Tuesday, December 25, 2007

David Fulmer's "The Blue Door"

David Fulmer is the author of, among other works, the acclaimed Storyville mysteries featuring Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr. The first volume of the series, Chasing the Devil's Tail, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Mystery/Thriller Book Prize and the winner of the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel.

He applied the "Page 99 Test" to his new novel The Blue Door, and reported the following:
Once again, I lucked out, this time with page 99 of The Blue Door.

It's a scene - something of a confrontation, in fact - between Eddie Cero, the main character, and Valerie Pope, his nemesis. Or at least she is at this point. The setting is South Philadelphia in the spring of 1962.

The back story here is that Eddie halted his boxing career after being cut badly, and then stumbled into a job working for detective Sal Giambroni. Sal sent him to a club called the Blue Door to do some surveillance, and it's there that he saw and heard Valerie singing sad songs for the cocktail crowd. Seeing her piqued his interest in the unsolved disappearance of her brother Johnny, the lead singer and the songwriter for a hot R&B group called the Excels. That's R&B in the 1940s-1960s sense, by the way.

Valerie has learned that Eddie has been poking around the disappearance of Johnny, which happened three years prior. She first tells him to back the hell off and leave her family's private business private. When he won't relent, she issues a clipped invitation for him to meet her at fried chicken joint, hoping to take to run him off once and for all.

Page 99 is the heart of this scene and the beginning of a dance between these two that will play out as a powerful dramatic thread through the rest of the narrative.
Read Chapter One from The Blue Door and learn more about the author and his writing at David Fulmer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue