Friday, November 4, 2011

Another Man's Treasure

I must respectfully disagree with the reviews printed on the back cover of Another Man's Treasure by James V. O'Connor. I did not find it "a delightful, engaging, fast-paced read." The book has 86 chapters. Things should happen fairly regularly if you're going to stretch it out that long. After introducing the "mystery" nothing really happens until around chapter 50. Another reviewer found herself "rooting for characters." She doesn't say which ones? Ted McCormick, the main character, is a man so focused on how good he is that he doesn't notice that his wife, Mary, constantly makes comments about his lack of income. She might as well have been asking, "Why is your organ so small?" Poor old Ted is so busy NOT screwing around on his wife he doesn't see what's going on under his nose.

Ted works as a personal organizer. He used to be a stock broker but he did something awful and had to leave Chicago for Albany. We're told Ted did something bad a few times but it isn't revealed until late in the book. When the big secret is spilled I just said, "Is that all? A stock broker who got greedy. How clich├ęd." That Ted feels really bad about getting greedy and losing a lot of money is sort of different but he's such a boring man I didn't care.

 Through most of the book Ted prides himself for resisting the advances of his client, Janet. She knows he's married but hits on him anyway. She has a psycho ex who is stalking her. Toward the end of the book, Ted confronts him. The ex makes a comment totally out of character by saying that Janet is the real treasure. Or something stupid like that. This is a guy who talks his kid into spying on his ex. A guy who stalks his ex, threatens any man who gets close to her and even tries to run Ted down. Nowhere in the book does he exhibit anything bigger than the basic Neanderthal brain. His final comment is VERY out of character. 

Everything about this book is predictable. The "Other Man" man of the title is a client who "knows" that his father left a treasure hidden in his home and hires Ted to find it. He's not a nice man and I would have walked away rather than work with him breathing down my neck but then there wouldn't have been any book...

The only thing remotely interesting about this book is the identity of and the story behind the house's ghosts. And that storyline only lasts a little while.