Vancouver-based private eye Jason Kereso has one question to answer: Is his murder victim really who he seems to be?
Death of a Doppelgänger, written by Rod Drown, follows Kereso as he attempts to unpack the mysterious death of Lawrence Paddon and the circumstances around it.
Drown, who used to work as an editor at the Golden Times newspaper in the late 1980s and was Columbia-Shuswap Regional District director until 1996, hopes that residents of Golden will be able to enjoy his work.
“Readers, several of whom are from Golden, have liked the story and have found the writing engaging and seen the characters as interesting and believable,” said Drown.
“I admire and respect the people of Golden, they are friendly and community-minded. They’re good people.”
While he had to put his passion for writing on pause during his time as a regional director, he was able to pick up right where he had left off after leaving elected office in 1996.
“I was freed up to pursue larger ambitions. The transition from director to author was fairly easy,” said Drown.
“I think some of the people of Golden have always known that I wrote poetry and was an aspiring writer. I think they might like to see and read what I have written over the years.”
Drown has been a long-time writer, extending back to his education at Simon Fraser University (SFU) when he took the usual first year English course.
With several published novels already and a list of four or five unfinished ones to boot, Drown has always been a writer at heart, despite a brief interlude as CSRD director.
“I got into poetry because I believed I was a poet,” explained Drown.
“It took me some years for my skill to catch up to my ambition.”
With urban neighbourhoods that will be well-known to Drown’s Canadian readers, the novel combines danger, deception and death as Drown moves his characters through time and space throughout his novel, which was released in February 2020.
Drown says the lead character, Kereso, has been in his mind for a few decades, percolating into the private eye that pushes his novel forward.
“He surfaced in my conscious, but under a different name, during the early and middle 1970s, when I was a student at SFU,” said Drown.
“The inspiration to a degree was also the 1980s television series Sherlock Holmes, which was very, very well done.”
The influence of buildings such as the Dominion Building and Sun Tower is immediately present, with Drown using these landmarks to set the stage for his novel.
While he doesn’t find it important in a sense to emphasize Canadian settings and locations in his writing, he does believe the rich backdrop he paints will appeal itself to local readers who will find familiarity with that region.
“The buildings around what I call Edwardian Vancouver were inspirational, they have tremendous character and at the same time are human-scale,” elaborated Drown.
“It’s a truism that writers write about what they know.
“This novel was in active preparation for about five years and during that time, I spent a lot of time taking notes and sitting in places and visiting places mentioned in the book.”
The book is now available for sale online.