What a pleasant surprise. As a lover of historical fiction, I really enjoyed this story set mostly in Depression-era America about, of all things, a young verterinarian who joins a circus. The two narrators, the young and elderly version of the main character, add depth to an already-captivating story. The book is also a tale of life and adventure on the American railroad. This was the era that my parents grew up in and I could hear my father in the pitch-perfect voice of the older Jacob.
As an ardent fan of the show "Homcicide: Life on the Streets", I was fascinated to listen the story that started it all. The narrator, Reed Diamond, was also a character in the show "Homicide." This journalist-turned-author and screen writer has a crystal-clear understanding of the underside of Baltimore crime, politics and corruption. The best part: much of this book and its characters eventually became the fantastic TV series "The Wire," also written by Simon.
After a mildly interesting prologue, I was completely hooked by the tale that began to unfold. The plot detail and character development was marvelous, and the shared narration of the two main characters was luminous. I was completely captivated and spent hours unable to turn the book off when I should have been doing other things. The ending brought the story to a nice, plausible close. Part ghost story, part mystery, part study of dysfunctional family dynamics, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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