Remain in Light by Collin Kelley
Remain in Light by Collin Kelley
In 1968, Irène Laureux’s husband was murdered during the Paris student and worker riots. Thirty years later, she is still on the hunt for the man who knows how and why Jean-Louis died – his secret lover, Frederick Dubois.
Aiding in her search is American expat Martin Paige, a writer still reeling from a love affair gone wrong with a student, David McLaren. Martin meets a young poet, Christian, and they fall in love, but their happiness is shaken when Martin’s friend, Diane Jacobs, arrives in Paris with news that David has gone missing.
While Irène and Martin track the elusive Frederick, Diane discovers that David’s disappearance is more than just a missing persons case with connections to drugs, stolen identities and long-hidden government secrets. This literary mystery takes readers from America to London and into the dark underworld of the fabled City of Light.
About Collin Kelley
Collin Kelley is the author of the novel Conquering Venus and the poetry collections After the Poison, Slow To Burn and Better To Travel. He the recipient of the 2007 Georgia Author of the Year/Taran Memorial Award and the 1994 Deep South Writers Award from the University of Louisiana. His poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies around the world. He has given readings and guest lectured at San Jose State University, Georgia Tech, Savannah College of Art & Design and Worcester College at Oxford University in the UK. He lives in Atlanta.
For more information, visit www.collinkelley.com.
Read an Excerpt from Remain in Light
The rain turned to drizzle again and Irène went out on the balcony to have a final smoke before going to bed. Her cat, Pierre, darted out the French doors and took cover under the table, flicking his tail in displeasure at the weather.
Irène let the mist wash over her, found her hand straying toward the binoculars sitting in their case on the tabletop. The Bel Air Hotel was only partially full since tourist season was over. All the school groups were gone, the college students, the honeymooners. Now it was just businessmen looking for a cheap room and a few tourists who found a bigger bargain by coming off-season. She could see all the rooms on the floor opposite and partially into the ones on the floor above and below. As always, Irène trained her binoculars on the room just across from her. A light was on in the main room and also in the bathroom.
Through the partially cracked curtain, she saw no one moving about. She had almost decided to look elsewhere, when something caught her eye. There was a hard shell case open on the bed and a camera with a long telephoto lens resting inside. Beside it, there was a small tape recorder with a huge microphone. Partially obscured behind the case was a stack of file folders, spilling pages and photographs she could not make out. Irène knew instantly that this was a detective’s gear. When she had met with the detective helping her track Frederick Dubois, he had all these accoutrements in his office and showed her how he used them. She wondered who the man across rue Rampon was watching. A philandering husband or wife more than likely, possibly a businessman embezzling funds. This was the kind of thing she lived for, why she could never put away her binoculars. The intrigue of watching others’ lives unfold had sustained her all of her adult life while she had been a prisoner of her agoraphobia and panic attacks. Now, she could walk to the market or take the car to the publishing house and even ride the metro when it wasn’t horribly crowded. Martin had arrived and set her free. But her voyeurism would never go away.
The detective appeared between the crack in the curtains and picked up the camera. Irène retreated back inside her doorway, to lose herself in the shadows of the dark apartment. The man – a cigar clamped in his mouth, a little overweight, balding and wearing a suit with an open collared shirt – took the camera and pushed its long lens through the curtain. He was aiming down at the street, then at the apartment building. He’s watching someone here, Irène thought. She made a mental list of the tenants in the building and who might have a detective on their trail. The most obvious choice was the businessman who said he ran an import-export firm and was rarely ever home. She always thought there was something sneaky going on with him, but she knew he was not in his apartment. There was poor Julie, who cared for her father deteriorating with Alzheimer’s disease, and the retired flight attendant who could not possibly afford the apartment she lived in, not on her pension.
Irène heard the street door of her apartment building open and close with a loud click. The detective swung the camera to follow the person, snapping photos madly. Irène had to see who it was, had to give herself away. She rushed to the railing and just caught a glimpse of Diane as she turned onto Boulevard Voltaire toward République Square. Irène jerked her head back toward the window and found the detective staring at her, his camera half-raised, surprised to find he had been discovered. Irène took her binoculars and put them up to her eyes. He raised his camera and snapped a few photos of her. She stood there defiantly, meeting the dark eye of the camera with two of her own. Slowly, she extended her right arm in front of her and raised her middle finger. He dropped the camera and leered at her for a moment, a smirk on his paunchy face, then he snatched the curtains closed. She could see herself reflected back in the dark window glass, trembling.