The place is Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Here are some of the scenes that inspired the narrative for Burning Questions (and in case you were wondering, yes, they are all from Gloucester.) The side captions are taken from the book.
Inside, those homes reeked of rancid cooking oil and stale cigarettes. The furniture needed re-upholstering. The tea cups were chipped and unwashed, the cookies—if there were any at all—were stale.
I set out when the last hues of sunset had quit and the purple of evening had taken over.
I coaxed my sputtering ’62 Valiant up a driveway that curled like a cat’s tail along their steep hill of freshly- mowed, green lawn. Up ahead, nestled in a grove of mature oak and maple just beginning to turn, loomed a three-story fieldstone mansion with a peaked, gray slate roof.
Back in the Twenties, an eccentric millionaire inventor by the name of John Hays Hammond, Jr., AKA “The Father of Remote Control,” looted some impoverished corner of the Old World by disassembling one of their castles, stone by stone, and running off with it to the States. He decided that Gloucester was just the right place to put his souvenir.
There’s a monument to them on the esplanade, a stone’s throw from The Fort. A heroic helmsman in full foul weather gear peers out to sea, above a recitation of Psalm 107, verses 23-24: “They That Go Down to The Sea In Ships.”
The Fort was a tough little neighborhood on a small peninsula that long ago was the site of a real fort guarding Gloucester’s inner harbor.
The ocean was gray and calm. A few gulls cruised lazily above a solitary lobsterman, waiting for him to discard something edible.
Jimmy scoped out the surfing conditions, figured that Kenny would be surfing longer than he actually was, not counting on the waves going flat...
I decide to head down the path to the reservoir....
I’m not about to go lookin’ for no dogs. I make my way quick to the railroad tracks and walk along ’em ’til I get to the station.