LOOSE ENDS by Neal Bowers


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A rather underimagined seriocomic novel, the first by the Iowa author of the well-received nonfiction Words for the Taking: The Hunt for a Plagiarist (1997). Bowers recounts the misadventures of college English teacher Davis Banks: 40-ish, divorced, diabetic, and a serial wisecracker (perhaps meant to be an American equivalent of Kingsley Amis's "Lucky Jim" Dixon). Returning to Tennessee for his mother's funeral (and reunions with his homespun relatives), Davis encounters a human arm emerging from a grave, evidence that either or both of his parents were adulterous, and an old female friend who's now a police detective. Neither the central "mystery's" solution nor the eccentric events preceding it are especially compelling.

The most interesting thing about Davis, alas, is his unstable blood-sugar level. A disappointment.

Pub Date: March 16th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-50499-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2001