Lennon, David. “Reckoning”, (The Quarter Boys), Blue Spike Publishing, 2012.
When Peace is Not Serene
I am a very lucky guy. I, through my reviews, have met some of the best people in the world and the latest addition to my collection of friends is David Lennon who was kind enough to show me around my new home in Boston last Sunday. Aside from being a wonderful writer, a Lambda Literary Award winner last year and a nominee again this year (for “Blue’s Bayou”), he is a really nice guy and fun to spend time with. (Yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition but then I am from the South). I am looking forward to our continued friendship. I know that sometimes it is difficult for a reviewer to be objective when writing about someone he knows, but I do not think that is a problem here as Lennon is such a fine writer anyway and besides, I never let my personal opinion affect what I think about a piece of literature. I do not use the word literature lightly. There are those that write stories and there are those that write literature and Lennon is one of the latter.
In “Reckoning”, we return to private investigators Michel Doucette and Sassy Jones and our four footed pal, Blue. (I had to mention Blue simply because Lennon and my Jack Russell Terrorist, Sophie, have formed such a bond). Life has not been so good for them for the past two years and just as they thought that a bit of respite was coming their way, their newly peaceful lives were torn asunder when Michel received a ransom note and he and Sassy came under investigation from the police. This fourth volume of “The Quarter Boys” series is a bit darker than the others and even has a bit of romance (I will get to that). I am just sorry that there will only be one more book in the series as I have enjoyed them so much but then I am a native New Orleanian so whenever there is a good gay novel or mystery about my hometown I am there.
With the new troubles, not just Sassy and Michel have pains but Michel who has finally been able to spend time with his partner, finds that he will have to wait just a little longer as his old friends and enemies re-enter his life and the past soon moves into the present. Be warned however—clear your day and your calendar before you begin to read “Reckoning” because once you start, you are not going anywhere. As usual, the characters are wonderfully developed as is the plot and the writing is gorgeous. Lennon writes realistically—his characters seem real, the setting is real, the choices that are faced are very much like the choices that all of us face and the results of those choices are unquestionably real. Even more than that, the emotions are real and we react to tem realistically by laughing and crying with the plot.
When I spoke with Lennon on Sunday afternoon, the only thing he had to say about the book (I do not like to discuss what I am due to review, especially with the author) is that he was surprised that a couple of reviews were negative. I did what I never do and read those reviews (I just do not think it is fair to read someone else’s opinion of a book I am going to write about) and it was obvious to me that these two reviewers missed the point. In a realistic novel, things happen, er, realistically and just because one does not like what happens, does this mean that the book is not good. In fact, I think quite the opposite. If everything happens the way we want it to in books, why would we bother to read? Because someone does not like the way a book ends does not detract from its literary merit and reviewing is based upon opinion anyway. We all do not like green peas but they continue to sell and obviously more people like them than don’t or they would not sell. If Lennon’s books had no merits, they would not be nominated for the major gay literary prize and I happen to think that this volume in the series rises above the rest. I do smell another Lammie in Lennon’s future but if I am wrong, I am wrong. I will have to give him a “Lassie” instead.