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by John Dunning

Surprised by a visit from a difficult-to-manage former cop from his old precinct, bookstore owner Cliff Janeway is unable to resist Slater's invitation to help recover a stolen edition of rare and value book
Download The Bookman's Wake: A Mystery With Cliff Janeway epub
ISBN: 0786204966
ISBN13: 978-0786204960
Category: Literature
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: John Dunning
Language: English
Publisher: Thorndike Pr; Large Print edition (August 1, 1995)
Pages: 565 pages
ePUB size: 1289 kb
FB2 size: 1760 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 807
Other Formats: txt rtf docx mobi

I thought long and hard about how to write this review. It has a typical Dunning plot line,,with twists and turns throughout the book. The resolution was good but not surprising to me, although I had not figured out who the culprit was, but I had narrowed it down to two or three characters. I have decided to let the book describe itself by quoting from the publishers notes on the back of the Pocket Book soft cover edition.

"Cliff Janeway is back, lured by an enterprising (and suspicious) ex-cop to Seattle to bring back a fugitive wanted for the possible theft of a priceless edition of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven.' The bail jumper turns out to be a young, vulnerable woman who calls herself 'Eleanor Rigby, and who turns out to be a gifted book scout (she taught Janeway a few trucks about book scouting)" The note goes on to say that Janeway is intrigued by Eleanor, and also by the people who are pursuing her to retrieve the book. I recommend this book to readers who don't mind thinking while thy read. All others would do well to stay away.
Bad Sunny
This is my first experience with the books of Mr. Dunning, and therefore with the Cliff Janeway character. I really quite enjoyed the book and found myself sitting down to read it whenever I had a spare moment. There are others in the series and I would like to follow up on those sequels/prequels. Cliff J. is a very interesting character - not complex, but rather straight-forward and dependable. He has a code of ethics and a work ethic (as a book buyer and seller) that he lives by and stays true to. What occasionally slowed me down were the lengthy descriptions of the book buying (finding, rating, evaluating, etc.) business. What I must admit to though, was how interesting I found it to be. Not compelling mind you, but interesting. It both did and didn't get in the way of the plot and the forward motion of that plot. But there were times I that found myself skipping ahead to get back to the story. That being said, I finished the novel in record time and was never bored. Not always enthralled, but never bored.
Reading this was like going on a first date where dinner was pretty good but then you went after that to a lecture on funding annuities for retirement. You find yourself going "I know this is good for me, and will probably be very helpful to know but it isn't the FUN I thought we were going to have."

The story starts out with a promising intro, some interesting characters and a decent setup. Then it gets uncomfortable and pedantic as characters lie to each other at every possible turn in between lecturing about the value of collectible books. As a reader I tend to find book collectors annoying anyway. For me the true value is in the story; any thing else and you may as well be collecting tea towels or bowling cards. There's just no added romance to "this is more valuable because there's a typo on page 48." And that's what this story hinges on. It gets old, too.
I wanted to like this book -- a mystery involving a bookstore owner -- but I found myself not really liking the main character and I thought the woman he was following to be totally not real and then I started scanning sections. The story wasn't moving well and the writer seemed to be enjoying the exercise of writing his novel more than I was getting out of it. Then too, at the end, although I wanted to get it finished, I found myself falling asleep over it. The story tied up fairly neatly but I was dissatisfied with it.

Yes, I liked learning about the publishing business, but that wasn't why I bought the book. And the mystery part of a little unrealistic and then there were parts that just didn't hang together. Like someone else, when I got to the part where the main character used a tampon to stop the bleeding from an abdomen wound and tied it up by using a shirt for a chasity belt and the woman lived for two hours before being airlifted from atop a mountain where during the action they were getting very spotty radio coverage? Sorry, it didn't ring true to me and if a mystery doesn't feel and read true, its fantasy.
In the first book in the series, Booked to Die, we meet Cliff Janeway, who retires from the Denver police force and opens his own shop to become a bookseller. At the beginning of The Bookman's Wake, Janeway is offered an opportunity to put his investigative skills to use and escort a fugitive girl back from Seattle. Quick to dismiss the opportunity, his mind is just as quickly changed when he finds out she's wanted for burglary and theft of an extremely rare (thought to be non-existent) edition of Edgar Allen Poe's, <i>The Raven</i>.

This book was a fun read. The reason I picked up the series to begin with was because they are books about books; the author's love for and knowledge of books shines through. The first in the series was a foray into the book collecting world while this book is about a small time publisher who took the time to develop and design his own fonts for each publication. He put the true craftsman's touch into each of his very limited run of books, making them instant collectors pieces. Intrigue surrounds The Raven edition, thought by many not to exist; wherever rumors of the book go, so does trouble.

My favorite quote from the book: "The camera would miss it all. A magnificent picture is never worth a thousand perfect words."
The search for the solution to the possible murder of a famous typeface designer is just great. I like the chosen name for the woman Eleanor Rigby, you can't help thinking that John Dunning had lots of fun writing this mystery. This is the second time that I have read this book in 2 years. Great, I have read all the Janeway mysteries and this is possibly the best. I just wish that Dunning would write some more of the Janeway series as I miss him.