Hey, good to see you again. It’s been a while, right. Where the hell have you been? Me, I’ve been around, working on things. Want a beer, or maybe something stronger? Sure. Hey, remember that time with the two girls from Serbia and the donkey with the hat that . . . . Ah forget it. Some things are better forgotten, right? But not everything.
So I’ve got this friend I keep in touch with, we’ll call him Pete because that’s his name. I phone Pete now and then to see how he’s doing, how life is treating him. We talk about my kids, his work, how our friends are holding up. We don’t discuss the mysteries of life, our fears of death, the dark perversions at the base of our souls, it’s not that kind of call. We pretty much are calling to make sure we’re both still alive. We live in different parts of the country and don’t see each other much, but my life wouldn’t be the same if anything happened to Pete.
That’s sort of the way it is with Jon Willing and the two great pals from his childhood, Augie and Ben. They call each other every week just to say hello and make sure they’re each still alive. But it’s not just about the love Jon feels for the others, though the love is surely there. No, for Jon Willing, safely ensconced in a swell suburban life, the purpose of the calls is a bit starker. Jon calls Augie and Ben because he knows if each of them is still alive that means they all continue to have gotten away with it.
And then one day Jon calls his friend Augie out in Vegas and there is no answer. And Jon flies out to find out why. And what he discovers is . . . well, that’s the beginning of my new novel, The Accounting. It’s a story of friendship, and crime, and lies: the lies we tell ourselves to make it through the day, the lies we tell others to cover our tracks, the lies that twist our lives into knots. And, of course, the trouble we get into when the truth starts chasing us with a hatchet.
As you might know, I took some time off from writing to recharge the batteries and remind myself how lucky I am to be able to do this. And the story I wrote when I started again, this story, could be classified as a suburban thriller, if you need such classifications. I was raised in the suburbs, and I’ve raised my children in the suburbs, and one of the things that always ticks me off is when the suburbs are depicted as this monolithic wasteland. A wasteland they might be, but there is nothing monolithic about them. Behind every picture window is a story as brutal and full of passion as anything that can be imagined by cityfolk, you just have to be willing to peek behind the curtains.
So let’s. Together.