Archive for 'Kuhlken, Ken'
Every once in a while I find myself reading a book that is very unlike the light mysteries that I usually devote my time to. Sometimes they are great, sometimes horrible. But at the end of the book, I find myself questioning where this particular book came from. I know my husband slips some of them into my reading pile (and this one may have gotten in that way), but some also get there because of a review or comment about a book that didnâ€™t really reflect the true nature of the book. I suspect the latter in the case of Do Re Mi.
Do Re Mi is an interesting book, donâ€™t get me wrong, but it isnâ€™t a very light mystery. It is set in Northern California in 1972, among hippie communes, folk music concerts, biker gangs, crooked cops, and marijuana crops. Recent college graduate Clifford Hickey arrives on the scene to play at a folk music jamboree with his brother, Alvaro. But as soon as the two meet up, local lawmen come to arrest Alvaro for the murder of a police officer’s nephew. Alvaro runs and the police pursue him throughout the book. Certain his brother didnâ€™t kill the teenager, Hickey tries to unravel the troubles of this small town that has turned into a war zone with armed factions trying to control the marijuana crop.
The title of the book is taken from Woody Guthrieâ€™s song about California and the high expectations and disappointment of people heading there during the dust bowl, and there are some interesting tidbits about folk music in the book. But the title is well-chosen because the book is pretty dark – a lot of it reflects the disillusionment of the American people that occurred during the late 60â€™s and early 70â€™s. It is also violent and it isnâ€™t a book that is going to leave you skipping and whistling merrily when you finish it. But the book is well written, the characters are very interesting, and the situation complex and probably realistic. If you enjoy reading material with some real meat to it once and a while, you might try this one.
Favorite character? Pop Hickey â€“ a complicated man. Did I guess it? No. Will I read another? I will look to see if Kuhlken has other mysteries that are more to my taste â€“ heâ€™s good, but this is heavier than I usually like.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007