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Don't Ever Get Old    by Daniel Friedman order for
Don't Ever Get Old
by Daniel Friedman
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a different kind of cozy mystery ... Buck Schatz, the protagonist of Daniel Freedman's debut novel Don't Ever Get Old is in his late eighties. Still grieving after the death of his only son six years before, he manages his sleuthing with a little help from his grandson (whose nickname is Tequila).

Though the mystery (a Nazi treasure hunt) is not extraordinary, it's tons of fun spending time with this grumpy old granddad (who used to be a tough Memphis cop) and his delightful (and long suffering) wife Rose. It all begins when a dying friend, Jim Wallace, confesses to Buck that, after World War II, he took a bribe to allow the escape of Heinrich Ziegler, the SS officer who tortured Buck (because he is a Jew) in a POW camp in southern France. Wallace also reveals that Ziegler got away with a Mercedes-Benz filled with gold bars.

Though the idea of chasing Nazi gold at his age seems ridiculous, Buck is eventually embroiled in the hunt, helped by Tequila (whose tech skills come in handy). But they're not the only ones. Wallace's son-in-law Norris and his Southern Baptist minister, Lawrence Kind (who has a gambling problem), are also aware of the treasure and want it for their own use. Buck and Tequila do eventually track down the old Nazi, but a surprising killer is right behind them. Faced with a choice of the gold or his grandson's future, Buck makes the right call, and ends up going viral on YouTube.

I really enjoyed Buck Schatz's continuous comments on aging and wry humor - this is a new series well worth following.

2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth:

Buck Schatz is eighty-seven years old and a retired police detective, going on to forty years retired now. His ire is raised when he is told that a former German soldier escaped from standing trial for war crimes by landing in South America after World War II.

Schatz had believed that this man had died during the liberation of the death camps. Now he learns that the man still lives and is holding a fortune in gold stolen from the Nazis. Why shouldn't some of that gold be Buck's? He suffered at the hands of this German in one of the concentration camps.

The quest for the gold is not helped by the old vehicle that Buck must use or the 87 year-old muscles that don't work as they did in his younger days. The author's sense of humor shines throughout the novel with a really quirky protagonist.

I can readily see just how Buck feels as he realizes he is not really up to running or fisticuffs. While fisticuffs were never really part of my life, the many other things that Buck tries unsuccessfully are a part of my life. Although I am six years younger than he, I can relate.

Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman is a rollicking good read. As well as being written by a young author. Nicely done, Daniel. Keep up the good work.

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