When the Cicadas Return










The Taste of Fog


The Taste of Fog
by David Chorlton


Vienna, 1962. Detectives are about to bring in a man suspected of being the Fog Murderer. A year earlier, in a nearby town, a thirteen year old girl is raped and stabbed to death. A man in a leather coat is seen climbing through a hole in the park fence near where the body lies. Walking with a limp, he disappears into the heavy fog. The trail grows cold. Postcards sent to the dead girl’s parents by the killer taunt them and the police. Lisl is dead and that is the story. Every now and then I need such a pleasure. When newspapers publish a sketch of the suspect, an ex-girlfriend thinks she recognizes her old boyfriend, the engineer Josef Reinhold, who is questioned and released. When new evidence surfaces later, he is taken into custody for giving a false alibi, and the state’s detectives peel away at Reinhold’s humanity and their own in a series of psychologically tortuous interrogations. David Chorlton’s The Taste of Fog takes the reader into many rooms as the vice tightens around the accused: the interrogation rooms, the courtrooms, the rooming houses where the isolated and emotionally repressed survivors of the Hitler period live. It is a page-turner. A brilliantly rendered milieu, troubled by its fog-haunted, collaborative WWII past and Cold War present.


Imagine yourself a voracious reader of two genres: crime/mystery novels and poetry. Now consider the unexpected availability of an incisive, brilliantly rendered crime novel by a master poet who knows the post-World War II European landscape as well as the psyche that defines it. An environment of contagious war and its acts of excruciating cruelty surface from the interstices between fragments of interrogation. Each short interchange is felt as sharply as the physical knives that assume form of characters in THE TASTE OF FOG . The rational progression of a disturbing sense of order calls into question issues of fate and choice. Immediately, the reader knows that no film can compete with such a novel crafted to reveal the mind at its most chilling point of power. David Chorlton demonstrates once again his inimitable prowess with words, finding poetry of an immense clarity, even in the darkest corners of the human soul.

Sheila E. Murphy







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David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix since 1978 when he moved from Vienna, Austria, with his wife. Born in Austria, he grew up in Manchester, close to rain and the northern English industrial zone. In his early 20s he went to live in Vienna and from there enjoyed many trips around Europe to enjoy and paint its landscapes and towns. In Arizona he continued his art work as well as writing poetry. He has grown ever more fascinated by the desert and its wildlife, and especially enjoys the mountain ranges of southern Arizona. In 2008, he won the Ronald Wardall Award from Rain Mountain Press for his chapbook The Lost River, and in 2009 the Slipstream Chapbook Competition for From the Age of Miracles. Other poetry collections include Return to Waking Life (Main Street Rag Publishing Company) and Waiting for the Quetzal (March Street Press). The Taste of Fog is his first work of fiction, and the result of a long-standing interest in Vienna’s shadow side.