Some books evolve from the title. The Green Pearl Caper was one of those.
Some titles evolve from the book.
And so it has been for Book #5 in the Damien Dickens series.
I started writing this book with a tentative idea for a title, but without feeling certain it was the correct one. I thought the perfect title would suggest itself naturally, as I drafted the first couple of chapters.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
It has taken the better part of a year, and more than 55,000 words of text, before I could bring myself to decide what to name my current work-in-progress.
The opening paragraphs of the Prologue contain a clue to the title. See whether you can figure it out.
Colin Hewitt wrestled the 1976 Ford pick-up truck off Route 99 and onto County Road J22. The power steering was anemic, the tires almost bald. The transmission grated, the brakes squealed, and the suspension was shot. Nevertheless, he counted himself lucky. The truck had only cost him $500.
He pulled over to the side of the road and consulted his map. Luna Azul was about 10 miles dead ahead. He put the Ford into Drive, muttering an oath as the gears ground, then caught. With the suspension bottoming out at every bump and rut in the poorly maintained pavement, Colin drove the rest of the way to his destination.
Luna Azul wasn’t a town. It didn’t even qualify as a village. A tiny speck on the map, it lay some 40 miles north of Bakersfield and consisted of no more than a dozen weatherbeaten one- and two-storey buildings clustered around the junction of J22 and Avenida Agua Caliente. Crossing the intersection, he drove slowly past an orchard and two cattle feedlots. After about a mile, he spotted his turnoff, and swung the truck into a short dirt lane. At the end of the lane, he parked the Ford between a faded yellow panel truck and a refrigerated trailer bearing the name “Rancho Luna Azul”.
Colin stepped out of the pick-up, adjusted his imitation aviator sunglasses, and donned an Oakland Raiders cap to go with his faded blue jeans, white t-shirt and scuffed biker boots. His heart was racing. He needed to get this right. He needed to land this job. Everything – his wife, his child, his entire future – depended on it.
The action in this Caper begins in California. Before long, however, Damien is on the move again, leaving Millie behind to cope with their Carmel client while he heads back to Atlantic City to help Bruno, who has managed to get himself into trouble.
More than that, I shall not tell. Yet.
Oh, I almost forgot. I was going to reveal the title of this Caper.
Have you figured it out yet? No? Then let me put you out of your misery.
The title of the fifth Damien Dickens book is
THE BLUE MOON CAPER