Saturday, August 6, 2022

The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown by Lawrence Block

It was around a quarter to five on a Wednesday afternoon in October when I marked my place in the Fredric Brown paperback I'd spent much of the day reading.

--opening sentence of The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown by Lawrence Block

On October 18, 2022, Fredric Brown fans will be given a surprise present by Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block, when the twelfth novel in his series of books about the gentleman burglar/used bookstore owner/amateur sleuth Bernie Rhodenbarr is published! The book's title is The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown, and it marks the welcome return of Block's character, whose last adventure was chronicled in 2013's The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons.

This time, Bernie is going about his business in New York City, lamenting the changes that have come about in his neighborhood and not selling very many books, when he goes to sleep one night after reading Brown's science fiction classic, What Mad Universe. In the morning, he begins to notice that things have changed in his world--not big things, necessarily, but things, such as the curious fact that his MetroCard, which he swipes to enter subway stations, is now called a SubwayCard.

He soon discovers that his best friend, Carolyn Kaiser, the spunky lesbian who owns a pet-grooming salon, is also aware of the changes in their beloved metropolis. Even more surprising are the feelings that she and Bernie begin to have for each other, feelings neither ever expected. Lawrence Block tells a breezy, humorous tale of crime and a changing world that is at once wistful and clear-eyed.

In the fragmented America of 2022, where people on both sides of the political spectrum find themselves wishing that things could return to the way they once were, it is delightful to read a well-told tale of what happens to two lovable characters when some of the things that they found themselves missing suddenly reappear in what seems to be a parallel universe.

Does the burglar actually meet Fredric Brown? I won't spoil the surprise for you--you'll have to read the book to find out! Rest assured that it's a fun journey and it's wonderful to see Fredric Brown's name in the title of a novel by one of today's most popular and respected mystery writers.

Pre-order The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown here so you can get started reading it as soon as it is published on October 18th!

--Jack Seabrook


Peter Enfantino said...

Great review, Jack! I love me some Block, especially his crime and erotic novels from the early 60s.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks! It's a good book.