This offbeat romantic comedy novel – perhaps verging on urban fantasy – was originally conceived as a Coen Brothers style screenplay in around 2005, when I was in a phase of screenplay writing, as opposed to novels.
When I was trawling old notes in about 2017, even though I was falling in love with the spec fiction genre, I felt this story needed to be written. That said, I was nervous about trying to novelise something which was conceived as a very visual piece. I had to find a very different ‘voice’ to try to make it jump off the page, to do justice to the very quirky nature of the characters and the story.
I think I succeeded, and readers’ comments to date have been favourable.
I published it on Amazon on 2nd October 2019 (my wife’s birthday… awwww).
Esmond Belcher has been struck by lightning. This is good news.
Not for Esmond Belcher; for Beckman Spiers.
With the worst territory of all the salesmen at the Pegasus Corporation, Beckman has struggled for eleven years to hit the coveted Number One Salesman spot. With just a week to go until this year’s winner is crowned, he’s now up to Number Two. Yet arch rival Tyler Quittle remains out front.
Then he stumbles upon Sunrise, a town not on any map. A town where his product sells. A town where quirky is a way of life.
Could this be his year? Every past winner has left the firm, seemingly wealthy and happy, and moved on to better things. So much so, they’ve never been heard from again.
After all, what could possibly be another explanation?
Tow Away Zone is a romantic comedy in monochrome and colour. A tale of honesty and dishonesty. An enchantment of neon lights, punctures, killer lizards, private detectives, and the finest root beer in America.
Beckman tendered the handful of notes.
‘You might want to get someone to fix up your sign.’
The neanderthal looked like he’d been asked to explain recent developments in quantum theory. Finally, large metal rods engaged with vast cogs and the whole Victorian construction eased into life.
‘Harg’ll do it.’
‘Harg’s who fixes the sign.’
Beckman quickly realised two things. (1) the sign freaking out was far from an unusual occurrence and (2) Harg wasn’t the guy’s real name; there was almost certainly a story behind it, and (3) if he wasn’t careful, he’d be on the receiving end of that story.
‘Have a nice day,’ Beckman offered emptily, and quickly made himself scarce.
He popped the trunk of the white ‘09 Buick, checked what he already knew, which was that the sea of small plain cardboard boxes left no space for a travel case, smacked the lid closed, pulled open the rear door and set his valise on the bench seat.
Sinking into the well-worn driver’s perch, he flicked the visor down against the morning sun. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and he sensed another roasting late June Monday of interminable disappointments.
After a beat, the engine caught and he swung onto the blacktop.
It was the top of the hour, the hour was nine, and the radio announced that there were news headlines. They all washed over him unheard. One topic commanded his mind.
Belcher was dead.
It wasn’t great news, especially for Belcher. He’d been a decent enough guy, never given Beckman a bad word – which couldn’t be said for everyone else on the Pegasus sales force – and been far from shabby when it came to peddling their product. That was what had gotten him up the rankings to Number Two.
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