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Friday, March 8, 2013

Dead Anyway


Once or twice I had fantasized about just disappearing, getting off the grid. Perhaps like the Gene Hackman character in Enemy of the State. Not dying, but disappearing and living off the land or just wandering. Of course the complications of life, family, and money snap me out of this delusional thinking. Lighting out for the territory, moving away from some place you have resided for years, or maybe changing your name are more real possibilities. I’ve sort of gone with the first two options. When I was perusing the new books shelf at the library, I saw a familiar name, Chris Knopf attached to a new title, Dead Anyway and read the dust jacket and the first couple of paragraphs of Chapter One and was hooked. I was wowed by the end of Chapter One and found the great desire to continue to read how Arthur Cathcart was going to solve his own murder.
I found Arthur’s experience with the Connecticut DMV totally unbelievable. When I moved to Maryland and applied for a Maryland license I experienced a week from HELL as they dredged up a ticket that was paid by me from another state from 1968, forty-four years ago. Why it took a week was that the ticket was still buried in microfiche and it took the clerk in that other state that long to find it. They discovered it had been paid and the flag was unnecessary. But for the plot of the book, Knopf couldn’t be completely accurate, though I do have to say he did make a quick reference to the exasperation many do experience when they have to do business with the DMV of any state.
The bravado Arthur displays as he wheels and deals with the underbelly of society and the others is entertaining and his use of technology is stunning. Again that Gene Hackman character keeps popping up as well as some others like Jason Bourne and Lawrence Block’s Keller. The technological ingenuity of Arthur and his unlimited resources make him an intriguing dead guy.
It amazes me how items in one book connect to another book. I have been noticing this phenomenon occurring with curious regularity recently. In this book one of the characters is studying Munchausen syndrome by proxy in her college course. It was the very obscure disease a mother in another book I recently read had.
For a stay at home researcher, Arthur is showing some great skills, obviously learned from his research and being a natural. It’s a treat and very entertaining.  The many personas of Arthur keep you on your toes and I’m not sure this one has a sequel, to accompany Sam and Jackie, though the door is open following the chilly ending.

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