The Keepers of Truth By Michael Collins

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The Independent Culture

This fabulous fusion of hard-boiled mystery and American social history is narrated by Bill, a reporter on the struggling local newspaper of a struggling small town in the early 1980s. Bill writes about charity bakeoffs, but what he really wants to be writing is his detailed, semi-unified theory of how the demise of industry is affecting the country. When a murder investigation becomes the talk of the town he glimpses an opportunity for national exposure, but inevitably gets too mixed up in the investigation himself. He's a wonderful and unique character: world-weary but over-earnest, paranoid but on to something, funny but in a scary way. This is a complex and literary book, but also a fast-paced and cinematic one. When they come to adapt it, it should be scripted by the Coen brothers, and directed by John Sayles.