The Pacific Northwest propagates creative people who make the time to express themselves for personal or public enjoyment as well as for scrutiny. Most recently, local Rich Riegel has made his way into the literary world with a novel, Tough City, Tougher Woman and he recently sent a copy to The Southeast Examiner.

aRichard-E.-Riegel-coverRiegel is known around town for his journalism, but began writing short stories in 2006. One of his tales morphed into this novel.

The story takes place in and around Club Festival, a downtown Portland nightclub, and is set in current time. The main protagonist is Linda Avery, an independent woman, who creates the need for a cigarette girl at Club Festival in order to get a job. Obviously cigarette sales will only be a small portion of her job in an era when smoking has been relegated to the great outdoors.

At Club Festival, Avery’s “sales job” is partly to keep an eye on the clientele by socializing while she sells cigarettes, gum, breath-mints and condoms. The job inadvertently draws her into more nefarious business transactions that lead her on her many adventures.

The book produces lots of activity from page one to the finish. It reads like a literate National Enquirer while delving into the seedy goings-on in the lives of those who make up the underbelly of the city. There are plenty of characters here that happen to be linked, for good or bad, to the darker side of life.

In the novel, Riegel defines his truth through Linda Avery’s character, who does a lot of introspection about society and ethics, all the while being attracted to an edgier world with a high tolerance for the shortcomings of society.

Most of the experiences in the book aren’t what the average person will have in their lifetime, and it’s interesting to try and understand the psychology of those living on society’s fringe.  NT


The book-signing is Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Bistro 23, 5530 NE 122nd Ave. 6 to 7:30 pm. Joe Rossi of Rossi Farms hosts.