Chris Aldrich's Reviews > Son of Fletch

Son of Fletch by Gregory McDonald
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Plot
It was a dark and stormy night...

In eleven novels in the series, one of them was bound to start off like this, in a sense. Like most in the Fletch series, the story is off like a shot from the beginning, but then just a tad into the first act there's another huge plot point (suggested by the title of the book) or known by the close reader who remembers Crystal Faoni who was a major (large?) character from Fletch's Fortune.

I don't know that I believed the convicts just taking Fletch's word for where to hide out at the time, in part because the character development to make it plausible didn't come until later. There was also a plot point involving the sheriff that I saw coming from a mile away that could/should have been much more subtle for a bigger surprise when it was revealed.

My biggest problem was that after some great build up I was expecting something really big or interesting from either Fletch or his son to close out the whole story. Sadly the end of the plot devolved in too quick and short a manner for a really satisfying pay off.

Of all of the Fletch books, so far this one seems to be the biggest influencer for the creation of portions of the movie Fletch Lives, which was otherwise made out of whole cloth based on the character. In some sense Cleavon Little's character "Calculus Entropy" replaced Fletch's son and big parts of the plot were heavily rewritten purely for entertainment's sake.

Of all of the books which mention the seemingly ever-present Edward Arthur Tharp, Jr., this one seems to have more detail about it, particularly as in this story the book has finally been finished and it becomes a method by which Fletch and his son seem to probe each other about it. Oddly there was no mention or parallel between Fletch's own mother as a writer and his having become a writer.

Character
Fletch's girlfriend in this piece serves as pure plot and didn't feel as multi-dimensional as she should have been given her role in the piece. She does serve well as the "better angel" as well as the gut reaction most readers will also be feeling through the story. But as always, one must just "trust" Fletch and his plan of where he's going, even if he's not sure himself.

Fletch himself seems to be much the same as we remember him, though I really wonder how and why he seems to have settled down into small town Tennessee life. Descriptions in the book make it sound like he's still a man of the world, but somehow interesting people come to him instead of him going to see them. None of this really fits into the bigger character to me, but the story continues as if it doesn't matter anyway.

Fletch's son plays things very close to the vest, so his motivations and character aren't really developed until much later in the piece, but in some sense he's at least differentiated well enough from Fletch to be his "own man" here.

I liked that even the racists here were given some well done characterization so that despite their beliefs that one could actually feel bad for them in some sense. I will say it was relatively interesting to read in the timeperiod of the 2016 presidential election.

Summary
Overall this was a middle-of-the-road Fletch installment. (But still ranks relatively high on the mystery/suspense/detective genres). I suspect that it would have been more interesting to Fletch fans who hadn't had an installment in a few years based on the time it was released. For a potential reboot of the series, or for kicking off a new series, it wasn't a bad effort.
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Reading Progress

November 29, 2016 – Started Reading
November 29, 2016 – Shelved
November 29, 2016 –
25.0% "We're off like a shot. Somehow it doesn't seem terrifically believable that the escape convicts so easily take Fletch's advice on where to hide, but he does a fantastic job of coralling them in the opeining.\n\nSome of the overt "Southernness" feels overdone to me, but perhaps it was the effect of Mcdonald's many years living in Tennessee which had a tarnishing effect."
November 29, 2016 –
57.0% "We're starting to go somewhere, but I can sadly already almost predict the ending. In particular, there was a ham-handed mention of a car that gave the whole thing away for me.\n\nOf all of the Fletch books, so far this one seems to be the biggest influencer for the creation of portions of the movie Fletch Lives, which was otherwise made out of whole cloth based on the character."
December 2, 2016 –
64.0% "This is where things begin to go sideways! Here comes the third act... Much of what I anticipated was going to happen has, the question now is how will he manage to extract himself (and his friends/family)?"
December 3, 2016 – Finished Reading

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