The Last Good Day
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he beginning is dramatic - in a city still edgy and haunted by images of 9/11, Barry Schulman and other commuters watch in horror as the torso of a woman is washed up on the shores of the Hudson. Barry and his photographer wife Lynn have returned to her hometown of Riverside and built their dream home, '
A crazy quilt of memories and impressions, but somehow Lynn balanced them and made them all feel like parts of an organic whole, a place to lay your weary burden down.
he author stews his story slowly, and the plot simmers as we discover that Lynn knew the murder victim well, and also has a history with Detective Lieutenant Michael Fallon from twenty-five years before. He seems to be obsessed with her and with unfinished business between them. And the pharmaceutical company where Barry is employed as a lawyer, and in which he has a large personal investment, looks to be in serious trouble. Why does he not tell his wife? There's a sleazy dot.com entrepeneur, corporate and police politics, and the good, the bad and the ugly of small town life.
his is a thriller on the noir side, in which you can see but not stop a horrific development of events. What struck me most strongly was not the story itself, but the author's perceptive commentary on the human condition. For example, he tells us that '
grief had its own inevitable arc. The shock and numbness, the faltering effort to carry on for everyone else's sake, and then the way your mind keeps circling back unexpectedly.
' And Barry looks back on the victim's friendship with Lynn as '
one with real stretch marks and dirt under its nails.
he Last Good Day
is a novel that shows us relationships under extreme stress and how a collision of serendipitous events can lead to disaster for some good people, and to the strengthening of the fibre of others.
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