by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of The Question of the Missing Husband, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy.
It has been six months since Samuel Hoenig established the Questions Answered agency in Piscataway, New Jersey, and in that time he’s successfully provided eighty-two answers to an equal number of questions from clients. Having the personality traits inherent in Asperger’s Syndrome (he does not consider it to be a disease), Samuel compulsively analyzes and detects in ways that are very advantageous to his newly chosen profession. Social interactions with overly emotional and needlessly polite “neurotypicals” though, prove to be far more challenging.
So when Sheila McInerney walks into his office asking who is sleeping in her bed, Samuel is baffled how to respond to this non-fairytale question. The woman claims to have been drugged with no memory of marrying the man who declares that he is her husband, and she would like an answer as to the identity of this Oliver Lewis. Taking the first logical step, Samuel decides to enlist the assistance of his former employee Ms. Janet Washburn, an unemployed photojournalist who previously proved to be as formidable as an investigator as she did an interpreter for normal human interactions. Although Samuel promises Janet’s husband that no harm will come to her if she returns, this proves rather difficult, considering that her first task is to drive him to the apartment where Sheila is being attacked and in danger.
From there the story launches into an extraordinarily fun mystery that veers into unexpected directions and never follows a reader’s expectations. Asperger’s Syndrome plays a crucial role in Samuel’s outlook on humanity, and while this makes social interactions difficult, it also gives him a very literal if occasionally absurdist viewpoint (although his definition of Craigslist’s purpose is hilariously accurate). As more information concerning Lewis is discovered and a burned-out and frustrated police detective comes to Samuel with a question of his own, the instigation becomes as wryly funny as it is riveting.
The majority of the fun derives from the unpredictability of both the plot and characters. Just when you think the authors are taking the reader in one direction, they steer you in another.
The other outstanding aspect of this mystery is its captivating hero. Rarely does one have a first-person narration from such a character, and following Samuel’s thought processes is as intriguing as it is entertaining. Samuel has no comprehension of axioms, idioms, aphorisms, or metaphors; to put it in a way that he would definitely not understand, they just go over his head. The relationship between Samuel and Mrs. Washburn proves to be equally engaging, and readers will have to decide whether to they should believe his interpretation of it, or possibly his mother’s. Regardless, this is a complex and unique series that provokes as much contemplation as it does laughter.
To enter to win a copy of The Question of the Unfamiliar Husband, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Husband,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 14, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy: