Emerald City – the opening

Coming in late March…just something to whet your appetite:


Seattle was like every city. It had those cool areas where people wanted to live. In 1988 it was Capitol Hill, Belltown, or lower Queen Anne – anywhere close enough to stagger home from downtown when the music ended and the bars closed.

But West Seattle definitely wasn’t cool. It was the kind of place where people went when they couldn’t afford anything better.


I was sitting out on the deck, drinking coffee, reading the newspaper and enjoying the morning sun, a rare surprise in May. Down below, Lake Union was sparkling in the light, and the towers of the downtown skyline glittered in the distance.

The building I lived in had been put up quickly for the World’s Fair back in 1962, and it looked like a cheap California motel, ugly pebble stucco and concrete, but the apartments were spacious and clean and it was affordable. It was just up the street from Tower Records, close enough to walk downtown. If I craned hard over the balcony I could even see the tip of the Space Needle.

It was a small item on page three. I’d have missed it if not for the name.

“Come and take a look at this,” I called to Steve.

            “What is it?” he asked as he came out, fresh from the shower and running a hand through his wet hair. He grabbed my coffee and took a sip.

            “Hey,” I said and took the cup back. “Have you seen this? Craig Adler’s dead.”

            “What? Are you serious, Laura?” His voice rose in astonishment.

            “Here.” I pushed the newspaper at him. He scanned the brief article, eyes widening.

            “Jesus.” He looked at me in amazement. “Heroin?”

            “That’s what it says. Seems weird to me. But…”

            “Yeah, me too.” He settled in the other chair and read it through again, puzzlement on his face. “And West Seattle?” He shook his head. “That’s strange. I figured he had a place on the Hill. I know he used to.”

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