“I knew Arcadia Bell couldn’t have been your real name.”
“We looked like homeless people who had stumbled across evening wear in a trash bin.”
“You loved me - I know you did. Why did you stop?”
“Horrible, repugnant smiles.”
“Why the hell had my parents drawn down from the Aethyr when they conceived me? Did they even know?”
Paradiso has one radio station, April’s cousin Hope is seemingly the only person at school with a personal computer (a Commodore) and there is only one industry - the Pinkerton cannery. Various suspects, red herrings and motives are set up as are various ugly secrets in this small town with a ‘Twin Peaks’ vibe. One of four is voted Peace Blossom Queen and then she is murdered. But why and by who? This was very good.
“Lacey had a feeling that maybe a girl who sewed her own clothes shouldn’t be trusted.”
“Doug didn’t know about the attempted barbecue-fork matricide either.”
“She’d promise him a couple of hours in the backseat of a car in the scrublands.”
“Art is false worship,”
“Lacey Pinkerton, in one way or another, was doomed.”
“Reigning mistress of the Paradiso social scene, such as it was.”
“Lacey had dome up to her on the playground and said, “Get off that swing right now. My father bought it for the school, and I want it.””
The Peach Blossom Festival is still a sideshow, there is no CSI and the pejorative Lacey is inculcated with a quasi-Electra complex. Paradiso is a harsh and unforgiving place where many just humbly submit in perpetuity. The malicious Lacey feels elevated with her own air of respectability but like everyone else in Paradiso, she is guilty of stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power. Nobody has the concept of free will or individual responsibility and nobody is castigated for their absurdities, vanity, carelessness, self indulgence and undignified refusal to grow up. Lacey will soon graduate High School and her power, dominance and options will be limited and on some level she knows this and is terrified by it.
The reporter Willa Flicker is all egotism and no regret, Kiki wears lavender high tops, a teacher is creepy, Hope is stupid despite being accepted at MIT, Raven is not as transgresive as she thinks as she campaigns for social justice and there is no lamenting for April. Menace shrouds Paradiso as all power resides in the hands of Lacey’s appalling father Cal and his moral blindness. There is more brutalism in the Pinkerton demesne, various characters are lost and bored, the killer is obvious and Lacey shows abject deference to her abuser.
Vaughn and Jess, two indistinguishable dudes romance Raven and Hope. April’s parents have excessive grief. Lacey has contempt for the common good and Cal is not a misunderstood pillock. There is mention of an electronic bulletin board and interterminal communication. This was okay but had silly ‘cliff-hangers’.
“One of us might be the next one to fall out of a locker,”
“Can you imagine having to be the one to clean that thing out?”
“Can you imagine what kind of sicko stuffed her in there in the first place?”
“Mrs Pinkerton was done up in some thing that poufed in the middle and made her look like a tulip.”
“It wasn’t the first time Daddy had thrown his whiskey bottle against the fireplace.”
“You guys don’t want to have a mall like the rest of America? Is Raven teaching you how wonderful it is to be deprived?”
“Vaughn, remember who your father is? I’m surprised he even lets you into the house.”
“Why else would that man take my daughter to a deserted place at Sunrise?”