Professional fact-finder Samuel Hoenig (The Question of the Felonious Friend, 2016, etc.) accepts a query from a client he can hardly refuse: his mother.
Though he resists the notion that people on the autism spectrum don’t develop the same attachments as their neurotypical peers, Samuel nevertheless has very little interest in discovering the whereabouts of his own father. Not, Samuel insists, because he lacks feelings, but because he lacks information. Reuben Hoenig left the family home 27 years ago, and since then, there’s been hardly a word about his career in the music business, his health, or even his whereabouts. This last had become of great concern to Vivian Hoenig, since she’s just received a letter from Reuben, the first in many years, suggesting that he may never be able to write to her again. Once she shapes her concern into a question—“Where is your father living now?”—it becomes a matter of professional urgency for Samuel to find Reuben. As proprietor of Questions Answered, his job is precisely and literally to answer questions. And Samuel is nothing if not precise and literal. He and his associate, Ms. Washburn, undertake a computer search and find that Reuben once worked for the Rayborn Corporation in Seattle. When he left Rayborn, his salary line seemed to be transferred to a George Kaplan of Mendoza Communications, in Los Angeles. But the intricate connections between Rayborn, Mendoza, and an outfit called Kaplan Enterprises in the neighborhood of Reseda simply can’t be traced online. Samuel, who’s never been more than a few hours from Piscataway, is going to have to get on a plane and travel to the San Fernando Valley, where only the patience and guidance of Ms. Washburn will stand between him and the terrors of hotel bathrooms, restaurant meals, and traffic on the 101. Even in his native New Jersey, Samuel is often a stranger in a strange land. But transporting him across the country gives Copperman, aka Cohen, the opportunity to open up his inner life and to explore his burgeoning relationship with his assistant.
Fans coast to coast can take pleasure in seeing Copperman’s quirky hero remain his rational, literal self, even out in fabulous La La Land.