CHARLIE BOY by Peter S. Feibleman


Email this review


Josiah Moment, a Boston doctor, comes to New Orleans for an AMA convention. He's alone; his wife's back home, most likely being unfaithful with an old friend. But Dr. Moment isn't bored for long. New Orleans, it so happens, has had five of its citizens iced by a psychopath who signs his letters to the paper ""Charlie Boy"" Breux; and with rather implausible speed, Moment--out of ennui and stored-up hunger for experience--makes low-life connections that somehow bring him to Charlie Boy, who has been wounded during one of his murders. Looking at the poor klutz, Charlie, Moment is positive this can't be the man who has terrorized a whole city--too incompetent for that. And so Moment's existential outlaw-ism, so long kept under wraps, comes to the fore: he'll help get Charlie Boy out of town. He does--right into a hurricane (what's a New Orleans novel without at least one hurricane?). But when the storm and everything else blow over, Moment is left with the realization that Charlie Boy did do all these awful things, and there's a final, clichÉd burst of violence. Feibleman (The Columbus Tree, Strangers and Graves) makes neither Moment nor Charlie Boy especially convincing; the best of the book's characters is a black teenager, E.L., no one's fool, who helps Moment with Charlie Boy without for a minute being anything less than amused by both. A small story, then, puffed into a contrived study of innocence and psychopathology, not without reminders of Feibleman's story-telling talent but overdrawn, unfocused, and unsatisfying.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown