RARA-AVIS: _Blue Lonesome_

William Denton (buff@pobox.com)
Thu, 2 Sep 1999 00:01:00 -0400 (EDT)

Well, this time I made sure I got the book of the month. It's the first Pronzini I've read in quite a while. I read three or four of his Nameless books several years ago, then never got around to reading anything else. I know he's held in high regard by many on the list so I was looking forward to this one.

For those who haven't read it, it's the story of a bored, lonely accountant who becomes mildly obsessesed with a woman he sees in a restaurant. She eats the same meal, night after night, and she's very depressed and utterly lonely. Within a couple of weeks she's killed herself, and the accountant sets off the find out why she ended up as she did. He tracks her back to a small, dusty town and his investigation there upsets a lot of people and sets a lot of things in motion.

It's a good story, and well written, although the solution and revelation of the killer was a bit weak. Aside from that the end was satisfying and I was pleased the accountant ended up happily. I was reminded, like I always am when a guy hits a small town and proceeds to tear the lid off, of _Red Harvest_. It's been so long since I read _Harvest_ that I can't compare the two, though.

Pronzini does a fine job of describing the loneliness and solitary existence of some of the characters, with their empty lives and dead futures. Beulah itself is one bleak, depressing place, too. But as I said, it ends up happily, which I much prefer to some kind of depressing, open-ended close where people just wandered off and nothing changed.

I'm sure others have more interesting comments to make on it.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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