Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


Slake LA sets Mystery Thriller in the Valley

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

I love fantasy as much as the next guy (Lord of the Rings, anyone? The Hobbit?) but I just get a kick out of fiction with just a hint of reality thrown in.

Today, I got an email from Slake announcing the inclusion of their psychological noir piece "Fifty Minutes" in The Best American Mystery Stories 2012. Though how the story was created was an interesting tidbit itself, what caught my eye were tantalizing references to my neighborhood: Moorpark, Laurel Canyon, Burbank...

Here's how the story came to be in Slake's words:

The collaboration between Slake co-editor Joe Donnelly and Harry Shannon began when Harry emailed Joe the first line of the story and signed off with Your turn. The pair, longtime friends, tossed the piece—a gun-point dialogue between a psychologist and a distraught “patient”—until it was finished.

Here's how the story begins:

The client is a balding, sunburned man with soft, forgettable features. Running late, he enters the office at 7:02 p.m. and nearly knocks a small Buddha statue from its wooden base. He closes the waiting room door behind him and pauses, unsure of the protocol. From behind his desk, Dr. Bell watches intently. Experience has taught him that a new client will give you 90 percent of what you need just walking through the door. Dr. Bell sees that Mr. Potter is mildly agitated—perspiration rings the armpits of his Hawaiian-print shirt and his breathing is rapid. Not unusual for a first-timer, Dr. Bell thinks. The psychotherapist smiles wryly and motions for Potter to sit on the green couch. Mr. Potter collapses into the cushions and sets his leather shoulder bag in front of him. His khaki slacks are a size behind the times. 
“How long does this last?” Mr. Potter asks. “An hour?” 
“Fifty minutes,” Dr. Bell says pleasantly. 
The new client stares at Dr. Bell for a moment, takes a deep breath, and pulls a small-caliber pistol from under his shirt. 
“Fine,” Mr. Potter says, waving the gun at Dr. Bell. “Then you have fifty minutes to live.”
 Read the rest on Slake


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