The Caretaker of Lorne Field

( 7 )

Overview

Dave Zeltserman's last novel was named by NPR as one of the top five crime and mystery novels of 2008 and one of The Washington Post's best books of the year. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, said his "breakthrough third crime novel deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy." And Crimetime calls him a "name to watch." Now, Zeltserman has written the book his fans have been waiting for-a classic unlike anything you've ever read.

Jack Durkin is the ninth generation ...

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The Caretaker of Lorne Field

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Overview

Dave Zeltserman's last novel was named by NPR as one of the top five crime and mystery novels of 2008 and one of The Washington Post's best books of the year. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, said his "breakthrough third crime novel deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy." And Crimetime calls him a "name to watch." Now, Zeltserman has written the book his fans have been waiting for-a classic unlike anything you've ever read.

Jack Durkin is the ninth generation of Durkins who have weeded Lorne Field for nearly 300 years. Though he and his wife Lydia are miserable and would like nothing more than to leave, Jack must wait until his son has come of age to tend the field on his own. It's an important job, though no one else seems to realize it. For, if the field is left untended, a horrific monster called an Aukowie will grow-a monster capable of taking over the entirety of America in just two weeks. Or so it is said. . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zeltserman’s superb mix of humor and horror focuses on Jack Durkin, the ninth generation of firstborn sons in his family who have daily weeded Lorne Field to purge it of Aukowies, bloodthirsty plants that could overrun the world in weeks if not attended to. Though Jack takes his job seriously, no one else does: his oldest son doesn’t want to follow in his footsteps; his wife is tired of living poorly on his caretaker’s salary; and the townspeople who subsidize him are increasingly skeptical of purported menaces that no one has ever seen because Jack diligently nips them in the bud. With his support dwindling, Jack finds himself driven to desperate measures to prove that he’s truly saving the world. Zeltserman (Pariah) orchestrates events perfectly, making it impossible to tell if Jack is genuinely humankind’s unsung hero or merely the latest descendant of a family of superstitious loonies. Readers will keep turning the pages to see how the ambiguous plot resolves. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590205792
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,461,410
  • Product dimensions: 8.02 (w) x 5.38 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Zeltserman was born in Boston and educated at the University of Colorado. A former software engineer, he is a die-hard Patriots and Red Sox fan, and when he's not writing fiction, he spends his time working on his black belt in Kung Fu. He and his wife live in the Boston area.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a fabulous amusing tale

    Like eight generations of first sons of ancestors before him, Jack Durkin works weed control at Lorne Field. His job sounds mundane, but is actually dangerous. He and his ancestors remove the feral blood sucking Aukowies plants that could take over the entire globe in a few weeks if removal is neglected.

    Jack works diligently, but the next in line, his oldest son Lester, believes his father is a crackpot and refuses to do the job when it is his turn. He has his mom Lydia's support as she is tired of the family living impoverished on a caretaker salary while also seeing her oldest offspring as her ticket (and that of Jack) out of the caretaking drudgery. Even the townsfolk who have paid the Durkin salary for nine generations balk at a threat no one has seen; mostly because Jack takes care of business before the Aukowies can bloom. Feeling increasingly alone, Jack believes it is time to prove his worth, but the only way he can do so is let the plants bloom.

    The Caretaker of Lorne Field is a fabulous amusing tale that grips the reader with a need to know whether the monster is real, a centuries old con, or generational lunacy. Jack is great as he believes, but is caught in the dilemma of his only proof is to let the Aukowies run wild. Dave Zeltserman is at his zany, dark yet in an odd way profound thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    A classic story.

    Jack Durkin would love to quit his job, but that's not possible. It's not the money; the money is lousy and he could do better. It's not that he has a rotten boss. He's basically his own boss, although his hours and duties are clearly outlined in his employment contract. No, Jack can't quit his job because if he does, life on this planet will end. So Jack works hard every day, saving the world. What this superhero does is pull the weeds in Lorne Field. Everyday, from can-see to can't. Well, those weeds aren't really weeds, they just disguise themselves as weeds. They're really a nasty, bloodthirsty bunch of monsters called Aukowies, that must be pulled from the ground and burned every day. Left unchecked, they would grow so fast, become so unstoppable, they would destroy the world in a matter of weeks. So Jack pulls the weeds and burns them. Jack is the ninth generation of Durkins to work this field. That's roughly 300 years the Durkins have been saving the world on a daily basis. And people used to revere Jack's family; they took care of the Durkins and paid them well. People used to understand that the Durkins gave up most of life's pleasures so that we could all stay alive. Used to. Nowadays everyone thinks Jack is just a crazy man. Including his wife, a woman worn beyond her years, a woman who wears her bitterness with a kind of twisted pride. Though misunderstood, ridiculed, and persecuted, the gentle Jack lets nothing sway him from the job. And then one day, his wife decides that the contract must be broken, setting in motion a wheel of tragedy and horror. I read several reviews of The Caretaker of Lorne Field, wanting to see if other readers had a similar experience with this book as I did. It quickly became clear to me that this is a book no two people will see in exactly the same way. Some reviewers saw it as strictly a horror story. Several reviewers called the book "darkly funny" or thought it a mix of horror and humor. I found this story layered with dread and unease, and not funny at all. Mostly I found it sad and poignant, an expose of just how callous and mean we are. Not "society," not "people." Us. That's how on-target are the characters in this book, how very ordinary they are in their selfishness, in their reliance on conformity, and their intolerance of whoever and whatever does not conform. Some reviewers thought there were underlying parallels to fascist politics, either modern or historical. I saw religious parallels, a morality play. Jack Durkin is in many ways subjected to the physical and emotional hammerings as Job of the Old Testament. Like Job, Jack endures but at enormous cost to himself and to those he loves. And in some ways, Jack is a Christ-like figure: Every weed Jack pulls is a sin forgiven, and sins must be forgiven because otherwise, the wages of sin are death. Like Christ, Jack intercedes, again at great personal cost and risk, to save an ungrateful humanity. Jack is persecuted and arrested for crimes he has not committed. Or has he? Is Jack really just a (pardon the pun) garden-variety maniac? Is he the kind of lunatic who would cut off his son's thumb to prove the existence of creatures who really only exist in his mind? Is Jack so deeply obsessed, so much a monster himself that he would murder to protect his delusions? Or was it the Aukowies who committed these crimes? Are they smart enough to know just how best to weaken their enemy? The autho

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    Brilliant book--Take the time to read it.

    Dave Zeltserman has transformed a basic parable about monsters into a cautionary tale about the power and limitations of faith. A simple man fulfills a contract handed down from generation to generation. As his family, friends, and health betray him, he is left alone to face a crushing burden--the preservation of the entire human race. The Caretaker of Lorne Field offers a brilliant and timeless allegory about how each of us addresses the values and beliefs that guide our lives and the repercussions that we face if we stray from our appointed path.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    1.5 stars because I finished. Really....horror?? I must not kno

    1.5 stars because I finished. Really....horror?? I must not know what horror is because this book is a far cry from what I think is horror. It is so slow and right when it starts to pick up it ends just like that. Horror? I'm scratching my on this one. I wouldn't even deem this thriller or suspense.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 15, 2011

    Wow! That's all I can say is "Wow"!

    My boychild told me to get this book. It's a really fast read, and have I mentioned..."Wow"...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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