Showing posts with label Lewin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lewin. Show all posts

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Good Intentions, by Michael Z. Lewin

"Good Intentions," by Michael Z. Lewin, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine,  November 2012.

Last year in this space I reviewed "Who Am I," in which Lewin gave Albert Samson, his Indianapolis private eye an unusual client: a quiet, unremarkable man called LeBron James who was convinced his father was an extraterrestial.

The would-be alien is back, this time calling himself Wolfgang Mozart.  He is still doing good deeds and for his troubles this time he gets stabbed.  Since he is unable to answer questions Samson has to figure out what happened and why. 

Mozart and Samson are sympathetic characters and the story is well-written.  (My favorite line: A nurse named Matty meets Albert's kid the cop.

"And she's YOUR daughter?"  Matty tilted her head.  "Your mother must be very very beautiful."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who I Am, by Michael Z. Lewin

"Who I Am," by Michael Z. Lewin, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, December 2011. 
 Mr. Lewin becomes the second author (after James Powell) to appear in this column twice. This story raises the question: how do you make a genre story new and unique?

For instance: Indianapolis private eye Albert Samson gets a client whose house has just been robbed.  A few things of no great value were taken, plus a memento of his father.  Samson investigates and finds the culprit.

Well, okay, but we've all read that one a few thousand times before, haven't we?  What makes this story different from the others?

Just one thing really.  Samson's client, who calls himself Lebron James (but isn't the famous basketball player) claims that his father was a space alien.  Samson doesn't believe it, of course, but he does believe the roll of hundred dollar bills Mr. James pays him with.  This is apparently the first in a series of stories about a rather sympathetic guy who his neighbors call "spaceman" and "the weirdo."  I'm looking forward to more.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Powder Goes Hunting

“Powder Goes Hunting” by Michael Z. Lewin. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, February 2011. Last week I wrote about Keller, a hitman who happens to be a very sympathetic character. This week I was introduced to Leroy Powder, a good cop who is a very UNsympathetic character. How can the bad guys seem nice and the good guys irritate us? Not unusual, I guess. Storytelling is full of characters (Holmes, Rumpole, Wolfe, House, etc.) who sound like wonderful fun but you know that if you had to put up with them on a regular basis you would want to strangle them.

Lieutenant Leroy Powder has apparently offended enough people in the Indianapolis police department that he has been booted from detective to Roll Call officer. When the story opens he is about to make himself even more popular by investigating the deer flu – that is, cops who call in sick on the first day of deerhunting season.

As it turns out Powder finds something more dastardly than playing hooky, and along the way he has a chance to work on his goal of making his people into better cops – although it would have been nice to see whether his effort with one impatient officer paid off.

But here is an example of what I mean by saying he is unsympathetic. In one scene he is chatting with a friend (and apparently ex-lover) who was put in a wheelchair by a bullet. When he finds out that she used to be a hunter he asks: “What do you do now? Sit out in the yard with food on your hand and get the wild creatures to come to you? Then strangle them?”

Keller might murder you, but at least he won’t be rude about it.