The Music of Falling Awake IV: Retribution
Many people are genuinely surprised to find out I have a degree in Film & Video, as well as Creative Writing. Most folks assume I have a degree in Annoying People. Okay, my husband might have thought that at one time. His nickname for me these past 26 years has remained “What Is Wrong With You?” I kept hoping it was an American Indian nickname. It’s not. He truly wonders what’s wrong with me.
My video projects back while I attended Grand Valley State University were driven by music. I set the mood and tone of a piece with the right blend of songs. Propaganda, Hardware (soundtrack), The Motels: Shock album, and the music of Tangerine Dream were and remain some of my favorites. There is a natural playlist when I write a book that begins to develop during the writing process.
The Falling Awake series of books now has an extensive playlist, so new songs aren’t added quite as often with each new story. However, there are three tracks that did with Retribution. Movies rarely reflect the books they’re based on because they’re entirely different mediums. A film version (at least in my head) wouldn’t open the same way as the novel for Retribution does. Still, the opening music for Blade Runner fit perfectly. I envisioned the character of Joe sitting in a cheap hotel room looking over pictures of the crime scene from the end of Falling Awake II: Revenant. A shadowed figure (still Joe) grabs his hat, starts his car, and drives down the Texas highway as the sun rises, heading towards that crime scene to see it for himself.
That’s what I envisioned, and Vangelis’s absolutely beautiful track takes me right there ever time.
The second song is New Dawn Fades by Moby. This is exactly what I think I’d hear towards the end of the book as Joe, Roy and Frank are walking across the street to City Hall to hunt their prey. No song sums the mood up better than this one. Completely visceral. This track was also used at the end of the first Equalizer film. Delicious!
The final song comes from a group my husband introduced me to named Dear Rouge. They hail from Canada and their song, Black To Gold, caught my attention from the start. I listened to that song so many times throughout the writing of the book that it felt like it became a part of the story. If you’ve never listened to it, I urge you to look the video up on YouTube. It’s amazing! And, you know what? They’re pretty amazing, too.
Albums I tended to listen to when not playing anything related to Falling Awake included the soundtrack to both Equalizer films, a good many albums by Tangerine Dream, Jerome Froese, the many scores of John Caprenter, and the score to Monster Hunter. Interestingly enough, Paul Haslinger (composer of Monster Hunter) and Jerome Froese were also once part of Tangerine Dream. You know what that tells you, don’t you? Exactly. I have really good taste in music!
About the book:
Falling Awake IV: Retribution
by Kristoffer Gair
“Some people are so low, they gotta look up to see Hell.”
The death of Thomas Reis continues to ripple through the lives of those connected to his case fourteen years later. Andrew O’Donnell and Lawrence Boggs have already fallen, but three more pick up where the others left off, and each for his own reason.
One believes in justice, the second loyalty, and the third desperately seeks a reason to live. All three, however, share the same final end game; Retribution.
The hunt begins.
Cover Art by Kris Norris
Release Day: June 19, 2021
Genre/s: M/M Suspense, Thriller
Themes: Loyalty, friendship, sacrifice, love
Heat Rating: 1 flame
Length: 74 000 words
There are three prior books, Falling Awake, Falling Awake II: Revenant, and Falling Awake III: Requiem, which need to be read first.
“I’m glad I caught you before you left then. I’m truly sorry.” He bowed his head. “I held your husband in the highest regards.”
“He respected you, too. Can I get you something to drink? I’m afraid I don’t have much. I’ll be leaving in the next day or two, but I think I have some orange juice, and I just made a fresh pot of coffee.”
“No, thank you.”
Norrma led him into the kitchen and sat down at the table, one of the few pieces of furniture left behind until the day she left. Various paperwork lay in little piles on the table, some it from the landlord, and others from the movers, bank, and relatives who’d sent cards.
“Lawrence’s funeral was this past weekend, then I insisted the kids head back to school. I know they wanted to stay with me and help out here, and maybe it was cruel to send them away, but I think staying busy and being around their friends will help them more than being here right now.” She sniffed. “Lawrence would have insisted they get on with their lives as soon as they could. ‘Death,’ he told us many times, ‘is a natural part of things. Living is for the now. Mourning can always be done later.’ He always made sure we knew exactly how he felt. None of us had to guess whether or not he loved us.”
Joe nodded. “His directness is something I appreciated immensely.”
She took a sip of coffee. “The police came, had a look at his case files, and couldn’t really make heads or tails out of them.” Norma chuckled. “Lawrence always had a unique way of organizing things in life that sometimes only he understood. I packed up what they didn’t take. Honestly, I think they confiscated a few things here and there just so it looked good in their report. I don’t believe they’ll ever find anything, though. Nobody really understood what Lawrence worked on, not in the big picture way.”
Joe grinned. “I know the type. Law enforcement through and through. Takes one to know one, I guess.”
“That’s what I was thinking.” She peered down at her cup. “Do you know what might have happened to him?”
“Maybe.” Joe leaned in. “I sent somebody down here from Iowa, a young man named Andrew, who was looking for a case file I’d loaned Lawrence. Honestly, I figured things would go one way, and Lawrence would swat the boy on the ass and send him back home. Turns out the kid had a way about him, and I think they started working together. This tells me Lawrence was already working on a case and they somehow connected, or he found a use for Andrew.
“The problem is, I don’t have a lot to go on. Something isn’t feeling quite right. The parts aren’t adding up, only I’m not getting a big enough glimpse of the picture.” Joe leaned back in his chair. “I need a bit more.”
“Would these help?” She reached under the stack of folders and paperwork, pulled out two large envelopes, and handed them over.
Anybody who knew Lawrence would recognize his handwriting in a heartbeat. Same perfectly shaped letters. Same size. Unmistakable. And the words written on the front? JOE MURPHY.
Joe’s head cocked to the side. Curiosity? Disbelief? Both? And then she saw something else, a tensing in the man’s posture and narrowing of the eyes.
The predator senses prey?
Joe hefted the two envelopes in his hand. “Lawrence left these for me?”
The lump in her throat returned. “That’s why I was hoping you’d come. I think he knew what he was working on might not end well, and he once told me if anything ever happened to him, you’re the only one he trusted to look into it.”
She watched the man run his fingers across the surface of the envelopes, across his name.
“You didn’t give these to the locals?” he asked. “Or show them?”
She shook her head. “Lawrence trusted you. I’ll put my trust in you before them, too.”
“I don’t know what’s in these.” Joe patted the top envelope. “I can’t promise anything.”
“Don’t expect you to.” Norma sat up straight. Strength. Maybe a little pride. “Maybe one promise. Someone took away my husband, my children’s father. Someone took our love, my happiness, and future. Whoever it is ain’t no better than a roaming, rabid dog, and those kinds of dogs get put down.”
He stared at her. He stared long and hard. “Yes. Yes, they do.”
About the Author
Kristoffer Gair grew up in Fraser, MI and is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He is the author of 8 novels—some written under the pseudonum Kage Alan—been a part of 6 anthologies, and currently lives in a suburb of Detroit.