Review

The Last Good Day

by Peter Blauner



There is no doubt that the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers
cast a pall on the collective American conscience. The length and
breadth of this is very evident in American fiction, particularly
suspense fiction. In SMALL TOWN Lawrence Block made the attacks a
catalyst for the events that took place in the novel. In THE LAST
GOOD DAY Peter Blauner uses the attacks more indirectly --- as a
backdrop, as a hint that all is not well --- but ultimately just as
effectively as Block. The result is a novel that is a compelling
page-turner.

THE LAST GOOD DAY is set in Riverside, New York, a bedroom
community of New York City that has been undergoing a gradual
gentrification and is now quietly reeling from the double body
blows of the economic effects of dot-com recession and, two weeks
before the events of THE LAST GOOD DAY, the terrorist attacks. Lynn
and Barry Schulman have been hop-scotching back and forth across
the country and have returned to Riverside, Lynn's hometown, with
Barry employed as corporate counsel for a fledgling pharmaceutical
company and Lynn pursing her career as a photographer. They
experience all the common worries of a professional couple. Barry's
company is experiencing a series of potentially damaging setbacks,
while Lynn feels the tug between motherhood and her career. Their
17-year-old daughter, Hannah, is embracing the Goth lifestyle with
a hey-dude boyfriend, while their 13-year-old son, Clay, seems to
lack focus and direction for anything other than video games.

However, their lives are kicked into overdrive when a headless
corpse surfaces upon the Hudson River in full view of a group of
morning commuters --- a group that includes Barry. The body is that
of one Sandi Lanier, Lynn's oldest friend. Michael Fallon, one of
the police officers investigating the murder, has a complicated
history with Lynn, going back to their high school days, and he
makes it more than clear that, where there was once a flame, there
is still a flicker. But Fallon has a connection to the dead woman
as well, one that he would prefer no one knew about. Fallon's
impulses, and his apparent inability to control them, hinder the
investigation into Lanier's murder and complicate the downward
spiral his life has already taken. As the extent of Fallon's
involvement with Lanier is slowly revealed, and his continuing
attraction to Lynn crosses the line of professional decorum, THE
LAST GOOD DAY races toward an inevitable apocalyptic ending,
terrible and inevitable.

Blauner gets better and better with each novel. THE LAST GOOD DAY
is a riveting and compelling page-turner --- there is no denying
it. But it is more than that. It is a subtle psychological portrait
of how large-scale tragedies can indirectly affect and influence
the minutiae, the ebb and flow, of living. With THE LAST GOOD DAY,
Blauner assumes a rightful place on the list of authors whose work
should not be missed.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

The Last Good Day
by Peter Blauner

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense
  • Mass Market Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446614270
  • ISBN-13: 9780446614276