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Shooting Straight in the Dark is the story of 30-year-old Kit Mason, six years blind and still having trouble accepting what’s happened to her. With her career as a song writer and guitarist stalled and her personal life is the pits, all she has is her (semi) trusty Newfoundland guide dog, Shadow, and four good friends, members of her former softball team, The Ruthless Babes.
When one of the women is brutally murdered, Kit and her remaining friends have a lot of unanswered questions which the police aren't willing to treat seriously. Taking the investigation into their own hands, they find out that the truth about their friend's violent death goes a lot deeper than they ever imagined -- or wanted to know.
Intrigued? Here’s the Prologue of the novel:
So it's August 3rd, and I’m having a party for my big 2-1. Legal-the-World-Over Kit. I'd talked my mom into letting me use our cottage on Georgian Bay, just me and my current boyfriend, my four best friends, and their guys. We'd built a bonfire on the beach, roasted wienies and marshmallows, and were hard at work on a couple of two-fours of Molson Golden. During the festivities, my guy and I slipped off into the woods for a little fun.
To keep this story short, he stuck a particularly bright flashlight right in my face to screw up my night vision, then ran off with all my clothes -- just to be cute. What happened after was anything but. I had a hell of a time finding my way back. Took me about an hour. Everyone was worried, but not as worried as I was. Lately, I'd been getting these weird blank spots in my eyes, especially from bright lights, and my night vision had always sucked. But in the darkness of the woods with only a sliver of moon out, I couldn't see a thing. Nada. After bumping into trees and tripping over rocks and roots, I wound up crawling a good part of the way. It scared the hell out of me. The party ended early.
A couple of days later I went to my doctor. She sent me to a specialist. He sent me to another specialist. That guy, after doing a truckload of tests, sat me and my mom down in his cushy office one blazingly hot afternoon.
"Miss Mason," he said, peering over his glasses, "you show a marked deterioration in both optic nerves."
"You're saying I need glasses?"
"Oh no, no! It's much worse than that, I'm afraid. You're going blind."
No gentleness, no careful laying of the groundwork to prepare me. Just, "You're going blind." Goddam idiot got his bedside manner from a K-Mart.
I didn’t hear much more of what the doctor said after that. Apparently, he told Mom all these complicated medical things about what was happening to me and how he could do more tests, and "research is moving at the speed of light these days", but the end result was, "Your daughter's eyesight is rapidly failing and there’s not a whole lot we can do for her at the present time."
Mom fought like a tiger. She went everywhere, bent everybody's ear, read about anything to do with my condition, but in the end she had to admit defeat. She had to admit it because thirty-seven months later I couldn't see her slumped shoulders or sad eyes. I couldn't see anything.
Want to know what it's like to be blind? Think of it this way: what do you see out of the back of your head?
If this brief excerpt has caught your interest, I'd like to be able to say, "Just head down to your local bookstore, and if they don't happen to have it in stock, they can order it for you with no trouble," but that's not the case. McClelland & Stewart remaindered the book just as Cemetery of the Nameless was released (now there's great business thinking for you!). But fear not! I bought lots of copies, so your favourite bookstore can order directly from me, if that's the route you want to go (and I encourage that). However, if you absolutely have to order direct, click HERE.
Copyright © 2002 by Rick Blechta. This excerpt copy may not be reproduced in any way without the expressed written consent of McClelland & Stewart Ltd., Toronto.
"Rick Blechta's third novel has a lot to recommend it, including the author's insider knowledge of the music business."
"It is a shame that Rick Blechta is following a career in the music industry because he has a great future as a novelist. Shooting Straight in the Dark is a fun and entertaining novel that will lift the spirit of anyone who reads it. "
"Those seeking a breezily entertaining yet suitably suspenseful thriller will find Shooting Straight in the Dark right on target."
"This was a difficult book to write, mainly because of the task I set myself by having a blind protagonist who is female and has five really close friends who all needed distinctly different "voices" so they'd be easy for the reader to keep track of. I don't know which was harder to accomplish!
I learned a lot about what it's like to be without sight, mainly due to the help of three wonderful people, Jo-Anne Yale, Roger St. Louis and Laurie Kernohan. Their warmth and humour telling me about the trails and tribulations of sighted people and how they deal with other's blindness added a lot to what I eventually got down on paper about Kit Mason."
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