Cover image for The big seven : a Faux mystery
Title:
The big seven : a Faux mystery
Author:
Harrison, Jim, 1937-2016.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Grove Press : distributed by Publishers Group West [2015]
Physical Description:
341 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
The Big Seven sends Detective Sunderson to confront his new neighbors, a gun-nut family who live outside the law in rural Michigan. Detective Sunderson has fled troubles on the home front and bought himself a hunting cabin in a remote area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. No sooner has he settled in than he realizes his new neighbors are creating even more havoc than the Great Leader did. A family of outlaws, armed to the teeth, the Ameses have local law enforcement too intimidated to take them on. Then Sunderson's cleaning lady, a comely young Ames woman, is murdered, and black sheep brother Lemuel Ames seeks Sunderson's advice on a crime novel he's writing which may not be fiction. Sunderson must struggle with the evil within himself and the far greater, more expansive evil of his neighbor.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802123336
Format :
Book

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Audubon Library FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

Jim Harrison is one of our most renowned and popular authors, and his last novel, The Great Leader , was one of the most successful in a decorated career: it appeared on the New York Times extended bestseller list, and was a national bestseller with rapturous reviews. His darkly comic follow-up, The Big Seven , sends Detective Sunderson to confront his new neighbors, a gun-nut family who live outside the law in rural Michigan.

Detective Sunderson has fled troubles on the home front and bought himself a hunting cabin in a remote area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. No sooner has he settled in than he realizes his new neighbors are creating even more havoc than the Great Leader did. A family of outlaws, armed to the teeth, the Ameses have local law enforcement too intimidated to take them on. Then Sunderson's cleaning lady, a comely young Ames woman, is murdered, and black sheep brother Lemuel Ames seeks Sunderson's advice on a crime novel he's writing which may not be fiction. Sunderson must struggle with the evil within himself and the far greater, more expansive evil of his neighbor.

In a story shot through with wit, bedlam, and Sunderson's attempts to enumerate and master the seven deadly sins, The Big Seven is a superb reminder of why Jim Harrison is one of America's most irrepressible writers.


Author Notes

James Thomas Harrison was born on December 11, 1937 in Grayling, Michigan. After receiving a B.A. in comparative literature from Michigan State University in 1960 and a M.A. in comparative literature from the same school in 1964, he briefly taught English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

During his lifetime, he wrote 14 collections of poetry, 21 volumes of fiction, two books of essays, a memoir, and a children's book. His collections of poetry included Plain Song, The Theory and Practice of Rivers, Songs of Unreason, and Dead Man's Float. He received a Guggenheim fellowship for his poetry in 1969. His essays on food, much of which first appeared in Esquire, was collected in the 2001 book, The Raw and the Cooked. His memoir, Off to the Side, was published in 2002.

His first novel, Wolf, was published in 1971. His other works of fiction included A Good Day to Die, Farmer, The Road Home, Julip, and The Ancient Minstrel. His novel, Legends of the Fall, was adapted into a feature film starring Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt. Harrison wrote the screenplay for the movie. His novel, Dalva, was adapted as a made-for-television movie starring Rod Steiger and Farrah Fawcett. He died on March 26, 2016 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The ever-befuddled Detective Sunderson (The Great Leader, 2011) is still a retired cop living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, but, retired or not, he remains hip-deep in troubles, many of his own making. The idea of buying a remote cabin near a trout stream in the upper part of the U.P. sounds good, until the cabin turns out to be adjacent to a compound that's home to an inbred batch of outlaws who make the Snopes boys look like the chamber of commerce. Naturally, Sunderson gets involved with the vodka-swilling Ames clan, offering writing advice to one of them, who developed a yen to pen mysteries while in prison, and making love to a couple of the female members whose age puts them just north of legal and a long way from Sunderson's sixtysomething. Along the way, he muses on the seven deadly sins (the titular big seven) and on his abiding passion for ex-wife Diane, who stops counting Sunderson's drinks long enough to rekindle some passion of her own. This one is even less of a mystery than its predecessor, but who cares when you can watch and listen to a character who somehow combines the boisterous spirit of Falstaff with the neurotic soul of Woody Allen, a randy, boozing backwoods philosopher who sins with raucous abandon, frets about what it means, and then comes back for more, all with a life-loving romantic streak that makes you, well, want to put a little sin back in your own life.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Retired detective Simon Sunderson returns in the latest from Harrison (after The Great Leader), which the author describes as a "faux mystery." This time Sunderson is investigating a series of homicides near his newly purchased fishing cabin in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The victims are all members of the Ames clan, a nefarious backwoods family, and the first act of violence strikes down Lily, Sunderson's housekeeper. After entangling himself intellectually with aspiring writer Lemuel Ames and physically with 19-year-old Monica Ames, Sunderson devotes himself to tracking down the culprits, all the while suspecting his beautiful paramour to be behind the crimes. Characters from the detective's previous adventure return, including sidekick Mona, who assists Sunderson by scraping together information on the Ameses, and Diane, the ex-wife he still fancies. The novel takes its time finding its story, with characters introduced early who never reappear, and at one point, Harrison halts his hero's investigation with a long vacation to Mexico. This wandering can frustrate, as can the hillbilly stereotypes and Sunderson's obsession with female posteriors. But when our hero is neck deep in his quest for justice, snooping while also considering the seven deadly sins (hence the title), Harrison proves once again that he is an inimitable, inexhaustible talent. Agent: Steve Sheppard, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Now retired, detective Sunderson (introduced in The Great Leader) upgrades a cabin in Michigan's Upper Peninsula to enjoy the trout fishing, only to find that his lunatic neighbors, the gun-and-vodka-fueled Ames family, will shoot at anything, themselves included. Harrison, one of the best, appropriately calls this a "faux" mystery; Ames men are being poisoned and there is a culprit, but the mystery is subordinate to observation and speculation. If Lee Child is a Wellcraft speedboat, Harrison is an excursion boat. Much of Sunderson's musing centers on the seven deadly sins, especially lechery; after only a few chapters the 66-year-old protagonist has "been with" two teenagers, one his adopted daughter. Flawed, he meditates on his imperfections (as he works on an essay about the eighth deadly sin-violence-with help from his ex-wife)-as well as politics, trout, wrongs done Native Americans, history, sex, more sex, and writers on a long spectrum, from Raymond Chandler to Sir Thomas Browne. VERDICT Maybe not Harrison at his best but not far off either. Fox News addicts and Tea Party types should avoid; this is a treat for curious and speculative mystery readers. [See Prepub Alert, 7/28/14.]-Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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