The Hot Summer of 1990 by Nicola Vallera

On board a train, Alan and Ralph become friends to the point they share burning secrets.

The hot summer of 1990

ALAN is a demure, cold, cynical, but rational and resolute agent. He says he is from Boston, and that he is traveling by train from New Orleans to Chicago for business purposes.

RALPH, on the other hand, is an outgoing, lively, but often indiscreet salesperson. Unlike the former, the latter’s life is full of surprises, and it turns out it hides shocking mysteries such as the deaths of his beloveds. First, his hippie girlfriend in the 70s gets strangled on a beach; then, his wife several years later, falls from a cliff and, lastly, a woman that he had met and desired, is found dead.

To worsen everything, Ralph suffers from severe amnesia that he associates to a road accident occurred years before. Ralph has forgotten his real name - that seems to be JERRY and not Ralph - and the people of his life. He is desperate to find an answer about his partners’ killings.

Alan suggests solving Ralph’s issues by employing the reasoning. Ralph trusts him and spills the beans, and they brainstorm ideas all night long on the train, but Ralph’s memory appears to be utterly compromised. Alan believes that the assassin might be someone who begrudges Ralph for an obscure reason and supports his argument showing some Psychology knowledge.

The story gets a thrilling finale.

Genre: FICTION / General

Secondary Genre: FICTION / Suspense

Language: English

Keywords: 1990, train, new orleans, chicago, murder, suspect, introspection, friendship, detective, mystery, loss of memory, san francisco, hippie, strangling, ireland, cliffs, surprise, thriller, suspense, fear, sellers, personality, guilt, serial killer

Word Count: 50,000

Sample text:

Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, September 20, 1990. That’s where our story begins. The city smelled tropical, and the heat was sticky and uncomfortable. Rather than a day opening, it looked like the night's absence. That's how that town better reveals itself; by its throbbing nightlife to be precise. It was practically lunchtime, and some stands were spreading unique, squishy hot dogs' scent in the air. A guy named Alan hurried his stride to gain a few more minutes as his train was about to leave. His steps were determined as the ones of a person who knows what he wants. A group of African-American was listening to a hot song keeping the car windows rigorously opened. Passers-by were turning their head to glimpse at that boisterous driving stereo playing, “...U Can't Touch This, ta-ta-ta-ta!” Everybody heeded it but Alan; too focused on his route; too involved with his thoughts.

Some operators were fixing a post wire. They’d invaded part of the sidewalk with their cumbersome and sturdy ladder and didn’t give a damn of Alan’s worries. So, he had to zig-zag the hindrance like a mullet when it squirms away from barriers.  The few cars zipping by were almost invisible, and their windscreen’s occasional blaze didn’t bother Alan too much because his eyes were comfortably shielded by a trendy pair of Top-Gun-style Ray-Ban bought the day before.

Book translation status:

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Already translated. Translated by Marilia Ferraz
Already translated. Translated by Alvaro Alcazar

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