Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Sirena Quest

Title:  The Sirena Quest
Author:  Michael A. Kahn
Publication Information:  Poisened Pen Press. 2015. 147 pages.
ISBN:  1464203504 / 978-1464203503

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Shelf Awareness!

Opening Sentence:  "In the beginning there was the pink slip."

Favorite Quote:  "You are where you are today because of where you were before today. Like that Beatles song - it's a long and winding road."

Sirena is missing; in fact, Sirena has been missing for thirty five years. Sirena is the name of the 193 pound Greco-Roman statute that once was the pride of Barrett College, a small private university in New England. She disappeared one day in 1959, seemingly leaving no trace.

A billionaire alumnus, who graduated from Barrett the year Sirena disappeared, offers a $2 million prize to anyone who can find and return Sirena before the thirty fifth reunion of his class. A magazine offers another million for the rights to the exclusive story. The hunt for Sirena is on.

College roommates and friends Ray, Lou, Gordie, and Billy join together in the quest to find Sirena. They did not attend Barrett until 1970, well after Sirena's disappearance. However, Sirena and her disappearance remained a legend at Barrett College even then. The four men were freshman roommates, and close during their college years. They have since drifted apart as life has led them in different directions in the twenty years since graduation. The search for Sirena rekindles the friendships.

Mostly, this book is a funny tale of the adventure of the search - the clues, the investigation the misdirection, and the others hunting for Sirena.  Along with friendships, the quest for Sirena brings back rivalries that existed in college - picture "jocks vs. nerds" - especially with one ruthless pair of men in particular.

"Boys will be boys" is the phrase that comes to mind in reading parts of this book. The humor and the antics are those of boys even though these are middle aged men. They seem to be finding their youth again along with all the hazards that come with the fact that they are indeed no longer youthful. The escapades are more extreme given the power of age and money behind them.

What gives the story some depth is the fact that these "boys" are middle aged, and a lot of life has gone by since college. Each one brings their experiences and reflects on life as they reconnect with old friends. Marriages, deaths, travels, children, careers, career changes, wealth, and friendship - life has changed significantly in the twenty years since college. Some of the book becomes a nostalgic look back at the way things were and the way things could have been.

The author Michael A. Kahn is a trial lawyer, a university professor, a father and grandfather, and a former elementary school teacher. Many elements of this background seem to make their way into this book. His other works include a series of books featuring lawyer and detective Rachel Gold, who also makes a cameo appearance in this book.

This book is not as much of a mystery as the description suggests; the main clue is really not as difficult as these men seem to find it. I appreciate the fact that it is a book about men, but is not centered on espionage or warfare, or other such topic. It is about seemingly ordinary people having a somewhat out of the ordinary adventure. The book is a light and easy read, sometimes funny and sometimes nostalgic.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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