Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Book Review: 'The Treasure of Indecisie' by Lawrence Kelter

Popular New York author Lawrence Kelter has published over twelve mystery thrillers that always manage to find their way to the top of readers’ favorites. Though we all know Lawrence’s polished writing of crime dramas, in this book - BACK TO BROOKLYN - he enters a sphere ever fine author envies: the ability to marry suspense, courtroom drama and satire!

Lawrence manages to conquer the realm of comedy – not just hilarious dialogue but also ingenious plot lines that continue to open doors throughout the text – story within a story, manuscript manipulation as fine as any written before. Even his created character names (e.g., Rusty Turgidson!) add to the jollity.

With a story this complex (and to enjoy all the innuendoes) read the synopsis first: ‘ It’s Tinsel Town in the 60s. What starts out as an ordinary day in the life of Hollywood power agent Henry “Hank” Greenberg soon take a turn for the worse when he finds his partner, Sol Bloom dead at his desk. As a brutal typhoon rages outside, Hank and his able-bodied secretary Zelda play host to detectives Mango and Turgidson, the lately widowed Mata Bloom, and her chaperone, the enigmatic Dr. G├írdonyi. Trapped for the night without power and telephones, Hank picks up The Treasure of Indecisie, the manuscript that was lying atop his partner’s desk when he was found dead. With the light of a solitary candle to read by, Hank delves into the adventure set in the age of enchantment, reading aloud to his audience, some willing to listen and some adamantly against being held captive. The story centers on two star-crossed strangers, Francisco Montero, a swordfighter who has lost his way in the world and Sera de Souza, the beauty he stumbles upon quite by chance. Both Sera and her inconvenient sister Tia are from Andorra, a beleaguered village, barely ongoing after an attack by the armies of Indecisie. The Indecisie hoard burned their village to the ground, looted and pillaged. Worse still, all the village men have been taken prisoner. Montero has been without a worthy cause for quite some time and decides to champion the quest to return the captured men of Andorra. To succeed, Montero must first locate the Kingdom of Indecisie, a principality that is never in the same place for very long. It might appear in the north at first light only to be spotted hours later in the west. There is no map showing where to find the phantom kingdom, but Montero is as determined as any hero must be to overcome such insurmountable odds. However, the evil wizard Branzino abducts him before he can begin his quest. Assisted by Montero’s noble steed Conquistador, Sera, pursues Montero and his captors, facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles both natural and supernatural. Lurking nearby are Dorches, Ava, and Kayos, three bumbling witches who can barely get out of their own way least they interfere with the plans of their nemesis, the wizard Branzino. Individually and in legion, these separate collections attempt to complicate, exacerbate, infuriate, and foil our hero’s efforts. Nothing is as it appears and bizarre alliances are formed as this adventure unwinds and rewinds before finally unwinding again. Will Montero rescue the imprisoned men of Andorra? Will he win the beautiful Sera? Will he even manage to find the illusive Kingdom of Indecisie? All of these quandaries will be answered in turn, but the bigger question is, was Sol Bloom murdered and what does this flight of fancy have to do with his death?’

Lawrence Kelter just keeps growing better and better. It is tough to imagine where his talents will extend next. Grady Harp, May 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.