Mysterious Book Report No. 82

by John Dwaine McKenna

One of the things I try to do each week in the Mysterious Book Report is to find new and interesting authors to review.  The reason is because we’re looking for our next favorite author, rather than covering the old favorites . . . who’re already getting plenty of ink from the relentless publicity departments of big machine publishers, who control the majority of novels and books being brought out these days . . . who crank out book after book after (Ugh!) book that mostly look, feel and read the same because their last one sold and the publisher is adverse to risk.

The problem with finding new authors is that we have to explore . . . and depend on the recommendations of others.  Usually this works okay, but sometimes opinions can vary widely and what one thinks is great, another wouldn’t like, enjoy or even read.  This week’s MBR is a case in point.

The Three Day Affair, (Mysterious Press, $24.00, 249 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-2026-7) by Michael Kardos was brought to my attention by friends in New   York City who compared it to the works of Dennis Lehane, Scott Smith and other notables.  I was intrigued but unconvinced and then, talked myself into reviewing it.

The Three Day Affair, is a story of three old college chums, from Princeton no less, who get together every year without wives, for golf, eating and drinking, while reliving their undergraduate days at dear old Princeton.  Everything is just ducky until one of the trio commits a major felony on the spur of the moment . . . and the other two go along as participants.  Huh?

For me this one jumped the tracks right there.  It just didn’t seem plausible that three grads of one of the top five or ten most prestigious universities in the world commit a crime like this.  One?  Okay. Two?  Maybe.  Three?  No way in hell.  So maybe I had a negative attitude about it from the start, but for me this one was tedious, slow developing and hard to finish . . . although the ending was great, with a gut-wrenching twist I never guessed was coming.  The novel has received good reviews from Tom Franklin, Steve Hamilton, Jolin Lescroat and others who’ve heaped praise on it.  Personally, it had too much character development for me, but if you like reading about what the first character thought about, what the second thought about, what she felt about some third guy who told all to the first guy, and so forth and so on, then this is a book for you.  But not for me.

Please don’t forget that your public library is for all of us.  All the faculties there are free for the use of everyone.  It’s the best deal in town.  Heck, maybe the whole planet.  Make it your business to get to know your library . . . and the librarians there who work their tails off for all of us.

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You’ll hear from me next week . . . with a new Mysterious Book Report.  Stay warm, stay well and keep reading.