Drummer, Frankie ‘Slinger’ Wilson is back and this time it really is personal. I see him as a cross between Keith Moon and Dirty Harry. I first introduced him back in the short story ‘Drum and Waste’. Looking back, the story of him dishing out his own brand of punishment on someone who used his teenage sister in his porn film was perhaps my personal homage to ‘Get Carter’. His second appearance, in the short story ‘Late for Church’, was not inspired by anything specific. Both stories appeared in my short story collection ‘Hard Drive’, which can be downloaded from all Amazon Kindle sites.
In my new novelette/novella/whatever ‘Red Light’, Slinger’s story is in part based on a real event. The story begins with a young singer being hit by a car driven through a red light. I can exclusively reveal that this was based on an event that affected me and my family very much. Some years ago my wife was hit by a car at the same location and in very similar circumstances. As in the story, the car driver and his passengers lied to the police and there were no independent witnesses found who could confirm the status of the traffic lights at the time. Unlike poor Paula in the story, my wife’s injuries were not life threatening and after a few days in hospital she was discharged home. Five miles an hour faster and the police reckoned that the outcome might have been very different.
Every time I walk past that road junction I remember that day and when I was looking for a new story for Slinger, it seemed a good way of getting it out of my system. So there you have it, ‘Red Light’ is very personal to Slinger and myself. I suppose that is the joy of writing crime fiction. You can release all your own inner demons onto the page and no one gets hurt. I will no doubt still remember that day every time I walk past that junction but at least my wife was lucky, unlike Paula in the story.
With ‘Red Light’ I have given Slinger a longer story. I quite like short stories and now novelettes. I can probably write a number of different stories in the time it would take me to produce a full length novel. Of course, I have left the readers in a situation where their own imaginations will determine the final outcome for them personally.
I can assure you that Slinger will be back. From the feedback I have had, he is becoming a popular character. He is flawed and behind the violence there is a vulnerability that people seem to like reading about.
Malcolm Holt‘s blog is here.