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To Die In California by Newton Thornburg
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To Die In California

by Newton Thornburg

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In a nutshell, this book is literary noir. It is certainly dark in tone and rich in description. The pages are dense with words and the book itself deals with barely a fortnight in the life of a father dealing with the apparent suicide of his son. The way he deals with it is to refute the official version of is death, and to go out to California to find out whodunit. He appeals to the police, who tell him to await proper procedure (yeah right, as if a capable, practical man like this could do that!), he snoops around bars and neighbours and goes to the crime scene to see and to question. But mainly he just really wants to clear the name of his son, who he believes would not have died in the way described in the papers.

It is fast moving in spite of the lengthy descriptions, but benefits from fast reading in order not to get bogged down. Although some actions taken are fairly unbelievable, there are some incredibly insightful passages dealing with the human condition, life and death, and just life. ( )
  LovingLit | Jan 7, 2017 |
Probably deserves more than four stars, less than five.

Starts slow, it was written in 1973 and reflects the style of the time, it becomes very good and finishes very realistically.

Well worth reading. Thornburg writing is very good and he doesn't flinch from a real finish or try to force the characters into a finish that isn't them.

Not uplifting or for depressives. ( )
  DinoReader | Aug 21, 2014 |
David Hook hears of his son's death and is unable to accept the reported verdict of suicide. So he leaves the rest of his family behind on his farm in Banner Hill and heads off to Santa Barbara to see if he can uncover exactly what did happen. Finding discrepancies in the statements of the two women present at the time of death David keeps prodding and pushing trying to get to the truth of the matter. Into the picture comes local politician Jack Douglas and his associates. Are they in some way linked to the death and why is everyone so intent on covering everything up

Can David Hook uncover the truth and will he like it if he does? Are there greater consequences at stake and how will this investigation cause more than just a few ripples for those involved?

A decent mystery/thriller that does feel a little dated though I did want to know the outcome. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Jun 18, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316843881, Hardcover)

Informed by the police that Chris, his son has committed suicide, David Hook, an Illinois farmer, knows that this cannot be true. He knows that something else must have happened in California to cause the death of Chris, who loved life too much to take his own. He also knows that he must go West to find out what did happen. In California he discovers corruption, immorality and pain that shocks him to the very core of his being but he also discovers exhilaration and pleasure that changes him forever. First published in 1973, To Die in California sold over 300,000 copies in its previous Avon edition.

Born in 1929, Newton Thornburg is the author of ten novels including Cutter and Bone, made into the film Cutter's Way starring Jeff Bridges and John Heard. He now lives in Washington State.

Also available by Newton Thornburg
Cutter and Bone
TP $14.00. 1-85242-676-4 CUSA

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:05 -0400)

"Most people come to California to find a new way of life. But Chris Hook found death. Was it suicide? David Hook, a farmer from Illinois, never believed his son could have killed himself; his love for life was too great. He knows that something else must have happened in California to cause Chris' death. He also knows that he must go West to find out the truth. But the truth is not enough for David Hook; he needs vengeance for the greatest pain a man can ever know."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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