When I was writing Beta, I was still living in Oskaloosa, but going to Des Moines almost every week to attend a writers’ critique group at Barnes & Noble. Many times, I’d be up there early to drive around to do some research, look at different locations.
Again, some people may recognize the sites I have pictured that I’ve used in the book, but I have changed the names and created interiors when I couldn’t go inside.
Beta begins with a little girl being kidnapped and the beginning of her hellish involvement with child pornography. Mallory Petersen gets involved by being hired by the girl’s mother. Mallory visits various places, talks to different people, including Willy Washington. She meets hi at Java Joe’s down on Court Avenue. By the way, the atmosphere in the book is real and the gentleman she sees who is a bit odd, is based on a real person I saw.
Following a tip, she goes to this place and sees an interesting transaction. Yes, this place is in the book, but it’s called the Video Vault and I fictionalize the interior and I give my disclaimer here that I am not implying anything is illegal here. I used it only because it was there. If the video store was somewhere else, I’d use it there.
She follows the cashier to his apartment complex off of 86th between Douglas and Hickman and extracts further leads.
Ditto disclaimer here. I was able to enter this building from the front, but, as mentioned in the book, got no further than the front reception. I used parked here one afternoon and scribbled down some descriptions to use when Mallory comes to visit. I had to create the interior and I have changed the company name to Manchester.
So, the trail leads Mallory to Oskaloosa. I supposed some people would wonder at the logic of taking the girl to Oskaloosa for some photographs, but there you have it. I wanted to use the town. As I mentioned in the Alpha Locales blog, I have looked for some of these places but was unable to find the exact site because of changes, or I just am not able to remember where I went. This is true of the place in Oskaloosa. I don’t know if the building I used still exists, but I know it was down this street. South D.
Okay, Mallory will head to the Quad Cities for the next part of the story and next week, we’ll follow her.