Once in a while you come across a novel that is different and unique. A novel that just doesn’t quite fit into the same square and round peg holes, doesn’t follow the formulas that the big guys set out for everybody and is so well done structurally you need to take pause and enjoy it for the gem it is. I was lucky enough to find one of them in Death of a Young Lieutenant by B.R. Stateham. I am going to get to jaw with him on April 6th on my blogtalk show The G-ZONE and I can’t wait to hear him describe what was in his head when he did this. What his process was, and how he came to craft such a unique and engaging read. Here is what lies between the covers on this awesome read and then an author bio, I think both are important to the work, the bio first:
“The name is B.R. Stateham. Yes, I have a face only a mother could love. And I have been accused of having a distinct familial resemblence to a certain man-made Frankenstein critter from Olden Days. Be that as it may, I am a sixty year old kid who has been married happily to the same wife for almost a quarter-century (bless her tormented soul!). We have three grown kids, five grand kids, two dogs, and a Dodge pickup truck I call 'Baby.'
I like to consider myself a writer. A writer of speculative fiction. My reading tastes run toward Fantasies, Histories, Mysteries, and Science-Fiction. But really, it doesn't matter.
I'll read just about anything. Writing, however, revolves around the four genres mentioned.
I don't know about you, but to me, today's writing seems so blasé. Like tasting vanilla pudding without much vanilla. Clones of clones. Gone, it seems, are the writing styles found in writers like Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett. The two literately created the modern-day hard-boiled detective/cop. Every writer since who has played in this genre has copied, in one way or another, their styles. They brought a life to their words, animating their characters with a living, breathing presence. Today's writers of this genre go for fast paced action, unbelievable plots, and damn little description.
So my goal is to blend the modern with the old; bring more 'color' back into the art of writing--to stimulate the imagination, yet leave free enough room for each reader to paint that verbal portrait all their own.
Join me in this endeavor. Let us be stalwart heroes and walk the dark alleys and back streets of murder and mayhem together. Or soar into galaxies unknown in search of adventures unparalleled.”
And now Death of a Young Lieutenant:
“Meet Jake Reynolds. Art thief extraordinarie. His speciality is Renaissance masterpieces, with a few 'modern' selections thrown in. His modus operendi is to create an exact replica of the original and switch them with the original going to his client. His 'technique' in aging a masterpiece he developed himself. A secret he will carry to his grave. His clients are fanatical art connoissuers who are very powerful and very rich. He worked his trade from 1903 through 1950 and retired. Never arrested---rarely suspected of his true occupation.
And unlucky. Unlucky in that, while trying to complete one of his many capers, he somehow is dragged into a murder investigation. Unfortunately he is a thief with a conscience. As the series evolves we see he develops a reputation of being a 'crackerjack detective.' All sorts of people and police departments come to him to ask for his help. But how can you solve a murder (a crime, which for him, is a crime which cannot go unpunished) and complete your own felonious endeavor without being caught?
The first book in the series is entitled, The Death of a Young Lieutenant. In the opening weeks of World War One, and as a member of a newly formed British Royal Flying Corps squadron shipped off to Belgium, he is asked by his squadron commander to prove the innocence of a young lieutenant accused of murdering an NCO. At the same time Jake wants to steal a 14th Century Jan van Eck painting. The problem is both the evidence to prove or disprove the lieutnenant's guilt AND the painting reside behind enemy lines. How do you prove a man's innocence and steal a masterpiece while an entire German army is breathing down your neck? “
I have had the pleasure of getting to read three things by this author in the last two weeks: this full length novel, Call Me Smitty ( a grouping of short stories, I am posting on that later this week) , and his part in the Improvised Digital short Story “Hunter” that we did last week: Three different genres, three amazing stories and styles of writing. I at times feel that I am kind of special because I got to find this and read it. It is so much fun to read something of substance and character that doesn’t have to hold to anyone else’s formula. The texture, the substance and the grit this novel contains goes back to the author and all that he chose to create and it is awesome and fun. Dark, surreal, and moving, but none the less a compelling read. Don’t pass this author’s work by, check out at least one piece of it, I am sure that you will come to very same conclusion that I have.
What are you reading today? Have you checked out our new blogtalk radio show The G-ZONE? Check us out and become our friend on Shelfari, The Novel Spot &Twitter. Go to Goodreads and become our friend there and suggest books for us to read and post on. Did you know you can shop directly on Amazon by clicking the Amazon Banner on our blog? Thanks for stopping by today; We will see you tomorrow. Have a great day. http://www.gelatisscoop.blogspot.com