Bert Shambles is a hapless hero who stumbles into a mystery the way he has stumbled into the rest of his current life: Because of a passionate and chi...moreBert Shambles is a hapless hero who stumbles into a mystery the way he has stumbled into the rest of his current life: Because of a passionate and chivalrous mistake, he finds himself on probation, back in the last place he'd ever want to be (his hometown), living in a rooming house, and working at a church thrift store thanks to the mercy of his childhood pastor. While running an errand for the thrift, he lands on a loaded situation involving a loaded family who has just lost their patriarch, a famous golfer. The reader smells a possible murder while Shambles is excited to learn about the $500 reward money for a missing putter. And so the adventure begins.
I loved this story as a page-turning mystery, but also as an astute look at the suburbs from the point of view of the guy who will never have a manicured lawn. Tim Hall's characters hold interest throughout and are some of the best reasons to read this book: well-drawn, recognizable, and at times, hilarious. Hall knows how to describe the kind of folks who are the pillars of the parish, the members of the local crime family, or those inhabiting the fringes of society in the Long Island suburbs: whether the regulars at the corner dive bar, the pot-smoking county employees, or the grown-ups who've emerged from too many D & D games. Bert Shambles himself is a likable, layered, and very funny protagonist, and I'm already eagerly awaiting his future adventures.
This book comes from a seasoned author who has been writing literary novels, short stories, and non-fiction since the '90s. I am a big fan of his earlier work, and his latest book does not disappoint: I love the economy of his writing, which sets up enticing descriptions while throwing down witty and well-observed character summations. This book benefits from Hall's writing about New York City over the past 15 years, and is a welcome addition: Here is a Long Island novel from someone who knows his corner of it intimately. Bert Shambles is a protagonist who would have been comfortable in the East Village of the '90s, or North Brooklyn in the early Aughts, but whose time has come: as one reviewer writes, "Shambles is a stand-in for millions of Americans in their 20s who struggle to navigate the new reality of their country’s culture of debt and closed door society" (David Masciotra, Splice Today).(less)
"Originally serialized in New York Nights, this short novel is a lovely, surreal version of Alice, set in the subways of Manhattan with sex, veterans,...more"Originally serialized in New York Nights, this short novel is a lovely, surreal version of Alice, set in the subways of Manhattan with sex, veterans, and ghosts of war tossed into the mix. Regine’s art reminds me a bit of Emily Hubley’s early work. Which means it’s good, too." ~~BULL TONGUE by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore, from Arthur No. 25 (Nov. 2006)(less)
Karen Lillis’s “Watch the Doors as They Close” Enters The Canon Of Love Review by Joe Winkler
"...in a svelte 80 pages, Karen Lillis, in her new Watch t...moreKaren Lillis’s “Watch the Doors as They Close” Enters The Canon Of Love Review by Joe Winkler
"...in a svelte 80 pages, Karen Lillis, in her new Watch the Doors as They Close, somehow insinuates herself into this canon of love, and love lost. Lillis accomplishes this because she chooses to focus less on the fluctuations of the relationship and more on the obsessive quality, the illogical search for answers that we think will calm our hearts after the maelstrom of love passes." http://www.vol1brooklyn.com/2012/04/1...(less)