New blog series! I've been searching through the previous manuscripts to fact check myself as I work on Hellhound, and it's reminded me how much I enjoyed writing them. I thought it would be fun to share my reminiscing with you guys, each Thursday, with a look back at some of my favorite scenes from the older books, and provide a little "DVD Extra" content to go along with it. If anyone has a scene you'd like me to talk about specifically, please don't hesitate to drop me a line and I'd be happy to discuss it here.
Today: Price of Angels
As of now, this is still my favorite of the series. I was so pleased with the writing and I feel like I said exactly what I wanted to say, which sometimes can be difficult. One of my favorite moments is the beginning of chapter two, which begins:
Matches. Michael kept innumerable packets of the things in his gun safe at home, all lined up in rows in a shoebox. Matches from restaurants and liquor stores, saved up over the years. Matches were the trick to this whole operation. He collected them like rare stamps. Because without them, he’d just be putting a body in a hole, and that was too crude and negligent to serve his purpose.
It always started with the digging...
The whole sequence, Michael burying the body, was something I was really eager to include, one of my non-negotiables. I love the matter-of-fact, complete detachment of the moment. That macabre stillness. Michael, though he's been called boring, I guess because he isn't wild and doesn't say much, is my favorite kind of character. The self-contained, efficient, skilled, powder keg kind of guy. I could write essays on those characters for days. In a way, the entire book is my (insufficient) love letter to the charmless antiheros of the (fictional) world. I find them pretty charming, to be honest.
He's one of those characters who, if filmed, would be a study in body language. Not so much expressionless, but still. I've had this conversation, more than once, about actors and actresses who aren't merely attractive, but interesting to watch. Some indefinable quality that makes them fascinating, whether they're in the midst of a dramatic monologue, or sorting mail. They've got It. Anyone can be blank-faced and brutish, but in my mind, Michael is a character who has It, who is so watchable, who moves in a deliberate, focused way. You can see the life behind the mask. Trying to convey that, that sense of visual interest, was one of my major writing goals with that book, and I can only hope I succeeded. In my head I've planned all the angles and close-ups of that burial scene dozens of times.