Monday, 15 July 2013

JOSEPH HANSEN - FADEOUT

 
Synopsis/blurb.....

Fadeout is the first of Joseph Hansen's twelve classic mysteries featuring rugged Dave Brandstetter, an insurance investigator who is contentedly gay. When entertainer Fox Olson's car plunges off a bridge in a storm, a death claim is filed, but where is Olson's body? As Brandstetter questions family, fans, and detractors, he grows certain Olson is still alive and that Dave must find him before the would-be killer does. Suspenseful and wry, shrewd and deeply felt, Fadeout remains as fresh today as when it startled readers more than thirty years ago.


Fadeout was July’s selected group read for the Pulp Fiction members on Goodreads. Originally published in 1970 and apparently one of the first PI series to feature a gay man as the protagonist. Truth be told, I would probably have remained ignorant of the book and dozen long series if it hadn’t cropped up on the monthly poll.

Having stumbled a bit with my reading during June and proclaimed that my mojo was back, Fadeout at less than 200 pages long was the perfect book to zip through quickly. I may have been somewhat premature with my proclamation. No fault of Hansen, but it was incredibly difficult to immerse myself in Brandstetter’s case whilst there was Wimbledon tennis on the box, plus some planning activities required for both a family weekend away (just gone) and some quality couple time together next weekend – it’s not every day you celebrate 25 years of marriage! A tired, old joke.......but my better half would have served less time for murder!

Back to Hansen and Brandstetter, once I concentrated on the story I found it enjoyable and interesting. Due to distractions previously mentioned I kind of stuttered through the first 50-60 pages before it began to flow for me. Dave Brandstetter was capable, likeable, believable and sympathetic, particularly as Hansen has him coping with the after-effects of losing his long-time partner of 20 years to cancer.

I think a lot of time with PI fiction I need a personal element to sustain my interest in addition to the mystery case solving tack. On this occasion, Hansen succeeded admirably with both strands of the story and I will be reading more of Brandstetter in the future.

As mentioned recently on a couple of notable crime fiction blog sites I visit, I do enjoy reading fiction from the pre-tech age, where people mail telegrams and write letters, probably something to do with my age, I guess.

Note to self; I ought to read more police procedurals where there is more of a focus on a team as opposed to the solitary individual.

4 from 5   

I think I acquired my copy a month or so ago second hand from Amazon.


10 comments:

  1. Col, congratulations on your 25th wedding anniversary! Joseph Hansen is a new author for me but then they usually are these days.

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    1. Prashant, thanks for your good wishes. Hansen was a newbie for me also. There's so much undiscovered stuff out there!

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  2. Hi Col - my records show that I read this book in 2009, and my note says in its entirety: 'first of a series featuring gay detective. Not bad.' So plenty of comment and a really full and thoughtful review there! Don't really remember it, but one day I should get round to reading more of this series... so thanks for filling in a bit more detail.

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    1. Moira, no fashion hints on rugged, gay investigators circa late-60's? Shame on you, though I wasn't even keeping a record of what I read back then!
      Not too much flesh on the bones from me, but nice to see a bit more common ground!

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  3. Col - Congratulations on your anniversary, and many more. As to the novel, I know what you mean about wanting a personal connection. I'm that way too about some kinds of novels, and I'm glad you were able to find that link with this one. Oh, and I couldn't agree more about the length of the book. I'm always in favour of a book that doesn't need reams of paper to tell a story.

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    1. Margot, thanks for your kind wishes.
      Fadeout/Hansen ticked a lot of boxes in respect of length, character development and aforementioned empathy towards, plus the mystery itself was concluded satisfactorily. Not bad for a debut novel.

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  4. Twenty five years of marriage. Quite a milestone. We are at 33 and don't celebrate much, even the decades. But then our anniversary comes shortly after Christmas and we usually overspend at Christmas and feel more frugal in January.

    I totally agree about older mysteries with less techy stuff in them. I get really irritated with all the techy stuff, sometimes. Even though I work in Information Technology, I am a Luddite at heart.

    I have wanted to read Hansen, thus glad you liked this book. But don't think I have any of his books. Maybe I will find some at the Sept. Book Sale.

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  5. Tracy, 33 is some achievement, irrespective of whether you put the flags out. We're fortunate with the timing, in that it doesn't clash with any of our children's birthdays and being summer in the UK it sometimes coincides with decent weather. We've always gone away for a few days to the coast.

    Luddite then, me too I think.

    I guess, you'll be stocking up in September then? Hope you find at least something by Hansen!

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    1. A few days at the coast sounds great. We travel very little, but we are right on the coast.

      Yes, I will be stocking up. One year I spent $100 and almost all the books were $1 paperbacks so that means 100 books, nearly. More recently, I have held myself back more. Of course, there is the serendipity of whether the book is in very used condition, or almost like new, and whether the authors one is interested in shows up any given year. Always a surprise.

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    2. 100 books for $100, sounds like Christmas in September! I don't think I could hold off for one big splurge though, I have to acquire on a regular basis. You'll have to do a post on your sale outing this year, photos would be cool!

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