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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Third Installment Soundtrack

Inevitably, I will always look back on my fifth novel as “the Covid-19 book.” Being required to stay at home for weeks—while not forgetting the toll the pandemic has taken around the world—only accelerated my work on the final installment of the Dallas Green trilogy.

A couple of days ago I hit that most satisfying of milestones. I reached the end of my first draft. Experience informs me that much work—actually the hardest labor—still lies ahead, but it’s an exhilarating feeling to have the entire story, such as it is, committed to stored keystrokes. There will be much polishing, rewriting, deleting, inserting and fretting to come.

This will be the longest of my books. Current word count exceeds 118,000. Estimated number of printed pages is 357. There are 35 chapters. Unusually for me, I have reached this point without having definitively settled on a title. Just this morning in the shower I did settle on my preferred title, but I am not sure it is a practical and/or serviceable one. Chapter titles, on the other hand, are fairly firm but always subject to change.

In November I posted a Spotify playlist to accompany The Curse of Septimus Bridge. It consisted of tracks that were meant to evoke the various moods of the book as well as pay homage to my inspirational sources. It also included songs mentioned in the novel. In the process of compiling it, I was delighted to find tracks that actually matched some of the book’s chapter titles and characters’ names, including Septimus and Justine and even such tricky ones as Astaroth, Izanami and Koschei. Lately I began wondering it would be possible to match all the chapter titles in the new book to song titles.

The result is a new Spotify playlist for [insert title here], which also gives loyal blog readers a first approximate look at the novel’s table of contents.



Most of the track titles are exact matches. Some (“Brónagh,” “The Funeral,” “Rabbit Huntin’ ”) are nearly exact. Others (“Obscure B.A.,” “My Other Job”) are as close as I could get but no Cuban cigar. “Reporting His Own Murder” is just a ridiculous inclusion, but it was the best I could do.

A couple of the songs (Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro,” “The Letter” by the Box Tops) will be widely familiar. Many were for me happy finds of music I had not previously known, particularly “Algeciras” by the Finnish band Katseet Kertovat. A happy coincidence is the inclusion of Apparat’s eerie “Goodbye,” which also happens to the opening music for the supernatural German series Dark (available on Netflix), with which I have become addicted and obsessed.

Enjoy the music. I can only hope the eventual book lives up to the promise of its improvised soundtrack. I should have much, much more to say about the new book going forward.