Martin’s new life in Paris and reignite their volatile affair, but she discovers that David’s disappearance is connected to drugs, government secrets and possibly the elusive Frederick Dubois.
For more about Remain In Light and the author, visit Collin Kelley's website, his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue