A kind of coda to "The Valhalla Trilogy"
Two Songs, and
Cold Smell), I hadn't yet tired of
whacking away at some of my favorite targets.
The circumstances and lives of the Fredericksons have changed
dramatically, necessitating the need for a whole new approach on my
part to figuring out just what they're up to, and why.
A primary problem in constructing the first 3 novels in the series
(Shadow, City, and Affair) was the question
of just where Mongo's cases were going to come from. He's an esteemed
professor of criminology, presumably making a good living teaching.
However, his need to overcompensate for his dwarfism leads him to
moonlight as a private investigator, but it's highly unlikely that a
dwarf PI is going to get a lot of walk-in business; people looking
for Sam Spade are not going to be impressed by Mongo. Consequently,
his cases in the first 3 novels all come from people who are already
impressed with him---friends and colleagues. In Shadow and
Affair, faculty colleagues bring him work, and in City
it is his former circus boss.
Garth is an NYPD detective, and this is most convenient for Mongo
(and me) as he proves, on occasion, to be an invaluable source of
But after their adventures in "The Valhalla Trilogy," both
Fredericksons are without their former "day jobs";
betrayals have led Mongo to leave teaching; Garth is no longer a cop,
but has joined his brother in the firm, Frederickson and
Frederickson. They have become famous because of publicity
surrounding Mongo's odd cases in the past, and with fame has come a
comfortable level of financial security. They now spend their days
earning large fees doing things like vetting potential CEOs for
Fortune 500 companies. Their days of living in constant peril seem
over, and their guns are locked away in a safe.
Well. The Fredericksons' life situations may have changed, but they
have not (and Garth has developed a dangerous new edge). They still
react quickly to injustice, and are willing to risk everything,
including their lives, in the proper cause. But now these
"proper causes" usually arise because of personal crises
and choices, not the professional contingencies of being PIs. So it
is in Second Horseman when Garth, playing Santa Claus, picks a
letter from an abused child out of a box at the post office....