Some of you have asked me what this novel is all about. A just question, and if you’ve agreed to accompany me on this journey, it’s only fair that I should share with you, dear reader, the basics of my favourite obsession for the past 5 years.
The tentative title is The Perpetual Now. Call it a coming-of-age-in-a-small-town-crime-mystery-with-an-underpinning-of-sci-fi story. (Oh no, not another one of those!!!)
The novel is set in the fictional Northern Ontario town of Ferguston (population 10,070). Ferguston is a hole in every sense of the word: small, intolerant, economically stagnant, often violent but otherwise never really eventful. It’s certainly not the place where you’d expect reality itself to get turned on its head. And when it does, it’s a lot to take in for a 12 year-old.
Justin Lambert is a bookish, introverted son of a local school teacher, and a bit of a celebrity for the wrong reason: like it or not, he’s connected to the biggest unsolved mystery in Ferguston’s checkered history. Justin’s mom vanished a decade ago while driving home from a dinner party, leaving an inconsolable husband and young son behind. Most townsfolk (Justin’s dad, Martin, included) have had good reason to suspect foul play; they even have a potential culprit in mind.
Fast forward nearly 10 years, and during an unusually hot summer peppered with random bouts of head-shaking weirdness, something is happening in Ferguston. After a decade of watching his beloved dad spiral slowly into despondency and quiet resignation, Justin stumbles over fresh evidence that may finally resolve the painful mystery of his missing mom. Re-energized by this discovery, father and son eagerly pursue every lead they see (of think they see) in the hope of uncovering the three things that have eluded them all these years: a final answer to what happened 10 years ago, justice for those responsible, and a sense of closure.
Looming over their shoulders is notorious local trouble-maker and wannabe gangster David Raymond (or D-Ray, as he calls himself), for ten years the one (unofficial) suspect in the disappearance. Now his name is being whispered around town again, and he’s is pissed about it. D-Ray is a violent, damaged person with a nasty temper and dangerous connections, and he has the Lamberts squarely in his sights.
Finally, thrown into the mix is a strange little girl named Billie. Justin isn’t sure at first if Billie is gifted, severely challenged, or just looking for attention, but she’s a much-needed friend and ally in a town where they are few and far between. She also has an awfully big secret which, when she reveals it to Justin, is nothing short of earth shattering, and changes Justin’s life and worldview forever.
That’s the gist of it; I could see a shortened version of this on the dust-jacket. Meanwhile, I’ll be posting the occasional excerpts, out-takes, and stuff about my research (with pictures!) in the weeks to come, so stay tuned.