I was just ten years old the fall my family and I arrived in Minnesota from a small town in Illinois. Within a matter of months, we passed through all the extremes the state could throw at us: chest deep snowfalls, bouts of subzero temperatures, spring floods sweeping the streets, tornadoes dropping from the skies only a mile from our new rambler. To a sixth grader, it seemed a cataclysmic rite; a baptism of ice and snow and fire, akin to the balloon passage from Kansas into the Land of Oz. By the time I’d reached middle school the following fall, I was cockily assuring myself I’d earned the title “Minnesotan.”
It was, of course, only the beginning of my journey here. Through the decades since, Minnesota – and particularly Minneapolis and St. Paul – have been stamped inextricably into my history and soul. I’ve walked the ageless streets of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds over hundreds of hours, when it was alive with crowds and asleep in the off season. I’ve shaken the hands of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Tim Pawlenty. I wandered Hennepin Avenue at night, when it still echoed of its shady past; climbed the Foshay Tower – before and after it was dwarfed by the IDS; and watched Vikings football in the Metropolitan, the Metrodome and the U.S. Bank stadiums. I’ve seen Richard III in the old and new Guthries and crossed the Mississippi more times than I can count – on car, foot and bicycle, including on my favorite Stone Arch Bridge.
Fatal Trust is first and foremost an attempt to forge a fast-paced legal thriller. But I also tried to weave interesting highlights of the Twin Cities and its history into the protagonist’s story – just as I tried to capture a sense of small town Minnesota in my first book, The Deposit Slip. If I’ve succeeded, then Fatal Trust will not only entertain: it will lend fresh perspective to Minnesota natives about the two cities at the heart of the state.
And it will also put to rest any lingering doubt that I’ve earned the right to the title “Minnesotan.”