5th and Vanguard

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This darkly comic mystery explores the pock-marked inner and outer worlds of its heroine as she faces her deadliest fears in an effort to recover her muse. Maxine Montego reanimated my imagination like heaven’s alarm clock at the end of a dark sleep. She was a peep show offering everything that made me breathe hard: pain, loss, regret, greasy characters, seedy deals, and an irresistible talent. She teased me till all my nickels were gone. She was caffeine. Benzedrine. A mythological speedball coursing through my ready veins. And danger played no small part in my nearly libidinous need to pry into the warped vinyl of this singer’s life.

Thriller / Mystery
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:


The year is 1999.

I’m perched atop the hood of one of the used cars in Munson’s lot talking into a small tape recorder and staring at the intersecting signs across the street. That’s the corner, 5th and Vanguard. That’s the liquor store I was standing in front of a couple of months ago thinking how stupid it was for a girl to be out so late, for anybody really. But I couldn’t sleep that night, so I took a walk.

The biography I’m compiling now will be the first thing I’ve written in almost three years, a combination of self-loathing and sobriety having frightened away my muse. Seems she was tied up with a drug habit of mine and once I conquered it, I lost her, as well. That’s the way I’ve rationalized it, anyway.

But sometimes second chances are issued without solicitation and without being earned. Circumstance can turn on a dime, which is what happened to me in front of that liquor store on that corner. That night, as I had for several nights, I’d taken a walk in pursuit of something nameless that wouldn’t let me sleep. And whatever it was, I was ready to confront it somewhere on the concrete streets of Berle, my hometown.

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