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CUTTING LOOSE by Michael Z. Lewin


by Michael Z. Lewin

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8050-6225-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

Masquerading as a man, a young woman sets out to find her friend’s killer in New York and London at the turn of the century; disguise proves to be simultaneously liberating and imprisoning in Lewin’s big-canvas historical novel. No one is who she or he seems to be, not the gender-bending heroine Jackie who spends most of her life as Jack so she can play baseball; not her best friend, Nance, a black performer who “passes” as white, and who dies of a stab wound in the opening pages. Cleverly structured and meticulously detailed so that every piece of information neatly clicks into the jigsaw-puzzle ending, the novel runs on two tracks. One chronicles Jackie’s past history starting with her grandmother (whose incredible life both mirrors and influences her granddaughter’s); the other details her current adventures as the avenger of her best friend, along with a surprise unveiling of her father’s murderer. After a vivid trip through 19th-century America, the novel concludes in and around the music halls of London, where Jackie’s past and present converge. The derring-do climax fails to ignite, for this is a book in which the journey surpasses the destination, but overall Lewin produces a grand adventure that readers won’t soon forget. (Fiction. 12-14)