Sent to a therapeutic community for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the Old Fox of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel normal again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return home to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy with its unforgettable portraits of Todd's beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd reflects the beauty of His creation is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget.

Eli will be here Wednesday, September 16 to present his book, answer questions from the audience, and sign copies. Best Boy will be sold at the full retail price at the event, with 20% of sales donated to the Price Center via Carol Beggy.

In Bartlett’s debut mystery, a retiree proves he can still give as good as he gets.

Sixty-something Hannon is living quietly in a home on a once-grand estate in a New England village. When a stranger ambushes him shortly after he returns from a jog, he’s surprised and terrified, but thanks to his quick wits and even quicker reflexes, he defeats his attacker. However, Hannon can’t figure out why his would-be assassin called him a murderer. He has no enemies to speak of, and with the exception of visits by his girlfriend, Linda, Hannon keeps largely to himself. He thinks it might be a case of mistaken identity, but the local police don’t buy that theory, and start scrutinizing everyone in Hannon’s life, past and present. When there’s another attempt on Hannon’s life the next day, he decides to hire a private detective named George McCarty to help find out who’s trying to kill him. Bartlett successfully develops a small-town atmosphere with charm and wit; for example, the local police rarely use their shooting range because neighbors complain about the noise—and because there’s “[n]o need around here for sharpshooters.” Hannon’s self-deprecating, often age-related humor sets the stage for jocular dialogue, which offers a respite from the story’s more violent scenes. However, in some instances, the prose can be awkward; for example, in the hospital, Hannon meets an “attractive nurse” who gives him “an attractive smile, the kind only attractive women can pass out.” Readers may wonder whether Bartlett is being playful or simply repetitious. Hannon frequently becomes entangled in dangerous or deadly situations, and although Bartlett explores the idea that Hannon may be a danger addict, the sheer number of times the elderly man narrowly escapes attempts on his life pushes the boundaries of believability. In the end, though, many readers will gloss over these flaws in favor of Bartlett’s quirky characters and quick plot. The ending is left wide open for a sequel, which perhaps may focus more on Hannon’s relationship with Linda. The fans that Bartlett earns with this book will be eager for more.

Be sure to stop by and meet Dick Saturday, September 19 between 1:00PM and 3:00 PM.