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OK - This is mind-stretching crime thriller, set in the town of Defiance, Oklahoma in 1956.
What’s it about? – Bucky Ontario has read about the up and coming town of Defiance in Time magazine. He decides to leave his home in Louisiana and head for this town, where he quickly secures a job initially at the local grocery store, and then as a car salesman. However he has far more deep seated intentions to make it big in this town, and one day wants to become mayor.
As the book begins, there is a horrific murder, and Bucky is first on the scene, camera in hand. He then immerses himself in trying to work out, what turns out to be, a very complex plot. Without spoiling the story, there are other murders to follow ...
What can you say about the story telling? – Bill Brier is an excellent story teller. He doesn’t hurry the story, and has a lovely turn of phrase and I really loved some of his descriptions
... “Bucky sank into a wingback chair with upholstery as soft as a flower petal and took in the scent of Vicks Nose Drops. He faced a wall setting of porcelain ducks waddling after their mother. Marybeth sat slouched on the sofa wearing a green sweatshirt and stroking a tortoise shell cat shaped like a feather duster” ...
....” Mr Gustafson’s head looked polished on top, and straggly catfish-like hairs stuck out from his ears” ...
What did you think of the characterisation? – Bucky is the protagonist. He comes across as level headed, bright, quick witted and has very decent values and a dedicated, systematic approach to crime solving. He also enjoys bowls of soup! There are a number of different other characters in the book. Cal Alsop, his boss at the Chrysler Car Sales Room. Kansas, father of local teenager Marybeth. Kindra who becomes Bucky’s super sleuthing friend. Gustafson, Kindra’s grandfather, to name a few. I thought the characterisation was strong and consistent.
What was good about reading this book? – I loved the title of the book, and found it amusing with the references to soup (usually Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup by the way!). You do have to finish the book to discover who didn’t like soup!
I found life in Oklahoma in 1957 interesting. The town was beholden to the mayor. The decision to bury the time capsule, the nature of the time capsule!, and the events surrounding this, including the ’caddos’ was most intriguing. I had to look the caddos up as I had never heard of them, to find they are a South Eastern American Tribe, who were living within the community. The tensions within the town because of this were very apparent.
I loved the dialogue – it was so well done. For example -
“Do you have water?” She asked, placing red fingertips to her throat like she was really thirsty.
She said “worter,” so he pegged her for a Noo Yawker.
The story had a lot of twists and turns. One minute you thought you knew the identity of the killer, then it had to have been somebody else. Other unexpected and shocking events unfolded including amongst other things, incest, sexual assault and a peeping Tom. I had to keep reading as I really needed to know who did it and get some answers!
What didn’t you like? – I didn’t dislike anything, but I would have liked to know more about Bucky’s past life, which is eluded to, (his grandma was eaten by a gator!) and about his relationships.
How did reading the book make you feel? – Without giving away any spoilers, the book was a page turner, action packed, and there were very vivid scenes of crime. If you like crime stories and ‘who dunnits’ – you will enjoy this book. And appreciate the subtle touches of humour!
Overall, the book was great fun, and I very much enjoyed reading it.
Would you recommend this book? – Yes. It’s a super read - especially if you like the psychological challenge of a well thought out and clever plot! And when you turn the last page – you might just feel like – you know what? – a bowl of soup!
How many Daisies for overall readability and enjoyment?