Suspense Thomas Berger Suspects: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780688119256

Suspects: A Novel

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9780688119256: Suspects: A Novel

In a tale set in a typical American town, the author of Little Big Man uses humor and irony to weave together a story of murder, dysfunctional families, friendship, torn loyalties, and the American dream.

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Review:

Anyone familiar with Thomas Berger knows he has turned out some strange work. Suspects, centered around the gruesome slaying of a mother and daughter, is no exception. The main suspect in their murders has a feeble-minded half brother who is caught trying to steal a rubber duck from a convenience store, an incident that leads to the shooting death of a policeman and the arrest of an 11-year-old boy whose cousin was involved. Meanwhile, the half brother is hauled away by the cops from his sister-in-law's funeral because he is in possession of a handgun given to him by the female truck driver who hired him. The press is having a ball with the whole affair and the cops lose more evidence than the LAPD ever had. Suspects is a riotous, rollicking novel of insane proportions that leaves you believing it may have really happened.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Berger takes on the suburban police novel in his latest deadpan deconstruction. Frustrated and tantalized when the patrolmen she's called out to investigate her neighbor's failure to answer the phone or the doorbell leave without doing anything but ringing the bell themselves, placidly nosey Mary Jane Jones lets herself in the back door and discovers Donna Howland and her daughter Amanda, three, both murdered. Shocked Larry Howland returns from a business trip to find himself a widower. It isn't long, though, before the police find that he's never left town; he's been enjoying his latest stint in the Starry Night Motel, accompanied by garish decor, adult videos, and his boss's wife. But Officers Nick Moody and Dennis LeBeau soon give up on him as a suspect and focus on his shiftless half-brother Lloyd, who'd been having an unnervingly bad day, revealed in a series of merciless crosscuts, even before the cops started looking for him. Lloyd had broken his shaver, gotten fired from still another job, angered his boss into lodging a complaint against him, gotten pinched attempting to steal a rubber duckie from the local five-and-ten, and walked into a liquor store determined to rob it--only to stumble on the bloody aftermath of an earlier robbery. In anyone else's hands such elaborate forebodings would be the stuff of melodrama, but master parodist Berger piles up detail on detail with such cool detachment that the whole lurid whodunit recedes into the distance, as if you were watching it through the wrong end of a telescope. What emerges in its place is a crazy quilt of subplots--Lloyd's adventures with trucker Molly Sparks, the growing friction between Moody and LeBeau, and an insultingly inconsequential solution to the mystery--whose lack of connection gives the tale a gravely comic tone. Not the most successful of Berger's enigmatic sendups; as in Robert Crews (1994), fans of the genre under dissection are more likely to be bemused than enlightened. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Berger, Thomas
Published by William Morrow, New York (1996)
ISBN 10: 0688119255 ISBN 13: 9780688119256
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Book Description William Morrow, New York, 1996. Trade Paperback. Book Condition: New. Uncorrected Bound Galleys. New. Uncorrected bound galleys in glossy wrappers. 1996 novel by the author of Little Big Man and Neighbors. Bookseller Inventory # 2285

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