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In this summer of 2016 America’s two political parties are snarling. Their true believers want first-class seats to Utopia – in sonic jets. Their opponents aren’t wrong- instead, they’re evil. Ironic, since the bulk of each group have identical goals: to make humankind happy.
You want ironic, let me tell you about Abe Lieberman’s closing scene with his daughter here in “Lieberman’s Choice”. She’s a vexing young woman he dearly loves – who’s seeking happiness by taking her two kids and leaving her irritating, yet deeply committed, husband. “Are you happy Dad?” she asks Liberman. “I love you,” he replies then continues, “But there’s a difference between happiness and contentment.” And in those last dark-of-the-night-kichen-moments as Stuart Kominsky’s second Leiberman novel went to black… I felt a tear.
Just then a TV somewhere in my home blared a politician’s charge that an opponent’s positions were evil - not wrong, not misguided – Evil! There’s no compromise with evil. No debate. No happiness possible in a world where that opponent lives. The audience’s roar came muffled through the fog that billows when icy reality smashes against hot feelings.
Oh yeah, there’s a distiction between contentment and happiness. But how will we refocus upon contentment when each side's demagogues promise a level of happiness that wields perfection as a weapon to snuff the merely good?
I’ll listen to Richard Ferrone read me more of Abe Lieberman’s path through seemingly irreconcilable moments. This is good writing well read and driven by hopeful skepticism. There’s a difference between the snarling cynicism of a lot of adventure fiction and the optimistic skepticism of Abe Lieberman. A skeptic seeks enough evidence to make decisions while there will never be enough facts to satisfy the cynic. In this cacaphonic political moment I suspect that politicans prefer that we all be cynics… Those are citizens easiest to herd.
Meanwhile Kominsky’s given us Abe Lieberman to nudge us back from life’s sharpest radical edges. Start this series with “Lieberman’s Folly” to prepare for “Lieberman’s Choice” and follow me onto “Lieberman’s Day”. Look, maybe I’m corny with that tear and all but I hope you’ll find this detective-allegory as charming and intriguing as I do.
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If you could sum up Lieberman's Choice in three words, what would they be?
I keep seeing this silly question. I don't know why. Lieberman for President: there you go.
Who was your favorite character and why?
IMHO, Abe Lieberman is one of the most interesting characters in the entire detective/thriller genre. I cannot find the words to describe how fully entertained I have been with each book of this series. I think there were eight, but not all are audiobooks. I actually bought the books which are not in audio form. I wish there were more of them.
Which character – as performed by Richard Ferrone – was your favorite?
Again, Lieberman. If there were Oscars instead of Edgars, Lieberman would walk home with the prize each time out. The character is so richly layered, with wit and Jewish guilt and love of family and connection to his partners, both Bess and Hanrahan, love of his grandchildren Barry and Melissa, dedication to his job despite the overwhelming numbers against him: I could go on for a long time. Even though there is a lot of repetition among the books, the differences stand out sharply and you get into each case with a true sense of wonder at Mr. Kaminsky's skills. The sheer achievement here: he published a book a year for FIFTY years! How can one man do that? And he is not Richard Patterson. There is no factory. All of this material leaps from his imagination. Remarkable.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Not really. I just stop and admire his work, I notice myself almost constantly chuckling at the wit, and the depth of his relationships. I just cannot praise Mr. Kaminsky too highly. I can't think of another author who has accumulated the tower of accomplishment that Mr. Kaminsky has produced. I love this stuff. I hope you enjoy it too.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful