Sunday, September 9, 2012

DON’T EVER GET OLD by Daniel Friedman

Publisher: Minotaur
Date published: May 22, 2012
ISBN: 0312606931
Historical, Suspense
Obtained via: Publisher/Netgalley
Reviewed by Gina

When Buck Schatz retired from the police department some thirty odd years ago he thought he left the ugly side of life behind. Not only a war veteran but a Nazi death camp survivor, after his career in homicide he was ready to settle down and enjoy life with his wife, Rose. Things are moving along…he’s got some of the issues that go with being in his late 80’s…but life is okay. Then he receives a call from an old war buddy, Jim Wallace. Not that Jim is a buddy per se, they just went through the same horrific experiences. Before Jim dies he tells Buck something he never thought he’d hear—one of the SS officers in charge of the camp is still alive and is in possession of a considerable amount of stolen gold. When other acquaintances begin to die rather suspicious deaths, Buck calls on his grandson nicknamed Tequila, to assist in tracking down the former SS officer and find the gold. Confronted by age-related limitations and ghosts from his past Buck has one last adventure before he settles down to that easy going life with Rose.

I had high expectations when I first picked up Daniel Friedman’s DON’T EVER GET OLD. The blurb had the possibilities for everything that makes for a good read: a crusty police detective, a decades old crime that had delicious possibilities, suspense, a historical backdrop and characters that could well be your next door neighbors. For me it fell short. I’ve had a hard time remembering the title and have had to check to be sure I had the right one a few times. It is a great title for a memoir, but for a memorable fiction something just didn’t sit right.

While Buck had some great lines—Mr. Friedman did a great job of capturing the sense of self so many seniors exhibit—I didn’t find him a likeable character. I didn’t relate to him on any level despite chuckling at some of his lines. In terms of the author capturing that sense of self, if you have spent any time chatting with a senior citizen many have remarkable perspectives and rich language to describe events in their lives. Buck and the elderly characters were fleshed out with those perspectives and it was well done.

Buck’s grandson’s given name is Billy (William) and we’re told at school he was given the nickname of Tequila—every time I read the name it pulled me out of the story.

If you like quirky lines and like to chuckle now and again you might want to consider DON’T EVER GET OLD.


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