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Love Letters to Authors - Gary Reilly
Dear Ghost of Gary Reilly,
I am extremely sorry that you have passed. If you hadn't, we'd probably be having a burger and beer right now.
Your writing speaks to me as perhaps no other contemporary writer does. When Brendan Murphy ("Murph"), the central character of your books narrates, I feel like it's me talking.
And you're local! You were born in Kansas, but studied English at CSU, and then continued your studies at UCD. I love the many, many, many local references in each of your books, including Union Station which contains a Tattered Cover Bookstore and is only a block from the Lodo Tattered Cover store.
Murph is a taxi driver as you were for a time. He rebukes philosophy and yet philosophizes nearly constantly. In each book, he becomes overly involved in one (or more) of his fare's lives, something he says he should never do. Often, something tragic (or near tragic) happens to one (or more) of these fares and the police become involved; they know Murph well.
I'll discuss a few of my favorites. Start with Asphalt Jungle where Murph is introduced.
Heart of Darkness Club features one of his fares tumbling off Lookout Mountain. (Yikes!)
Doctor Lovebeads is perhaps my favorite. Murph infiltrates a hippie cult above Boulder which is holding captive two girls that Murph drove to a show at Red Rocks. There's lots of Boulder jokes. Murph, who sports a ponytail, may be a hippie or maybe he's beyond that.
In Pickup At Union Station, his fare dies in the backseat of Murph's taxi. In investigating who the guy was, Murph discovers (Wow!) there was a whole lot more to him that a simple taxi passenger.
In Devil's Night, Murph drives a group of kids from a party at DCPA to a haunted house near Golden on Halloween. One kid falls under the spell of a fake mystic. There's arson (including the torching of Murph's beloved, beat-up taxi). Murph has a gun put to his head. But, in the end, the bad guy leaves town and Murph's actions bring an estranged family back together.
Did I mention that Murph likes Twinkies? How can you not love a guy like that?