(From the archives)
Case is a graduate of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film
Preservation and the Head of Cataloging for the motion picture
collection of the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. He is the
curator of the film noir series that runs in January and February
at the Dryden Theater
DIE DREAMING, Terence Faherty
Keane is the perfect example of a character that illuminates the
prosaic by highlighting the idiosyncratic. His background is like no
other: On a religious retreat between his junior and senior years in
high school he came across a boy who claimed he could talk to God. When
this claim was proven a deceit, his faiths were shaken: his faith in
God, his faith in Man, and his faith in The Truth. This event was never
far from him, and his crises of faith were internalized, affecting his
belief in God, his belief in himself, and his belief in his ability to
find the truth. Hoping to tackle all of these crises simultaneously, he
abandoned Mary, the woman who would be the love of his life, and entered
the seminary. When his failure at the seminary coincided with Mary’s
abandonment of him for his college roommate, Harold Ohlman, Owen began
to wander, doing odd menial jobs, and ending up in a liquor store. In a
fit of pique, he attended his tenth high school reunion under the guise
of a private investigator, and Owen Keane, the amateur detective was
This backstory is specific enough to be unique, and yet the sum
is the same for many of us. Our lives have been an accumulation of
events that led us to question the world around us. And to this end,
Owen Keane has many of the same investigative tools we all do. As a fan
mystery fiction and mystery film, Owen has been indoctrinated into all
the tropes and clichés of the detective’s process. His experience is our
experience as he references Dashiell Hammett, or Nero Wolfe, or Double
Indemnity. This makes him acutely self-aware of his place in the
genealogy of detective fiction, but the broad shoulders he stands on
don’t prevent him from jumping to the wrong conclusion or following a
lead because he hopes it to be true. His failings are our failings, even
as his cynical, self-deprecating exterior belies an underlying belief
in the goodness of men and women, and the belief that he will be able to
effect positive change through the search for truth.
In fact, his
currency is truth. Rarely does he get paid for his services, and even
then it only covers expenses. But if he can uncover the truth, not
necessarily for himself, and not even necessarily for the victim, it
adds to a growing tapestry of truth, something that he can point to as a
basis for a belief in his ability to find the truth, which supports a
belief in himself and in mankind, which holds up the possibility of a
belief in the existence and effectiveness of God, despite the fact that
faith requires neither proof nor support. Yet this is what drives him to
toil in the long shadows of Sam Spade, Nick Charles and Travis McGee.
DREAMING, the fourth book in Terence Faherty’s “Owen Keane” series, is
perhaps the best, taking this mystery-fan/faith-in-crisis context and
grafting it onto a mystery story that inverts the mystery story
expectation of beginning-middle-end. Owen Keane, 28 and feeling a bit of
a failure, decides to play a self-deprecating joke on his high school
classmates, The Sorrowers, by running an ad for the Owen Keane Detective
Agency in the 10th reunion program. But one of The Sorrowers is a
jokester herself and sets up a fake mystery to lure Owen into an
embarrassing situation. Owen falls for the ruse, but is saved by another
classmate. In the meantime, however, a true mystery surfaces when loose
lips mention an event that was suppressed 10 years ago and that tied
The Sorrowers together in a code of secrecy. Owen’s investigation
stumbles along, following false leads and shaky assumptions, but his
dogged determination does eventually reveal the truth. It also reveals
that there are as many victims as perpetrators, and in the end Owen
decides that the truth, now discovered, is sometimes better left buried.
decision comes into question 10 years later when one of The Sorrowers
turns up dead. Owen must come to terms with his responsibility in the
death and determine whether the truth did come out, and if someone would
kill to keep it hidden. His investigation takes him back to his
hometown and his 20th high school reunion. He starts to look at The
Sorrowers and the mysterious event that took place 20 years ago, but he
has to take into account the changes that have taken place in the last
10 years, when the end of his last investigation became the beginning of
this new crime. He discovers that relationships are even more complex
than they appeared, and that crimes can have implications generations
removed from the original event itself.
There is no better feeling
than finding a piece of art that resonates with you, unless you get to
share that discovery with someone else. Terence Faherty and Owen Keane
were such a discovery for me, and I hope that, by sharing the discovery
with you, they will pass from the realms of the forgotten.
Sergio Angelini, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR, Lionel White
Yvette Banek, THE HOG'S BACK MYSTERY, Freeman Wills Croft
Les Blatt, STOCKING STUFFERS
Brian Busby, THE YEAR'S BEST BOOKS IN REVIEW
Bill Crider, CUT ME IN, Ed McBain
Scott Cupp, THE FACE IN THE FROST, John Bellairs
Martin Edwards, THE NURSING HOME MURDER, Ngaio Marsh
Charles Gramlich, THE FIRST FIVE PARKER NOVELS
Rick Horton, Ace Double: Rocannon's World, by Ursula K. Le Guin/The Kar-Chee Reign, by Avram Davidson
Jerry House, THE MURDER OF ANN AVERY, Henry Kuttner
George Kelley, THE SUPERGIRLS: FASHION, FEMINISM, FANTASY, AND THE HISTORY OF COMIC BOOK HEROINES By Mike Madrid
Margot Kinberg, BLUE MONDAY, Nicci French
Rob Kitchin, Lennox, Craig Russell
Kate Laity, HIGHSMITH: A ROMANCE OF THE 1950s, Marijane Meeker
B.V. Lawson, A WOMAN ON THE EDGE, Elizabeth George
Steve Lewis, TIME GONE BY, William Heffernan
Todd Mason, 1965, the short fiction annuals
J.F. Norris, DEATH GOES TO SCHOOL, Q. Patrick
Matt Paust, A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ, Walter M. Miller
James Reasoner, QUEEN OF THE MARTIAN CATACOMBS, Leigh Brackett
Richard Robinson, SPIKE OF SWIFT RIVER, Jack O'Brien
Kerrie Smith, PENGUIN POOL MURDERS, Stuart Palmer
Kevin Tipple, SHIFTING IS FOR THE GOYIM, Elizabeth Zelvin
TomCat, WHAT DREAD HAND, Christiana Brand
TrackK, SEASONS OF SNOW AND SINS, Patricia Moyes
Westlake Review, ORDO, Donald Westlake
Zybahn, A COLD DAY IN PARADISE, Steve Hamilton
Friday, December 11, 2015
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I did one under my crime name: https://grahamwynd.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/ffb-highsmith-a-romance-of-the-1950s/
Let me add to that review by recommending the short story collection THE CONFESSIONS OF OWEN KEANE (from Crippen & Landru). Faherty is on my "favorite mystery short story writers" list.
I'm not getting any review at that address, Kate.
Patti...slim chance that Kate's will come through thus:
removing the Secure indicator...I can bring hers up either way.
And my larval version is up, and will be added to over the course of time!
1965: the short fiction annuals (and their dramatic cousin)
Don't know what you mean by Secure indicator. I can go to the site but don't see any reviews other than Kate's books.
The http vs. the https in the first part of the HIGHSMITH review's address. The latter is the Secure version. Does the address I pasted above,
take you anywhere when pasted into your browser? It will take me directly to Kate's post.
And thanks for wrestling with all this...as I finally get to the Tuesday's Overlooked on Friday...some, work, including household repair and medium to heavy cleaning Really wiped me out on Tuesday. Just recovering.
My post is up:
Death Goes to School by Q. Patrick
Thanks for including me Patti, as always.
As always, you have another great list of books worth considering. If you would be willing to do so, perhaps you will pass the word via this link to your many followers:
I hope dozens of mystery readers accept the challenge.
Thanks for including my review, Patti. I enjoyed the review of the book by Faherty; I know I have heard of his books, but I don't think I had heard about the Owen Keane series.
Thanks for the reminder. I've been meaning to go back to Terence Faherty and Owen Keane.
I must get to know Owen Keane better, Patti... And thanks for including my post.
Enjoyed Jared's review of Die Dreaming so much that I immediately went looking for it, in our library (which has nothing by Terence Faherty) and on Amazon. All of the Owen Keane series apparently are out of print. Rather than order a used copy, which I might do at some point, I downloaded a Kindle edition of The Hollywood Op, a collection of stories by Faherty. He sounds like way too interesting a writer to be ignored.
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