The Black Song Inside
by Carlyle Clark
Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime fiction and fantasy. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writers' requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, twilight laborer (of the fang-less variety), security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.
He is a happily married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.
Title: The Black Song Inside
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Make Luck Press
Release Date: November 14th, 2012
Shortlisted for the 2012 Faulkner-Wisdom Award
Newly engaged private investigators Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez have seen the dark and violent side of life. Atticus's dry wit is born of a traumatic childhood that's left him emotionally scarred and estranged from his homicide detective sister. The medals Rosemary earned during her tour of duty in Iraq are little reward for returning home to San Diego missing a leg and tormented by PTSD and her continuing failure to save her younger brother from his own violent nature. Still, nothing they've been through has prepared them for an explosive murder investigation that tests the couple's trust as they struggle to solve a case where the best result leaves them in prison or dead.
Atticus's manipulative and gorgeous ex-girlfriend, Claire, bursts back into their lives wielding a secret about Rosemary's family that she exploits to force the couple into investigating the execution-style slaying of her lover. The case thrusts Atticus and Rosemary headlong into the world of human trafficking and drug smuggling as well as rendering them pawns in Tijuana Cartel captain Armando Villanueva's bloody bid to take over the Cartel. Villanueva Machiavellian scheme sends one of his minions, Rosemary's own gangsta brother, after Atticus, and as if that weren't bad enough, Villanueva dispatches "The Priest", a former child soldier for a Colombian rebel group who is now a messianic mercenary whose religious psychosis has launched him on a trajectory that can only end in mayhem.
The Black Song Inside is a vivid crime thriller rife with the murder and madness, melded with gallows humor and the heroism of two flawed protagonists who, in struggling to unravel a skein of human suffering, learn the nature of redemption and the ability to forgive others and themselves.
Rosemary suppressed a sigh. As the only child of parents who had wanted a brood, her life had been spent as the wobbly point of an inverted pyramid, forever attempting to balance the burden of hopes and expectations meant to be spread over a half-dozen children. Instead, it was only she and her adopted brother Johnny, the mayhem magnet.
“The leg I have now isn’t agile,” Rosemary said, rapping it with her knuckles. “With this new one, I can step over things, walk backward, change directions quickly. I’m no longer stuck just going one way and having a change in direction be a major ordeal. I’ll be free.”
Rosemary maneuvered the X2 case for a better view, marveling at the complexity encompassed in its artistic form. “Come take a look at it.”
Mama stayed put, offering a wan smile. “It’s very fancy.”
Mama sniffed as she levered herself out of the armchair. She pivoted toward the window and pushed the silk drape aside. The waistband of her stretch pants dented her torso. From behind, her hair-sprayed bob seemed smooth and solid, as formidable a protection as the brass dome of a deep-sea diver, the hose stretching from the helmet up to a world of stability, sameness. “So much bad weather this summer.”
Rosemary felt the urge to knead her mother’s shoulders. “You could change, Mama.”
Her mother’s neck stiffened. Still looking away, she shook her head. “I happen to like who I am.”
Ah, and there it was, the roundabout implication that Rosemary was somehow betraying Mama by being with Atticus—the only thing that had set the pyramid to wobbling as much as her joining the Army Reserves. Hadn’t Mama’s fears been grimly vindicated when an IED exploded under the Humvee she was driving? Didn’t she have an “I told you so” moment when the explosion transformed the man who’d been next to her in the front seat, Specialist First-Class Yukio Morimitu, an always smiling human being with a new bride and a child on the way, into a spatter of blood and bone clumped in her hair, clogging her ears and nose, and filling her mouth with gobbets of flesh.
Rosemary hobble-stepped to the window, leaned against the sill, and put her arm around Mama’s shoulders. Lightning flickered in the lining of steel gray clouds. “More rain coming,” Rosemary said. “Maybe you better go now.”
“I rearranged my day so I can take you to rehab. We could have lunch, relax, then go.” She studied Rosemary’s face a moment and squinted. “What? You don’t want me?”
Rosemary forced her expression to be neutral. “Of course I do, but you said you couldn’t go, so I asked Atticus.”
“So. You’d rather have him than your own mother.”
“Oh for God’s sake. I asked you to take me first. You said you were busy.”
“So Atticus can’t change his schedule?” The sky cast a greenish tinge on Mama’s face.
Here we go again, Rosemary thought. Countdown…three…two…one…
“Atticus, Atticus, always Atticus. I’m sick of hearing his name.”
“What?” Mama blinked.
“Cape Fucking Canaveral.” Rosemary shuffled back to her bed.