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No Certain Rest

Average Rating 4
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2004

    Where is the editor?

    This is an excellent story which is not character-driven. Antietam is the main character. The mystery is the center of the story so don't worry about Don Spaniel's lack of a love life. You will know Albert Randolph better through his confession than you will almost anyone else. The modern day characters are merely props but when Spaniel dons a Union uniform and clumsily charges Burnside Bridge, I had tears in my eyes. I should have stopped reading at the end of that chapter and I suggest you do also. What happens thereafter cries out for an editor to tell the author to 'leave it out' or 'write it again.' The closing segment does not even rate one star and is unworthy of what has gone before.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2003

    No Certain Novel

    While I, like most of America, certainly am familiar with Jim Lehrer's name and career on PBS, his career as a novelist was unknown to me. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered his book, No Certain Rest, and hoped for the best. A book centered about a Civil War theme seemed to me to be an almost sure winner, especially coming from the pen of someone as obviously intellegent at Lehrer. It is dismaying to report, therefore, that this is one of those cases where an otherwise interesting idea dies a slow death at the hands of a writer who can't quite realize the concept's possible promise. No Certain Rest concerns a 134 year-old murder mystery that had its origins during the battle of Antietam. So far, so good. The possibilities unfold in the reader's imagination as the plot develops momentum. Unfortunately, four things knock the wheels off this cart. The first is that the characters do not engage. Odd personal glimpses are offered of the lead character (his love life, for example, and his infatuation with a certain lady attorney) but they appear for little apparent reason, are not developed and, ultimately, lead nowhere. A second glaring weak point is that archeology, the practice of which is central to this book, is one of those disciplines (astronomy is another) which is quite interesting in the macro sense, but numbingly dull from the micro perspective. Lehrer, however, takes the reader through all too detailed an account of the lead character's archeological inquiries. The result is soporific. A third problem is that, in the course of presenting this detailed archeological scavenger hunt, Lehrer works his entire research bibliography into the narative. Frankly, the reader does not care which expert volumes the lead character (OR Lehrer, himself) consulted. The references only slow down a story that is already dragging. Finally, Lehrer decides to rely upon one of those stock, Hollywood devices so familiar to readers of Stephen King, namely the tight-knit little New England town with deep dark secrets and a population living more in the past than in the present. Never mind that, fiction aside, few (if any) of these places still exist in the 21st Century, most particularly not in the gentrified western Connecticut setting of the book's ending. But Lehrer nonetheless posits the book's entire last third upon the shaky premise that there would still be anyone around who cared about a series of frankly obscure events on a battlefield of 134 years ago. In short, the reader cannot connect with the people, relationships, emotions and motivations Mr. Lehrer ascribes to his present-day characters; he renders them, ultimately, entirely unbelievable. This might have been a better book had another storyteller spun the tail. A different twist, a focus upon an important hinge of history, for example, might have justified the reader's investment in the story. As it is, however, the book marginally educates, but never satisfies. The reader puts the book down quite frankly wondering why he bothered in the first place, or why she should care. A disappointment all around.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2002

    This is a great Book

    The novel No Certain Rest is a very interesting and intriguing book by a author known to write novels and plays. This book is his thirteenth novel. It is a historical fiction book about some ones remains from 134 years ago at the Battle of Antietam. Two relic hunters discover the remains of a lieutenant that was murdered in cold blood. This is a great book and you won¿t be able to put it down. Go and check it out from your library. No Certain Rest by Jim Lehrer is a book not to miss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2014

    Good idea, poorly executed

    A great idea for a book with the combination of a murder mystery linked to the historical events at Antietam, America's bloodiest day.

    However, the plot was superficial in that it was not fully formed by the author, was not fully developed and the treatment and length of the book should have been longer.

    Jim Lehrer is a good journalist and has the capacity to be a good author but this effort falls a bit short.

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