John Hathaway has a lot going on: an upcoming wedding, meeting his future in-laws for the first time, and the arrival of a strange postcard that threatens to unravel his plans for the entire weekend. To solve the mystery, save their own lives and impress the very British Darlingtons, Hath and his best friend Hutton must rely on renowned Romanian, (semi)retired detective Enescu Fleet.
Sherban Young’s Fleeting Glance seems at first to be more farce than intrigue, its two protagonists more akin to Laurel and Hardy than to Alex Cross. Hutton’s pseudo-analytical bravado and Hath’s total confusion about nearly everything create a continuous chain of amusing errors and missteps as they try to find some answers. However, the pair is a fantastic foil for Fleet’s understated brilliance, and as the story builds to its surprising climax the reader must stop and wonder if their bumbling is more by accident or design.
Characters shrouded in secrets and rumors provide levity to the story even as they heighten the mystery. Who are the artists in the colony, and what do they know about Hath’s cryptic postcard? What does a crime boss want with Hath, and why does Lesley’s father look so familiar?
Unlike a traditional, formulaic mystery, Fleeting Glance consistently delivered moments of surprise. Plot twists and new information kept the story from growing predictable, while the conclusion neatly knotted every loose thread. Some plot points bordered on the ridiculous; fortunately, most ultimately served a greater purpose to the narrative. (I still don’t really understand the dog.)
Young’s writing style made it difficult initially to get into the story. Hath’s first-person narration alternates between long, rambling sentences and short fragments. That being said, now that I have finished the book I see the storytelling as more stream of consciousness, and as another angle from which to understand Hath’s responses to everything going on around him. It may certainly take some effort to get into the flow, but the experience is well worth it.
Fleeting Glance is a fun-filled book that will keep you hooked and guessing until the end. I recommend it to anybody who likes art, comedy, or a mystery that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I also recommend reading Young’s earlier books, Fleeting Memory and Five Star Detour, if you’re a fan of starting a series from the beginning.
Shannon lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband and two cats. In her free time she enjoys reading, house hunting, and building her own Web site. She blogs at C’est que c’est.
Review copy was provided by Sherban Young. Compensation was received but in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review.Pin It