SPOILER ALERT: This “interview” contains a partial synopsis of Last Call at the Ringrose Pub.
Tell me about your book.
It’s called Last Call at the Ringrose Pub. It’s a suspense novel, and it runs to just over 77,000 words. You can buy it everywhere e-books are sold for $1.99.
Okay, fine. But what’s it about?
The story begins with ERICK PAPINEAU, a burned-out former taxi driver. When he lies to protect his girlfriend, he makes himself the prime suspect in a robbery. Her name is RACHEL. But she’s not really his girlfriend, she’s more like a friend with benefits.
There’s a difference. Rachel’s not just some bimbo. She’s a strong, independent woman.
Okay, okay. So he lies to protect this strong, independent woman.
Yes. She thinks she doesn’t need his help. She’s wrong.
Why is she wrong?
Because before it’s all over her website is hacked, her store is firebombed, and she’s run off the road and nearly killed by a beat up old van. Also she’s suspected of complicity in a homicide. She needs all the help she can get.
So Papineau wants to protect her. From who?
From ROBERT VAN HORNE. He’s Papineau’s old buddy and Rachel’s ex-husband, who never moved on after their divorce. He’s a mentally unstable alcoholic and he’s totally obsessed with Rachel. Van Horne is also the boss at Taxi Soleil, the taxi company where they both work. Papineau is afraid of Van Horne’s reaction if he finds out about him and Rachel.
It’s Rachel’s ex who firebombs her store?
No. She has other enemies. She has a sideline selling e-cigarettes to taxi drivers, and she’s in fierce competition with a criminal organization headed by a guy named JIMMIE HOYSENI who sells contraband smokes to the same market. Hoyseni is the one who bombs her store and tries to kill her.
Back up a minute. You said Papineau is the prime suspect in a robbery?
Yes. Thirty thousand dollars in taxi vouchers are stolen from his car while he’s upstairs in Rachel’s apartment. He lies about where he was at the time and he gets caught in the lie. Now the insurance investigator assigned to the case thinks he did it. He demands Papineau be fired and turned over to the police.
And Van Horne refuses to fire his old friend. For now. But at the same time he begins to suspect Papineau and Rachel are having an affair. In an obscene tirade he threatens to kill them both.
Who stole the vouchers?
Good question. Papineau and his friends spend a good part of the book trying to figure this out. Eventually they track down some of them in the hands of a disreputable taxi driver who has ties to Jimmie Hoyseni. Papineau confronts Hoyseni, who turns out to be a dangerous psychopath. Hoyseni threatens to kill them all.
Speaking of killing – what’s this about a homicide investigation?
A customer of Taxi Soleil is beaten to death shortly after she flees her abusive husband, a local bank manager. The police detective in charge is convinced the husband is guilty but the evidence is weak. He believes an employee of the taxi company told the husband where to find his wife and he thinks that employee is the key to cracking the case. He also thinks that person might be Rachel.
No. Of course not. She’s one of the good guys in this story.
Is there anything else I should know?
Yes. The bank manager who killed his wife is closely linked to Hoyseni. He launders his illegal cash, among other things.
This is getting complicated. Is there more?
Yes. Papineau goes to the memorial service for the homicide victim and he discovers that her mother, CINDY MADISON, is an old girlfriend who Van Horne brutally raped and impregnated while she was drunk and unconscious forty-two years ago. Now her daughter is dead and Cindy wants to find the man who raped her. She seeks retribution. She thinks Papineau knows who assaulted her. And she’s right, he does know. He was there.
That’s troubling. What does he do?
He doesn’t know what to do. He’s torn between his long-suppressed feelings of guilt about his complicity in this assault and his loyalty to Van Horne, who he believes saved his life when they were in high school. Basically, Papineau is a mess.
Okay, that’s enough. My head is spinning. How does all this end?
Read the book. It only costs a couple of bucks, you know.
Yeah, yeah. You haven’t mentioned the Ringrose Pub. It’s in the title. What’s up with that?
The Ringrose is fictional, but it’s modeled after a popular pub in the West End of Montreal. It’s basically a sketchy dive, and it’s where Papineau and his buddies hang out after work.
One more thing. Taxi Soleil – that’s French, right? Why does the taxi company have a French name?
Because the story takes place in Montreal, which is a bilingual city. It’s too complicated to explain here, but the city is like a character in the story and the French-English thing colors everything. You have to read the book to really get this.
It sounds like an action-packed story! I can’t wait to read it!
I was hoping you’d say that. It’s on sale everywhere e-books are sold. $1.99.
Note: This “interview” is a product of my imagination. It never happened.