Saturday, January 02, 2016

30 Days of The Fade Out: The Word on the Street.

The Fade Out #4 was released nearly one year ago today, on January 7th, 2015.  Evidently released without any previews, the issue was well received by critics, with another average score of 9.1 on a ten-point-scale.

The Movie. Production continues for Shadow of the Valley with filming each day on the Victory Street studio lot and with rewrites each night ostensibly by Charlie Parish.  The PR department organizes a stunt to introduce Maya Silver to the public while simultaneously strengthening the reputation of the studio's contract player Tyler Graves.

The Murder. Charlie and Gil continue to agonize over their knowledge of the murder and cover-up, with one being tormented by his fragmented memories of that night --images keep bubbling up, but they're more haunting than illuminating -- and the other becoming a more sullen drunk barely steadied by his ghostwriting work.  Charlie sees a photo of a guy who might have been on Charlie's blackout walk, but he doesn't get a chance to question the photographer about him:  Stevie Turner dies before Charlie returns, supposedly in an accidental house fire, and Charlie sees that mystery man taking his own photos of onlookers and then driving off.

This issue concludes "Act One" of the 12-issue series, and this act is book-ended by two apparent murders.
"And for the second time since he found Valeria Sommers lying dead on her living room floor...
"...Charlie feels the ground drop out from under his feet.
"What the hell has he stumbled into?"
We have had our own theories, but it did take quite a while for us to figure how the photographer fit into the picture, as the mystery man's photo with Ronald Reagan didn't seem dangerous enough to kill over.

Why would someone want to kill Stevie Turner?

The answer doesn't begin to form until issue #10, when Charlie searches Brodsky's office and discovers a thin file labeled with the name of that mystery man -- by now, we know his name is Drake Miller.  Inside the file are just two photographs, one of which is a photo from Earl Rath's fateful party.

In issue #1, we see one of Charlie's brief flashes of memory of that night, three men and two women leaving the party, none identifiable -- "a long walk... him and a few others..."

The picture in Drake's file provides the clarity that had long eluded Charlie, but as with the existence of any photo in a murder mystery, it raises an obvious question.

Who took that photograph?

Stevie Turner was a "photographer to the stars" who took illicit pictures for Earl Rath.  If he photographed one particular woman while Earl was "off with her sister," could he not have taken these photos at Rath's infamous, debaucherous parties?

Suppose Turner snapped a picture of of five people leaving the party, one of whom turned up dead.  If the murderer was part of that group, both the photograph AND the photographer's memory of that night would constitute incriminating evidence.

Covering up one murder can often lead to another murder.

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