"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Hightown 1.2: Sludge and Sun

What's becoming even more clear in Hightown 1.2 is how vulnerable, flawed, anti-heroic, take your pick, the two main heroes, Jackie and Ray, are.   This makes the story more realistic, more intriguing, as appealing in its narrative as in its Cape Cod locale.

Jackie gets into a fight in rehab, because she can't resist an attractive patient that another patient had her eye on.  Fortunately, she's able to leave, but that leaves her less likely to resist drinking, which she nonetheless manages to resist.  And she manages to get to Barnstable to pursue a lead in the murder case.

Ray doesn't yet know that Jackie is working on this, and he has problems of his own.  He's falling for Renee, masturbating as he listens to her and Frankie, unable to resist walking into her club, while she's working, until he sees that Osito is there, too.  When he later confronts Renee about that, she realizes he was spying on her, and of course is none too happy with that.  The course of true lust never did run smooth, and there may be something deeper than lust in their feelings.

The important thing for both Jackie and Ray - what'll help them keep their heads above water - is making progress on the murder.  But their adversaries on the Cape, as beautiful as it is, are a nasty, ugly bunch.   Osito seems always on the verge of killing someone.  And his boss Frankie is one tough operator. 

Junior is right in the middle of these flawed good guys and unremitting bad guys.  He dumped Sherry's body but wants out of that work.  He's a more reformed alcoholic than Jackie.  But he's still under Frankie's thumb, and it's tough to say what he'll do if Frankie insists that Junior do something worse than unsavory.

All of which adds up to a cop show knee-deep in sludge with the bright sun above.

See also Hightown 1.1: Top-Notch Saltwater and Characters

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