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Month in review

Archibald's Swiss Cheese Mountain by Sylvia Lieberman
Arkfall by Carolyn Ives Gilman
The Blunder by Joe Kilgore
A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen
The Copenhagen Connection by Elizabeth Peters
Eat, Drink and Be Married by Eve Makis
Forty Days by Jill Smolinski
Four Seasons in Five Senses by David Mas Masumoto
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Hello Piglet! by Muff Singer
Idaho Snapshots by Rick Just
Inside Story by Albert E. Cowdrey
Just Visiting by Nancy Sparling
King, Queen, Knave by Vladimir Nabokov
King of the World by David Remnick
The Last Plague by Glen E. Page
Lifeguard by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
Marvin K. Mooney Will Please Go! by Dr. Seuss
The Mental Environment by Bob Gebelein
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
Night Train to Memphis by Elizabeth Peters
Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Secession by George Guthridge
Peachblossom by Eleanor Frances Lattimore
Picnic at Pentecost by Rand B. Lee
Ookpik by Bruce Hiscock
Quondam by Jayel Gibson
Run! Run! by John Aikin
Salad for Two by Robert Reed
Search Continues for Eldery Man by Laura Kasischke
Shed That Guilt! Double Your Productivity by Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn
Small Worlds by Gretchen Laskas
Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring by Ron Pridmore
The Twenty Dollar Bill by Elmore Hammes
The Uncertainty Principle by Lynda Curnyn

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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The Blunder: 09/27/08

Brice Lanning has worked at the same advertising agency for thirty years. When the big presentation is taken away from him he goes on a bender. The Blunder by Joe Kilgore chronicles the fallout from that long day of drinking at his favorite watering hole.

The Blunder is written in a style reminiscent of The Graduate by Charles Webb. Imagine Benjamin Braddock twenty years older and working and living in New York City. Kilgore describes Lanning's thoughts and actions with an air of detachment. He's more like a bystander in Lanning's head rather than actually being Lanning.

The book starts slowly. It took me a while to get used to Kilgore's writing style. It takes until chapter 9, "Persona Non Grata" for the novel to hit its stride. If you follow the fifty-page rule, hold out for page fifty-six.

Once Lanning was left to deal with the fallout of his actions, cut off from his family, his job, his friends and his identity, I was reminded favorably of The Twenty Dollar Bill by Elmore Hammes. Brice Lanning takes the place of the bill and like it, does end up back where he started very much a changed man. His journey also affects the people he leaves behind and the people he meets along the way. Unlike The Twenty Dollar Bill we actually get to see the results of his presence play out.

The Blunder is Joe Kilgore's debut novel. I look forward to see what he writes next. Check out his website.


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