I’m about 120 pages into A Cold Day to Drown and this might be my best story yet.
That’s not to say that the first draft is any good. The exact manifestations of Talbot’s anxiety disorder have transformed radically three times. A scene I had planned for months feels completely wooden and will need to be almost completely re-written in the next draft, while two scenes that were only vague plotted turned out far better than I had expected. That said, even the good scenes will need polish. Transitions have always been awkward for me and A Cold Day to Drown is no exception. I often find my characters spending too long approaching a scene or I drop them into the middle with no explanation.
But that’s what second (and third) drafts are for.
I do think that this book will probably end up as a mailing list / Patreon exclusive for the first year or so. Tal is very soft spoken (a legacy of his rearing) but he is surrounded by despicable characters. This is absolutely a crime novel and I am a little hesitant about releasing it without a publisher’s backing. So, if you want to venture into The City and follow an anxiety riddled, knife-obsessed, nightclub dwelling private fixer through the choked streets of post-plague post-America, sign up for my mailing list ASAP.
As of tonight’s work, Talbot has just taken refuge from a hurricane in the home of a client. She’s not exactly pleased he is there, but given recent (bloody) events, he doesn’t have much choice in places to wait out the storm.
Her voice sounds like sheets of sandpaper rubbing together and an intermittent stream of smoke rises from her lips as she asks, “Did you break my door?”
The girl starts shouting an exaggerated description of the damage. I ignore her and silently trudge forward to the formica tabletop, hauling the smaller children with me.
“If I wanted you here I would have invited you, but seeing as you’re here…” she trails off and waves the cigarette at the chair across the table.
I fix her with a scowl, then look down meaningfully at the three kids who are still screaming and clutching ineffectually at my legs. Standing there, holding the shotgun awkwardly across my chest so the clamoring children cannot reach it, I feel something like a pioneer of old might have as he strode across a river ford while keeping his powder dry.
“Get off, ya little buggers,” she drawls. When the kids stay she half rises, leaning across the table and gesturing with her cigarette. “Davos, Hammett, Trent, you don’t get off Mr. Liu’s leg’s you’ll be on bread and protein spread for a week. Now bug off to your room.”
My new appendages detach themselves and, with some mutters of protest, leave the kitchen.
“That good enough?” she asks, settling back into her chair.
“I’m still not happy about this,” I say, proffering the shotgun. I step up to the table and deftly open the breech, ejecting an orange shell which clatters to the tabletop and nearly lands in Ethie’s ashtray. I pump the gun rapidly, ejecting eight more shells before the magazine is clear, then slam the emptied weapon down on the tabletop.
Ethie watches me impassively.
When I’m done she shrugs and parks the cigarette in a corner of her mouth.
“You’re upset about the shotgun.”
“Just a little.”