Sunday, September 07, 2014

Off the Cuff and on the road: Words and a picture

("We Drive By Night," Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Photo by your humble blogkeeper, Peter Rozovsky)
Dietrich Kalteis discusses setting in his current Off the Cuff discussion, including some comments pertinent to his own novel Ride the Lightning, and once again, he illustrates the discussion with one of my noir photos.You can see the photo above; here's Dietrich:
"For me, Vancouver creates an interesting backdrop, partially because it hasn’t been overused. It’s also a busy seaport and tucked up against the US border, just begging for some crime fiction. Using where you live as a story’s setting makes it both easier for the writer and more convincing to the reader. When I wrote Ride the Lightning I also chose Vancouver because of the unusually high number of grow-ops here which served the story."
That tallied nicely with my remark when I wrote about the book that
"This novel, appropriately for a book under consideration at Detectives Beyond Borders, crosses the U.S.-Canada border, from Seattle to Vancouver, where most of the action happens. So Karl, the bounty hunter who loses his job and has to shift from the U.S. to Canada, muses that he expects less violence as compensation for his reduced income. (Karl states this in a more entertaining fashion, but this was an uncorrected galley, so no quotations allowed.)"
© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Blogger Philip Amos said...

Well, yes. However, while giving Vancouver its due, leave us not forget Abbotsford. This small city of some 130,000 mostly saved souls (it is, after all, the capital of the British Columbia Bible Belt) was the 'Murder Capital' of Canada for a few years and until recently. Much favoured by crime gangs, it only lost that distinction owing to a sudden epidemic of rival gang members killing one another, and so screwing up these outbursts of free-market monopoly capitalism, in one particularly shocking case by killing the completely innocent, that there just aren't enough of the champion teams left to hold onto the record.

Nor is this Abbotsford's only distinction in the field of crime. Circa 73% of the population state they adhere to a faith, almost all Christian, and almost all Christians fundamentalist evangelicals, and almost all those biblical literalists. If you are not of this persuasion, you must at least get used to complete strangers asking you if you believe in Jesus as your saviour and follow the scriptures in your daily life. Or, as I was for the first time in my life at age 50, asked, "Are you Jewish?" So erudite are these people that they think 'Amos' is a Jewish surname, which it's not, though I am one-quarter Jewish. I should, to clarify, say that you get used to it or, as in my case, respond with such a swingeing Philippic that I may well alone be responsible for a spike in the use of prescription sedatives in this delightful place.

Where's the crime in that? Well, I should say more accurately an aspect of crime to be explored, for Abbotsford breeds sex offenders like a Chinese rabbit farm breeds bunnies. Neither place nor time here to expand much on this, but the connection with fundamentalist religion is not hard to fathom. The abuse of descending as the wrath of God upon kids playing doctors and nurses is abusive and more arresting of normal development than sexual abuse of children by adults. Contra the myth, very, very few of the sexually or physically abused grow up to become abusers. But that sort of behaviour toward the play of children by parents, or others in some cases, will have a drastic effect upon the process of maturation thereon. And there's crime in that, therefore, in two ways.

Bear in mind also that Abbotsford is encircled by Federal prisons; it has, idiotically, a parole office; and, of course, a record number of churches, the prime preying grounds of paedophiles, primarily, though also rapists. I hardly need explain the implications, and results, of that.

Yes, I think for the crime writer, 'Abby' may be more interesting than Vancouver, one of the world's greatest boring cities.

September 08, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, I don't remember if Abbotsford gets a mention in Dietrich Kalteis' first novel, and I think his second book is wrapped up. But here's hoping he reads your comment and gets some ideas for his third.

September 08, 2014  

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