Mather Edson
Created by Joseph Monninger

The dust jacket of Joseph Monninger's novel Mather contains a blurb from Andrew Vachss, comparing the eponymous protagonist to Travis McGee and Spenser and the writing to Raymond Chandler.

"Naah," I thought when I picked it up. "Not possible." And boy, was I wrong.

MATHER EDSON is an ex-everything: ex-hippie, ex-Peace Corps member; ex-amateur wrestler; ex-member of mainstream society. He lives in a cabin in the New Hampshire woods with his Airedale, Nancy, depending on odd jobs for a simple living. Occasionally, these jobs include "people retrieval" and--wouldn't you just know it--within the first chapter, an old friend happens to show up for help in getting her kidnapped daughter back.

Remember Spenser's cabin, back in Early Autumn? Mather, with his serenity and wry understanding, is what Spenser might have become if he had stayed there full time, kept away from Susan and from Pearl the Wonder Dog, and eaten simpler food. (Then again, maybe not.) Seriously, Mather is highly reminiscent of the early Spenser novels, without being an obvious retread--and that, in my opinion, is high praise.

Monninger planned to write a series about Mather; to date, however, he remains a one-book character. With any luck, this will change soon. In the meantime, at least we're left with an eminently readable and re-readable novel.

NOVEL

Respectfully submitted by Victoria Esposito-Shea.


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