Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Bad Guy, Good Music

Yes, on the DIA train that’s now the voice of Denver mayor John Hickenlooper welcoming you to Denver. Pete Smythe and Reynelda Muse have also left the station, replaced by Alan Roach and Adele Arakawa. And sound artist Jim Green, who installed the original recordings fifteen years ago, didn’t stop at just switching out the voices: The music on the trains has also been updated. Unfortunate timing, because the original music rates a special mention in Bad Luck and Trouble, the new Jack Reacher novel by best-selling author Lee Child. The bad guy loves the DIA train music, and you don't want to make this bad guy mad:

…the dark-haired forty-year-old calling himself Alan Mason was riding the underground train from his arrival gate to the Denver airport’s main terminal. He was alone in the car, sitting down, tired, but smiling all the same at the crazy bursts of jug-band music that preceded the station announcements. He figured they had been specified by a psychologist to reduce travel stress. In which case they were working. He felt fine. A lot more relaxed than he had any right to be.

But the bad guy doesn’t stay relaxed for long.

The dark-haired forty-year-old calling himself Alan Mason was waiting, too. He was waiting to take a clandestine meeting in his room in the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver. He was uncharacteristically nervous and out of sorts. Three reasons. First, his room was dim and shabby. Not at all what he had been expecting. Second, he had a suitcase stacked against the wall [with $65 million inside]…And third, he hadn’t slept well. The night air had been full of an unpleasant smell. He had run through a mental checklist until he had identified it as dog food. Clearly there was a factory nearby and the wind was blowing in an unfortunate direction…

Good thing Jack Reacher triumphs again. Because we wouldn't want this bad guy, mad, back in Denver. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun