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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Black Swan by Chris Knopf


One of my favorite pubs in the whole world is the Dirty Duck or The Black Swan. This is so good it has two names. It is located upon the Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon, the home and resting place of William Shakespeare. I have spent much time there studying the bard one summer and others visiting to view some of his more remarkable plays in the various theaters situated around town. I’ve spent many lovely evenings in the Dirty Duck eating and drinking while rubbing shoulders with the many actors who come to Stratford to engage in their craft. So imagine my surprise when I picked up Chris Knopf’s Black Swan at the local library. Sam Acquillo and Amanda are caught in a freak storm off Eastern end of Long Island in a sailboat, Carpe Mañana; they have sailed down from Maine for their very rich friend Burton Lewis. The storm drives them into the harbor on Fishers Island, which is closed for the season, as this is October, and an unfriendly dock master greets them. Eventually they make their way to a berth behind the old hotel for off islanders named the Black Swan, which is newly bought by a recently retired man, Christian Fey, who has brought along his daughter, Anika, and son, Axel. Sam and Amanda stay on the boat as they wait for the parts to repair the helm, which broke in the storm and to wait out the storms that will be coming in the next week. Interaction with the family is inevitable.
The Black Swan slowly fills with a former partner, Derrick, his wife, Del Ray, and a driver/goon, Bernard ‘t Hooft. Another couple from the company arrive, Grace and Myron. Myron is discovered hanging in the shower by Grace. Sam and the local state trooper take over what Sam deems is a murder and not suicide for obvious reasons concerning the tension of the rope used. Another storm is on the way. Sort of reminds me of the movie Key Largo. With the help of the Southampton police and the Internet, Sam is slowly being found out about his skills. The connections between Sam and Christian and his company are over a piece of software, N-Spock, which Christian developed and Sam used in his engineering days. Sam used version 2.5, now they were up to version 5.0, which seems to be the problem. 5.0 hasn’t been released and seems to be in trouble, which may be the reason for Myron’s death, perhaps state trooper Poole’s beating and evacuation from the island by the Coast Guard, and Axel disappearance. Sam is alone waiting for reinforcements as the storm builds in ferocity. Back on board to wait the storm out, it’s time for vodka.
Sam has Amanda take the sailboat away from danger and hide out n a little cove he knows about while he stays at the Black Swan and use his cop/friend’s advice to investigate the missing of Axel and wait for the state troopers to finally appear. It’s all about code, programming, and genius. Synesthesia is the key, a beautiful painting holds the answer.

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