Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mark Knopfler, Rüdiger and Me

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I recently wrote a short story called Rudiger.  I titled it and created the main character, John Rudiger, based on emotions evoked by a song called "Rüdiger" by Mark Knopfler.   For those of you who don’t know him by name, Mark Knopfler is better recognized as the front man, guitarist and creative force behind the now disbanded rock group, Dire Straits.  "Rüdiger" is from Knopfler’s first solo album, Golden Heart.  "Rüdiger" has a haunting melody and soft backing instruments and vocals behind Knopfler’s trademark lead guitar and gravelly voice with lyrics that linger.

A link to Knopfler performing the song on YouTube in 1996, when it was released, is here:

The melody and pace of the song always called to mind the image of someone skulking around with something to hide.  For years I’ve thought of writing a story about a crook hiding out in the Caribbean from the authorities, and every time I thought about it the song, "Rüdiger," played in my head.  So, I wrote the story.

In it, John Rudiger is a fugitive financier living under an alias in the Caribbean, because he ran off with close to $100 million from his hedge fund ten years ago.  He's now down to his last $2 million.  Katie Dolan, a lawyer with the US Attorney's Office in New York, is sent to Antigua to try to get enough evidence to extradite Rudiger back to the US to stand trial.  Rudiger recruits her to help him retrieve $50 million of stolen bearer bonds he can’t get otherwise get out of a safe deposit box in New York.

Katie is no dope, and neither is Rudiger, and each one has to figure out who's scamming who as they work their plan to sneak the bonds out from under the nose of Charlie Holden, Katie's boss, the Assistant US Attorney in New York (a character reprised from my Wall Street novel, Bull Street), who's wise to both of them.

I enjoyed the characters and writing the story so much that I’m creating a series out of it, called the White Collar Crime Series.  Rudiger and Katie will be back, and other shady types will be introduced as well.  I hope you’ll give Rudiger a try.

Update: since I wrote this post I introduced a new short story about Rudiger, Rudiger Comes Alive. It's the prequel to Rudiger, about how Walter Conklin, wunderkind hedge fund manager who runs a $1 billion technology fund, gets stuck between his CFO cooking the books to draw in more investors, Charlie Holden on his trail to arrest him, and his wife Angela, who's never at a loss for (sharp) words. Leaving the country begins to seem like a viable option to him.
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Rudiger is a 10,000 word short story.

Read an excerpt from Rudiger

Now Rudiger's subsequent adventures are available in the collection, Rudiger Stories.  And a Rudiger novel, Spin Move, takes Rudiger and Katie on a new jaunt from the Caribbean to Africa, Continental Europe and the UK.  I hope you'll give them a try as well.

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Buy Rudiger StoriesBuy US  Buy UK

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