A BOOK REVIEW BY ALEX GRANT
LAST GOOD DAY
LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY
APRIL 2003/ HARDCOVERS @ $36.95 Can.
'a genuinely wrenching and bloody literary work'
Blauner has written five increasingly alert, astutely observant, and
ambitious novels centred upon crime and social dismay, and now rampant
post- September 11th societal disarray. His latest book THE LAST GOOD
DAY proves to be the break-through landmark one that blithely leaps
over the more banal and pedestrian genre conventions, landing firmly
upright on all fours as a genuinely wrenching and bloody literary work.
One that evokes the tradition of Greek tragedy wherein small human flaws
gather momentum heedlessly until events combine relentlessly and all
hell breaks loose, with plain folks reverting to their primal roots
as a competitive and possessive species.
The dismembered corpse of an unidentified woman bobs up to the tranquil
surface of the Hudson River at the Riverside commuter rail station in
Rockland County. Detective Lieutenant Mike Fallon, first deputy to Riverside
police chief Harold Baltimore, is in charge of the subsequent investigation
and re-encounters Lynn Schulman his high-school sweet-heart for whom
he still carries an ardent and wildly inappropriate torch, though both
are now married with children. Fallon is a man who has often exceeded
the bounds of his duties as a police-officer, taking unfair advantage
of the good citizens of Riverside though he believes that he is simply
taking perks due to his conscientious devotion to duty, and the deeply
entrenched roots of his family within this small community. Like so
many human beings today he feels a sense of entitlement even for his
Lynns husband Barry is a hot-shot lawyer with Retrogenesis, a
bio-tech company developing an anti-Alzheimers drug that is failing
badly. He conceals the entire truth from Lynn about their imminent bankruptcy
just as she holds back on the absolute truth about her torrid love-affair
with Mike Fallon, twenty-five years earlier. Foolishly the three principals
dig themselves deeper and deeper into a legal dispute that threatens
to tear apart the entire community. Mikes headstrong actions lead
him into becoming a suspect in the murder of Sandi Lanier, whose husband
Jeffrey is also becoming unhinged by the failure of his sports-memorabilia
on-line merchandising venture.
Writer Blauner cannily releases together a flood of memories, regrets
and obsessions within the suspicious, egocentric minds of his characters,who
as they are ageing have failed to come to terms with their actual limitations
and their stiff-necked prideful natures. The intricate network of obligations
between men and women who work and live closely together are fully caught
in Blauners tender and insightful delineation of how things can
go wrong so easily even among people of goodwill and generosity. Men
and women convinced wrongly that justice always lies on their side and
that the law will inevitably prove them right in the final analysis.
If only that were true!
© Alex Grant May 2003
by Alex Grant
all rights reserved