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The 1960s counterculture figures strongly in the third appearance of Boston's occasional shamus Alex Glauberman, an auto mechanic (northern European models only) and recovering cancer patient. Local doctor Jay Harrison receives a note requesting a loan in exchange for silence about his cross-country hitchhiking trip and some time he spent in San Francisco during his student days. Before Alex begins to investigate, a sample of bone marrow is stolen from Harrison's clinic, further threatening a cancer patient's life, and considerably more money is demanded for its return. The transaction goes down badly, sending Alex racing to the West Coast to find the blackmailers. Cluster ( Repulse Monkey ) adroitly moves into his characters' pasts, exploring draft-dodging, leftist politics and '60s dreams dashed on the rocks of yuppie aspiration. More reality is added by the threatened patient's hateful husband and some disgruntled patients of Dr. Jay. Everything meshes well, though game Alex often finds himself up to his eyeballs in medical knowledge he never sought. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"This medical thriller begins with blackmail and continues with attempted murder. Cluster has written another page-turner with the return of protagonist Alex Glauberman. Highly recommended." -- New Mystery Magazine
"The 1960s counterculture figures strongly in the third appearance of Boston's occasional shamus Alex Glauberman. Cluster adroitly moves into his characters' pasts, exploring draft-dodging, leftist politics and '60s dreams dashed on the rocks of yuppie aspiration. Alex often finds himself up to his eyeballs in medical knowledge he never sought." -- Publisher's Weekly
Obligations of the Bone is the first mystery that really captured me right at the first sentence. And kept on capturing me until the final sentence. Whether or not you enjoy mysteries Obligations of the Bone transcends the genre. Go for it!
Having read the first two books in this series, "Return to Sender" and "Repulse Monkey," I was eager to dive into this one, believing it was the last I'd read of Alex Glauberman -- but now I see the author's tantalizing comment excerpted above from his author's page on Amazon, giving me new hope of more books to come. This book, like the previous mysteries about this mechanic/father/friend/lover/progressive/sleuth, offers a unique package to the mystery reader (at least to this one): they're not only page turners with interesting plot twists, but also immersive slices of complex lives, with a novelistic sensibility that I usually get only from non-mysteries. The thoughtful protagonist, while wending his way through the interesting clues around him, refreshingly has stuff of his own to figure out. We get engaging doses of Glauberman's musings, family life, personal history, love interests, work -- his personal world as it intersects with the demands and intrigues of the challenge at hand for his client. All the better that the challenge in this book involves one at the core of Alex's own being: his own once and perhaps future bone marrow cancer. From the start Alex's keen awareness of his mortality laces his journey as a moonlighting detective with his own unconscious or conscious quest to understand himself better. While the mysteries resolve, our protagonist never ends up feeling like a closed or even a completed book. A bonus in each one in the series is the fine descriptions of various European and American cities where the characters run around wreaking some havoc or, finally, finding resolution. Mystery readers, enjoy, and revel in knowing that you're treading in scenes, locales, characters, and information -- whether about bone marrow, car mechanics, New Left history, or Tai Chi -- that are a bit deeper, quirkier, and wider-ranging than what's found in most suspense fiction. And this fiction is indeed suspenseful.
This was the free book I borrowed with my Prime membership. This was the first book I read by this author. This was a well written book that captured my interest from the beginning and held it until the end. The author did an great job of weaving in the people from the research doctor's past into what was happening in the present. A great read, especially if you are interested in medical mysteries.
Alex Glauberman kind of grows on you. I have read all three books and I like him, and the author's quirky imagery, more all the time. Cluster has created a between-the-cracks world where it is not only cars that are stripped down and disassembled, only to be put back in place incorrectly enough times to be believable. But our intrepid mechanic gets it right in the end, and I look forward to more tales of the obscure.