There is absolutely no way that you can confuse the setting of Bart Schneider's latest novel, The Man in the Blizzard. Each sentence is loaded with Twin Cities details, and on any given page one might find references both obvious and subtle, including Loring Park, the Star Tribune, Barbette, and even the now-defunct Hungry Mind (the author was the founding editor of The Hungry Mind Review, which later became The Ruminator Review). In an alternative future several months from the present, private eye Augie Boyer is having a rough time. He misses his therapist wife (who left him for another therapist), his career is mediocre at best, his testosterone levels are so low that he must apply hormonal gel to his chest each morning, and he's easily distracted due to his constant pot smoking and raging munchies. Things become complicated when a client hires Boyer for a gig involving stolen-goods traffickers/neo-Nazi violin collectors. Add on assassination plots, graphic pro-life protests, and mind-control specialists, and you've got a paranoid stoner's worst nightmare. As Labor Day weekend approaches, the Twin Cities will devolve into well-organized chaos, culminating in the RNC convention. Blizzard is a fun summer read that will have you doing a double-take when the convention guests roll into town in a couple of weeks.
Thu., Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m., 2008