Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spider Season

31. Spider Season: A Benjamin Justice Novel, by John Morgan Wilson

Benjamin Justice is winding up an author tour following the publication of his memoir, Deep Background: The True Story of a Disgraced Journalist and the Pulitzer Scandal that Destroyed Him. The publicity results in the appearance of a skinhead motorcyclist, the reason for whose attentions Justice can't figure out. (I did, fairly early, but won't spoil it!). Then there are the threatening postcards from an old (though unknown to Justice) "admirer", who had an affair with an older Hollywood interior designer and may or may not have been responsible for his death. (It's this character's penchant for spiders that gives the book its name.)

Justice continues to fight his demons, and a rival journalist seems intent on bringing him back down into the alcoholic gutter from which he had dragged himself. At the same time, he is reconnecting with Ismael Aragon, who has left the priesthood and is coming to terms with his own homosexuality, an exploration which Justice would be glad to help him with!

Although the Benjamin Justice series is shelved among "mysteries", this one really isn't. It's really more about how Justice deals with unexpected revelations from his past, and with the changes in his present. So those who pick it up expecting a mystery may be a bit disappointed, but I've always felt that Wilson is better at characterization than plotting, so no disappointment on my end.

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