Monday, June 20, 2022

Review: The Last Refuge

The Last Refuge The Last Refuge by Chris Knopf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sam Acquilla is a cynical man in his early fifties who wants as little to do with the rest of the world as possible so he’s built up a quiet life that mainly consists of drinking alone.

I think I’ve got a lawsuit against this author for using me as a character.

Sam was once a fairly successful engineer and middle manager for a large corporation, but circumstances and his own nature led to divorce, estrangement from his daughter, and an early retirement. He’s retreated to his parents old house in the Hamptons where he’s lived quietly and simply for several years. When Sam finds his elderly neighbor dead, all signs point to an accident, but Sam finds himself managing her estate and trying to clear up questions he has. Reluctantly, Sam engages with other people and finds himself trying to solve a mystery.

This is a fairly low-key crime novel that succeeds because of an intriguing lead character and a great setting. As someone who has a knack for irritating the shit out of people even as he finds ways to get more out of them than they want to give, Sam is a mystery in his own right which is gradually solved as he recalls more and more of the path that led him to his current state.

The setting is also intriguing as an area which once had plenty of blue-collar workers who built cheap houses on what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the world. Now the older generation has mostly been pushed out in favor of the new money except for a decreasing number of hold outs.

This is the first in a series that I’ll be checking out more of.

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