The Fathers' Club

Overview

Kit Deleeuw solves a murder involving one of his own - a father and Rochambeau neighbor. The cultural phenomenon under scrutiny here is the plight of men in the nineties, caught in a world full of pressure, difficult choices, and the struggle to build and maintain friendships. But for the men of The Father's Club, it is also a world fraught with betrayal, greed, and massive fraud. Kit Deleeuw is himself feeling embattled in his dual role of suburban detective and family man when into the midst of this slough of ...
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Overview

Kit Deleeuw solves a murder involving one of his own - a father and Rochambeau neighbor. The cultural phenomenon under scrutiny here is the plight of men in the nineties, caught in a world full of pressure, difficult choices, and the struggle to build and maintain friendships. But for the men of The Father's Club, it is also a world fraught with betrayal, greed, and massive fraud. Kit Deleeuw is himself feeling embattled in his dual role of suburban detective and family man when into the midst of this slough of despond walks Linda Lewis, who wants Kit to investigate her ex-husband, Dale. Normally a dutiful father, Dale has fallen behind in his child support payments, and he hasn't called the kids or responded to Linda's messages. When the deadbeat dad turns up dead in his office, Kit decides to join the men's club Dale belonged to, hoping for a clue to his demise. In the end, Kit finds himself not only involved with mobsters, federal investigators, and the victim's infidelity, but also a lot wiser about the need men have to talk to one another, about his relationship with his son, and about his own place in the child-crazed town of Rochambeau.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Katz's suburban detective, last seen in The Last Housewife, is an appealing, original sleuth, in many ways the antithesis of the hard-boiled PI. Kit DeLeeuw (pronounced De-loo), the married father of two, operates out of an office in the American Way mall in suburban Rochambeau, N.J., and avoids a fight whenever possible. But he is as fiercely loyal to his clients and as dogged in pursuit of the truth as his hard-drinking, womanizing, gun-toting literary forebears. Linda Lewis hires him to find her ex-husband, Dale, a housing developer who has lost contact with his kids and missed support payments. Kit finds Dale without any trouble-dead. Asked by Linda to investigate further, Kit infiltrates the Fathers' Club, the support group to which Dale had belonged. Meanwhile, Kit juggles his fledgling PI career with his roles as parent to rebellious teenager Ben and still sweet, preteen Emily, and partner to his wife, Jane, whose dual work and school schedule leaves him a virtual single parent. Even as Kit uncovers fraud, greed and betrayal among club members, some of their blunt, straight talk offers him insight into problems he's having with Ben. Both cast and puzzle hold readers' attention here. (June)FYI: Katz, media critic for Wired magazine, has a nonfiction book, Virtuous Reality, coming out from Random House next January.
Kirkus Reviews
"I secretly think of much of my work as family-saving," says Kit Deleeuw, the American Way Mall detective (The Last Housewife, 1995, etc.). But it's too late for him to save Linda Lewis and the ex who's stopped phoning the kids or sending support: When Kit goes after Dale Lewis, he finds him dead, followed shortly by Linda herself, killed in an apparent carjacking. The cops accept the coincidence, but Kit—convinced, quite without reason, that the key to Dale's murder lies in the men's support group he attended—sets about infiltrating the group, using as a pretext the true-enough fact that his son Ben's just been suspended for smoking pot in school. Kit, overwhelmed by his infatuation with Linda and his bewilderment over Ben, reacts by dispensing fatherly advice to every other grownup in sight, including the reader ("Hitting is out. Nurturing is in")—until Katz, suddenly remembering that his hero's supposed to be conducting a murder investigation, rushes to tie Dale's land-development schemes in to a Jersey City mobster, rattle the Fathers' Club cages for skeletons, and produce a sensitive, deeply unsatisfying solution.

As casually plotted as the Suburban Detective's first three adventures, but without the edge that made their exotic New Jersey fauna so compelling. This time, Kit's homiletics come across as just plain gassy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553575361
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/31/1997
  • Series: Suburban Detective Mysteries Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon Katz
Jon Katz
A versatile, modern writer about life at the turn of the century, Jon Katz has gone from "suburban mysteries" to cultural criticism to personal memoir. His spirited, often humorous musings have earned him both fans and critics; as he wrote in his last column for the web site HotWired: "If the quality of my work was sometimes uneven, my determination to rant was unwavering."

Biography

"I really don't know anyone in media who's been given the freedom I've had to spout off on a wide range of subjects," Jon Katz wrote in his 1998 farewell column for HotWired. As a writer for web venues such as HotWired and Slashdot, Katz has waxed enthusiastic about Internet culture and championed "geek life." As a contributor to Wired and Rolling Stone, he's written articles on technology, politics and culture. And as a book author, he's penned mystery novels, memoirs and more, at the rate of nearly one per year since 1990.

Katz began his career in traditional media, as a reporter and editor for the Boston Globe and Washington Post and as a producer for the CBS Morning News. His experiences in television became fodder for fiction in his first novel, Sign Off, which Publishers Weekly called "an absorbing, well-paced debut" about the corporate takeover of a television network.

Disenchanted with the world of old media, Katz signed on to the cyber-revolution as a contributor to Wired magazine and its then-online counterpart, HotWired. As pundit and media critic, Katz became a prominent voice of the libertarian, countercultural, freewheeling spirit that prevailed on the Web in its early years. After HotWired underwent a corporate transformation, Katz moved to Slashdot, a free-for-all e-zine that allowed him to continue spouting off on a wide range of subjects (for Katz, "open source" is not just a method of software development, it's a metaphor for free expression).

Meanwhile, Katz began a series of "suburban detective" books featuring private investigator and family man Kit DeLeeuw, who operates out of a New Jersey mall. The intricately plotted mysteries serve as "a framework for the author's musings on suburban fatherhood, a subject on which he is wise and witty and honestly touching," wrote Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times.

In 1997, Katz's digital-age pontifications took book form in Virtuous Reality, which tackled censorship, online privacy and the shortcomings of the media. Katz struck a more personal chord with Geeks (2000), a work of gonzo ethnography that follows two computer-obsessed teenagers and their struggle to escape the Idaho boonies. "Katz's obvious empathy and love for his 'lost boys,' his ability to see shades of his own troubled youth in their tough lives, gives his narrative a rich taste that makes it unlike other Net books," said Salon writer Andrew Leonard.

Katz turned to himself as the subject for a meditation on middle age, Running to the Mountain (2000) which chronicles the three months he spent alone in a dilapidated cabin in upstate New York. The result is "a funny, moving and triumphant voyage of the soul," according to The Boston Globe.

Then there's Katz's other pet subject: dogs. In A Dog Year , Katz writes about a high-strung border collie -- a canine "lost boy" he adopted and gradually bonded with. "Dogs make me a better human," said Katz in an interview. Given his recent contributions to The Bark magazine, dogs may make Katz an even more versatile and prolific writer, if that's possible.

Good To Know

Katz is so persuaded of the power of interactivity that he's refused to have his work printed by publishers unless they'll run his e-mail address with it. His published e-mail addresses include jonkatz@slashdot.org, jonkatz@bellatlantic.net and jonkatz3@comcast.net.

After a Slate writer made a disparaging comment about Katz's basement, Katz wrote a column describing the basement office where he works. Its accoutrements include a wooden cherub, portraits of Thomas Paine and Abraham Lincoln, and a collection of gargoyles. A Haitian voodoo "frame thingy" (in Katz's words) graces his computer.

In our interview, Katz told us more fun facts: "I see every movie that comes out, usually alone in a megaplex. I love the New York Yankees because they win a lot. My one brilliant move in life was marrying my wife Paula."

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    1. Hometown:
      Montclair, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 8, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Providence, Rhode Island
    1. Education:
      Attended George Washington University and The New School for Social Research

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