Wednesday, October 3, 2018

"Charlesgate Confidential"

Scott Von Doviak is the author of three books on film and pop culture: Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema, If You Like The Terminator, and Stephen King Films FAQ.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Charlesgate Confidential, his debut novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“So about eight or ten people decided to take you up on your offer. It was as if I had brought home an exotic animal specimen and everyone wanted to get a look before the zookeeper showed up to take you home. Any of this ringing a bell?”

“Um…did I flip somebody off?”

“Oh, you flipped everybody off.”
In some ways, page 69 is representative of Charlesgate Confidential. It’s largely comprised of dialogue, and this is a dialogue-intensive novel. We’re being told a story through a conversation between two characters, a time-honored technique of the Boston crime genre dating back to The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins. In this case, the two characters are college students who had taken their new fake IDs for a test run at a local bar the night before. Tommy Donnelly, a journalism student investigating the mysterious history of the Charlesgate building, overindulged a bit and is now paying the price.

The page is only partially representative, however, as the story of Charlesgate Confidential unfolds in three distinct time periods. Tommy is the protagonist of the 1986 storyline, set during a time when the Charlesgate building is a college dormitory, but the story also takes us to 1946, when the former hotel has been taken over by the Mob, and to 2014, when a murder is under investigation at the Charlesgate luxury condos. A random page from one of those other chapters might have been more violent or pulpy, or featured dialogue more suited to either the ‘40s or the present day. One of the fun things about writing (and, I hope, reading) the novel is the way it bounces around these different eras, weaving a crime story about an unsolved art heist out of various strands of the building’s history.
Visit Scott Von Doviak's website.

--Marshal Zeringue