“Visiting people in the hospital was a pain in the ass; I knew going in that they wouldn’t let me smoke, and I always worried a little that they wouldn’t let me leave. I was eighty-seven years old and still buying Lucky Strikes by the carton, so everyone figured I was ripe to keel over.”
Don’t Ever Get Old
by Daniel Friedman
Buck Schatz is a retired Memphis cop but when he hears from a dying friend that their torturer from when they were in a Nazi prison camp might still be alive and may have gotten away with a fortune in gold then he is going to have to put his detective skills to use. Granted, now he needs a bit of help to navigate modern police work.
Buck doesn’t quite believe his friend but it looks like they’ve now attracted attention from others who want a piece of the treasure. Reluctantly, Buck starts investigating but will need the help of his grandson Billy, or Tequila as he keeps telling his grandfather to call him, and the two set off on an adventure.
In between some chapters are “notes” that Buck writes in his memory book of things he doesn’t want to forget and through them and we learn about the horrors he went through in the concentration camp, his relationship with his son and thoughts on getting old and losing his independence.
I found myself laughing quite a bit through this novel. One of the story’s strengths is the dialogue which sounds natural and comes across as genuine, especially with regards to Buck. He is gruff and no-nonsense and will tell you exactly what he thinks.
In the midst of the guns and fights there are also some poignant touches about getting older and a husband and wife not wanting to lose their independence but also being realistic. So all that is good but my disappointments were mainly with the mystery aspect of the book. I found the resolution implausible and finding the identity of the killer felt almost like a letdown. Overall I felt a bit like I wasn’t reading this so much for the mystery but for the characters.
Source: Library copy