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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, October 1

Rubbernecker & The Skeleton Twins

More about Belinda Baur. Her fourth book, Rubbernecker, had me by the throat from the very beginning. But it also had my head in a jumble. I just couldn’t figure out all the characters and how they fit together. But I sped onward and by the time I’d finished, it all made sense. The main character, Patrick Fort, is a young man with the odd disability called Asperger’s Syndrome, high-end autism. The “high-end” signifies that he has some abilities that would be considered genius, but also other characteristics like obsessive compulsive behavior, lack of empathy, the inability to interact with people (look anyone in the eye, understand irony or humor, touch or be touched by others). Patrick is eighteen and begins a medical course in anatomy in which he and his fellow students dissect cadavers with the end result of determining cause of death. The other students don’t understand Patrick and his odd behavior, but they put up with him. Patrick is trying to find out not just how people die, but why they die. His father had been killed in a tragic accident, struck by a car as he and the young Patrick were crossing a street. Patrick wants to find out what happens after death. Don’t we all? In the process of dissecting a cadaver, Patrick becomes suspicious about the cause of death listed for Sam Galen, the cadaver they were working on. And off we go with Patrick to solve this mystery. Belinda Baur’s writing is much like another English author I admire, Kate Atkinson. Nearly every sentence of both writers is so quotable. Here’s a sample from the opening chapter of Rubbernecker: “Dying is not as easy as it looks in the movies. ¶ In the movies, a car skids on ice. It slews across the road, teeters on the edge of the cliff. ¶ It drops; it tumbles; the doors come off; it crumples and arcs, crumples and arcs—and finally stops against a tree, wheels up, like a smoking turtle. Other drivers squeal to a stop and leave their doors open as they rush to the precipice and stare in horror, while the car—¶ The car pauses for dramatic effect. ¶ And then bursts into flames. ¶ The people step back, they shield their faces, they turn away. ¶ In the movies, they don’t even have to say it. ¶ In the movies, the driver is dead.” Wow, she’s good.

And speaking of good. We just saw The Skeleton Twins, and it was maybe better than good. The two people borrowed from Saturday Night Live, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, give convincingly funny and serious (bordering on tragic) performances as the twins Milo and Maggie, both of whom have issues serious enough for them to attempt suicide. They’ve been estranged for ten years when the movie opens, but come together again to help each other through their issues—Milo’s homosexuality and Maggie’s unhappy marriage. The plot is transparent, but the performances are great. You should see it if only for the hilarious lip-synching of “Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us Now” and the gaseous bit when the two get high on nitrous oxide.

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