Monday, March 21, 2005

A Thousand Miles From Nowhere by Lorenzo Carcaterra

“A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” by Lorenzo Carcaterra, Dangerous Women Edited by Otto Penzler, Mysterious Press, Trade Paperback, $13.95

The story starts with Frank sitting in a deserted airport bar, his back against a window, waiting out a snowstorm. No flights will leave that night. Almost everyone has found someplace to go except him and the bartender.

Then a beautiful woman walks in. This is Josephine, or Joey as she prefers to be called. Frank and Joey strike up a conversation. Joey is a prosecutor from LA. Frank is a hitman. He doesn’t say that, of course, but I’ve known what he does from the second paragraph of the story. It wasn’t stated, but there was enough information that I knew.

The conversation turns to the perfect crime. Joey says that she has seen one perfect crime, the murder of a young woman more than twenty years ago. As the conversation progresses we discover that Frank knows who Joey is, the sister of the woman he murdered all that long time ago. He knows she’s been hunting him. He’s always been a few steps ahead of her until tonight, until a snowstorm and two canceled flights.

Not a lot happens in this story, but that’s OK. The conversation between Frank and Joey is done well enough to keep your interest. The conflict is there, at first between Mother Nature and two people who need to be somewhere else, then between a prosecutor and a businessman who is really a criminal, then between hunter and hunted.

The ending was a little disappointing, but I think that was more due to something small the author missed than anything to do with the way the story turned out. I can’t tell you what the mistake was without giving away the ending, but I have given you a hint above, something you can also find in the story.

In short, a good story that could have been better had Mr. Carcaterra paid attention.