THE DROWNING ICECUBE by Jon L. Breen

THE DROWNING ICECUBE

and Other Stories
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though he’s published 6 novels and over 80 short stories, Breen is best known as an Edgar-winning reviewer—a reputation this uneven retrospective of 17 tales is unlikely to change. At his best, Breen is a superb mimic, and the title story, a sendup of Ross Macdonald, is a minor classic of merriment. But other parodies fall flat. “The Big Nap,” which apes British writers trying to create hard-boiled detectives, and “Captain Benvolio Bullhorner,” which enrolls Horatio Hornblower in the NYPD, are merely quaintly dated, and “The Pun Detective and the Danny Boy Killer” is nothing but amiable persiflage. Both parodies like “Woollcott and the Vamp” (Alexander Woollcott meets Theda Bara) and straight stories like “The Tarnished Star” (High Noon versus the blacklist) start promisingly but peter out. Fans of Breen’s horse-racing stories will find only a single example (“Jerry Brogan and the Kilkenny Cats”), and the rest of the lineup, from the baseball anecdote “The Mother’s Day Doubleheader” to the fairy-tale homage “Clever Hans,” showcases Breen the journeyman rather than Breen the master. Fans will be happy to see five chronicles of child-of-the-century hero Sebastian Grady gathered together. The volume as a whole, though, will probably please fans alone.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7862-2250-6
Page count: 247pp
Publisher: Five Star
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2000




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