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The Sirena Quest

by Michael A. Kahn

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632,104,605 (3)None
The New York Times Sunday Magazine piece famously opened: "She has pouting lips and high round breasts. Thousands of men have dreamt of her. Hundreds have chased after her. Two have died in pursuit. Her name is Sirena, she weighs 193 pounds, and she vanished in 1959. Without a trace." Barrett College's legendary Greco-Roman sculpture's fate was still a hot topic in 1970 when four roommates began their freshman year at the New England school. They've gone their separate ways for years. But as the 1994 commencement approaches, they are about to reunite to meet a challenge thrown down by a Class of '59 hedge-fund billionaire. He has pledged a $25 million endowment plus a $3 million purse to her finder(s) if Sirena is restored to Barrett by June 17th, the date of his 35th reunion, the college's sesquicentennial celebration--and our foursome's 20th class reunion. Although they are not alone in their pursuit--groups of alumni, including a pair of aggressive and highly-financed classmates, are running down leads across the world--St. Louis lawyer Lou Solomon and his crew come upon an obscure but intriguing clue. It leads them to Chicago where a young lawyer called Rachel Gold may hold key information. As the men race to crack the Sirena puzzle, their quest will transform their lives in unexpected ways.… (more)
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Have you ever been on a treasure hunt? If you have, I bet it’s not as elaborate as The Sirena Quest. Sirena is Barrett College’s Greco-Roman sculpture. “… she’d been kidnapped and rescued and kidnapped again and rescued again. And that she’d disappeared. And then years passed. And then decades.” Silicon Valley billionaire Robert Godwin of the class of ’59 has pledged $23 million to the college and another $2 million reward to Sirena’s rescuers if she is found and returned by June 17, 1994, in time for the class of ‘59’s 35th reunion. On that day, Barrett College will be 150 and Sirena will be 100.

The protagonist is Lou Solomon (class of ’74), a St. Louis attorney. His wife, Andi, had died a couple of years before leaving him with two children to raise on his own. He arranges for the care of his children, and embarks on an adventure that not only has a monetary reward if they should succeed, but also allows him to reunite with his college buds, formerly known as “the James gang.”

This story is a lot of fun. The book is touted as a mystery – even though it has a mystery element, it is not your typical crime or murder mystery. It is more of an adventure of middle aged men reliving and reminiscing about their college days. I liked the closeness that Lou maintained with his old friends and I liked their banter. The clues are not easy to find nor are they easy to interpret and the reader is on the sidelines hoping they will figure it all out before another group does. The order in which the story is told, though, can be somewhat confusing. I rated The Sirena Quest at 3.5 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | Mar 31, 2015 |
A promising premise that doesn't hold up. The Sirena Quest starts well and introduces a number of interesting characters, but the quest ends too quickly and too conveniently. The middle drags. The event that restarts the action won't surprise anyone. The last section offers a bit of excitement but more "isn't that convenient" bits put a damper on the fun. The author writes interesting characters, but this isn't really a treasure hunt story and would have been better with a different framing device.

Note: this review is based on an ARC received from the publisher ( )
  astraplain | Feb 20, 2015 |
The Sirena Quest by Michael A. Kahn is a light and easy read, sometimes funny and sometimes nostalgic. It is a book about men but is not centered on espionage or warfare, or other such topic. It is about seemingly ordinary people having a somewhat out of the ordinary adventure as they search for a statute and compete for a $3 million prize.

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2015/01/the-sirena-quest.html

Reviewed based on a publisher’s galley received through NetGalley ( )
  njmom3 | Jan 7, 2015 |
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The New York Times Sunday Magazine piece famously opened: "She has pouting lips and high round breasts. Thousands of men have dreamt of her. Hundreds have chased after her. Two have died in pursuit. Her name is Sirena, she weighs 193 pounds, and she vanished in 1959. Without a trace." Barrett College's legendary Greco-Roman sculpture's fate was still a hot topic in 1970 when four roommates began their freshman year at the New England school. They've gone their separate ways for years. But as the 1994 commencement approaches, they are about to reunite to meet a challenge thrown down by a Class of '59 hedge-fund billionaire. He has pledged a $25 million endowment plus a $3 million purse to her finder(s) if Sirena is restored to Barrett by June 17th, the date of his 35th reunion, the college's sesquicentennial celebration--and our foursome's 20th class reunion. Although they are not alone in their pursuit--groups of alumni, including a pair of aggressive and highly-financed classmates, are running down leads across the world--St. Louis lawyer Lou Solomon and his crew come upon an obscure but intriguing clue. It leads them to Chicago where a young lawyer called Rachel Gold may hold key information. As the men race to crack the Sirena puzzle, their quest will transform their lives in unexpected ways.

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