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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide No escape from reality”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”

On the third of July I played a song from the band Queen. Soon I was surrounding myself with the music of four musicians who, I believe, have no equal in Rock & Roll history. The delivery system of the music is unimaginable to my 10 year old self. 37 years later the phonograph in the basement is a four by three rectangle that doubles as an internet browser and phone, complete with ear buds.
And better yet, I can go on-line and ask 1,000 of my closest friends, what song moves you?

Five to one it is the ballad. The one song we all see when we remember the death of lead singer Freddy Mercury. I ask you again to look at my quote from said song. I cannot even imagine what Mr. Mercury would have thought of the technology available to us now. I do imagine Freddie would chuckle and shudder at the same time to the obligatory playing of “We are The Champions My Friend” at each and every sport event ever.

But this post isn’t about music. It’s about change. Five years ago my father gave me a day planner for Christmas. It had four times the Ram of our first “home computer”. Now, it’s a free for all. Information delivered not 24/7 but every second. It’s remarkable, scary and often it’s either wrong or trite. Traditional news is biased. The twitter world will tell a story in a minute but beware the veracity. Mind the influences. Five Russian spies caught. Is that a conquest of some sort? Is it really even news?

Now comes the meat of my musings, or so I hope. A few weeks ago my friend Jen Forbus interviewed the brilliant writer (also friend) Michael Koryta. She asked him about touring in Europe. Michael replied that the reason he enjoyed touring in Europe was that people asked the socio-political questions. Last week, here in Milwaukee I saw another author kindly answer the question “ Are book tours a new marketing tool?”

Everyone who loves crime-fiction knows that it has always and does today, reflect what’s going on in the world. Anyone who’s ever written a book worth the paper it’s printed upon has something to say. From commandments to mores to truths, in ideology, a Murder Book reflects the opinion of the writer.
Whether you’ve grieved for Lehane’s protagonists or your heart’s been broken looking for bodies amongst the ashes in Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series; if you’ve wept with Joe Pike (and only the one time) or held your breath with Michael Connelly…. Crime Fiction is as it always was. A set of diverse writers writing of impossible situations somehow always leading their reader to a truth.
From RED HARVEST to SO COLD THE RIVER, there’s an overall feeling of righteousness.

That not all is right is apparent in works from Chandler to Hurwitz. A test of times if you will. Whether crime is personally motivated or imposed by society…. People have been watching since the printing press was born. Charlie Huston has written of SLEEPLESS this year, Megan Abbott wrote of truth long hidden in BURY ME DEEP last year. A ying and a yang if you will, for those of us who chose to continue to think. For now, more than ever, I believe it is only in the commitment to a book that we get any closer to ourselves.

Finding viable news sources is rare. Finding fact even rarer.

God bless the writers who allow us the power of free will. Thank you for the stories that make me look beyond the headlines. I am not a fan of the twenty second sound-bite even if I have great friends who explained to me the cycle years ago.

There’s a danger in America right now. Having the money for a smart phone does not necessarily make us smart. But in my fiction, “words and paper, baby”, I have always found something substantive to think about.
So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here

“Bohemian Rhapsody”