DON'T EVER GET OLD was one of mystery-publishing's biggest critical successes last year, earning starred reviews from every major trade publication, garnering nominations for the Edgar, Thriller, and Anthony awards, and winning the Macavity Award for Best First Novel. The producer of four Harry Potter films and the Sherlock Holmes sequel, Lionel Wigram, is set to produce the film version.
In Daniel Friedman's new novel, set in Memphis, Tennessee, and four months after the events of DON'T EVER GET OLD, eighty-eight-year-old Buck Schatz is reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that he can only move around with the aid of a walker, and his dementia seems to be getting worse.
So when one of Buck's long-time foes, a bank-robber named Elijah, comes to Buck looking for protection from mysterious pursuers, Buck wavers. In the end, his desire to cement his legacy by closing out a series of long-unsolved robberies overwhelms his usual antipathy toward doing favors for people he dislikes. Buck agrees to broker Elijah's surrender to the authorities, if Elijah will promise to confess to his long-ago crimes.
But nothing involving Elijah, or Buck, is ever simple, and Elijah's plans for Buck are more sinister than they first appeared.
Written in Buck's signature voice and featuring a mystery that will knock your socks off, DON'T EVER LOOK BACK takes a decades-old feud between two dangerous—and now elderly—men and brings it to a final, explosive conclusion.
About the Author
DANIEL FRIEDMAN is a graduate of the University of Maryland and NYU School of Law. He lives in New York City. Don't Ever Get Old was nominated for a Thriller Award for Best First Novel and won a Macavity Award for Best First Novel.
This book is the second by Daniel Friedman featuring Baruch “Buck” Schatz, an 88-year-old Jewish ex-cop from Memphis, Tennessee, self-described as “grumpy more for sport than out of necessity” but more recently as “a crippled retiree living in a rest home.” He has had to sell his house and move with his wife of 65 years into an “Assisted Life-Style Community for Older Adults” after having been shot and severely beaten in the first book, “Don’t Ever Get Old.” During his 35 years as a cop he had shot thirty-one men and beaten an equally impressive number, but was “famously incorruptible.” He still carries a blackjack, which he named “Discretion,” and as he says, he “exercised my Discretion liberally.” He still carries the scars, physically and mentally, of his days in Auschwitz as a child, of his father’s murder when a young boy, and his son’s death seven years ago. Also returning here is Buck’s grandson, a law school grad named William Tecumseh Schatz, whose nickname is Tequila (apparently a frat thing) – the last name of course being pronounced “Shots.” (Of his grandson, Buck says “Maybe because he was family, I disliked him less than most other people.”) The tale takes place in 2009, but is equal parts flashbacks to 1965, a time when racism and anti-Semitism were endemic, and when the seeds of the events taking place in 2009 were sown. A lot of history from that earlier time, much of it unfamiliar to this reader, is included. The intricate plot spins out after Buck receives a visit from an old nemesis, who offers him what appears to be a bribe, which Buck of course refuses. But more importantly, it appears that the man intends to rob a local bank. And Buck can’t allow that to happen, not in his town. The events that follow are alternately shocking and very, very funny. Interspersed from time to time are brief passages from Buck’s notebook of “Things I Don’t Want to Forget” (primary among which is a reminder that “paranoia is the first symptom of dementia in the elderly,” important for him to remember since paranoia seems to be recurring with worrisome frequency). These are often more like ruminations than part of any story, but they are intrinsic to knowledge of the man, as well as occasional historical details. As Buck says, “you just write down the stuff you want to remember, leave out the rest of it, and keep pushing yourself forward on a walker or in a wheelchair or with anything that can keep you moving.” The author does not shy away from the occasional difficult and wrenching truths. As was the first book in what one hopes is a series, this novel is alternately laugh-out-loud funny, often poignant, frequently touching, and with a totally unexpected ending, the book is recommended.
"Truth is, there are a lot of things I've done that I don't feel that great about. But if you look back on whatever the wrath of God is burning down behind you, you turn into a pillar of salt. So, you just write down stuff you want to remember, leave out the rest of it, and keep pushing yourself forward, on a walker or in a wheelchair or with anything that can keep you moving" Baruch (Buck) Schatz ( from DON'T EVER LOOK BACK by Daniel Friedman) Daniel Friedman has created an eighty something character in Buck Schatz that will keep you roaring in laughter while also causing you to think very deeply about mankind and history. After his last book, DON'T EVER GET OLD, Buck is recovering from injuries he sustained in recovering Jewish artworks stolen by the Nazi regime. Now living in an assisted living facility with his wife, Buck still refuses to behave like an "old man". Elijah is a thief that Buck knew in the 1960's when he was still a cop in Memphis. Now Elijah has come back to convince Buck to guard his life. But he's also planning a robbery to beat all robberies in Memphis. By wheelchair or walker, Buck takes on the task, not of saving Elijah's life, but of trying to keep him from successfully robbing the bank. Race riots of local factory strikers is not helping the situation. Baruch (Buck) Schatz is destined to become a classic character in literature. He's a hard headed, brazen, "do it my way", sarcastic "Jew" who lives by his own set of rules for justice. He smokes wherever he likes and sensors nothing he says. He'd just as soon shoot you rather than take any bull. He always keeps a notebook on hand to write down "Something I don't want to forget". Though Friedman's character invokes laughter on most every page, his subject matter in both books is deadly serious. Another winner from Friedman!
Another Winner. This 2nd book in the series is a bit more serious than the first, but just as enjoyable