Sunday, February 23, 2020

Six Degrees of Separation: Fleishman is in Trouble to The Maltese Falcon

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate of Books Are My Favourite and Best in which our lovely host chooses a book and participants take it from there: creating a chain of books, each connected to the one before. Seeing where we end up is half the fun! 

This month's featured title is Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, a novel about a 40-something year old man who is at the top of his game. Divorced, a successful career, kids on the weekends, and women at his beck and call. But now his ex-wife has disappeared, and he is forced to take a hard look at his life.

Fleishman was able to line up a different hook-up every night through a dating app. Which made me think of Lost in Geeklandia (Geeklandia #1) by E.J. Russell, a novel about an introverted computer engineer who has created the perfect matchmaking program. An investigative reporter is determined to prove the program is a scam and save his previously damaged reputation.  This was a fun romance that reminded me of the movie How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.

Like Daniel Shaw, the reporter in Lost in Geeklandia, Coleridge Taylor is a down on his luck reporter, kicked off his beat, and desperate to regain his reputation in Last Words (Coleridge Taylor Mystery #1) by Rich Zahradnik, which is is set in New York City, 1973. Zahradnik captures the time period so well as his character follows a lead that takes him to the streets with the homeless community to the filthy rich. This is one of my favorite mysteries series.

Last Words' Taylor lost his brother in the Vietnam War. Tatjana Soli's The Lotus Eaters is set in Vietnam during the war, also in 1975, about an American photojournalist who has fallen in love with a Vietnamese man. The Lotus Eaters is one of my all-time favorite novels: beautiful, dark, and thought provoking.

Another novel with a flower in the title is Mercedes Lackey's The Fire Rose. San Francisco in the early 1900’s is the perfect backdrop for this Beauty and the Beast re-telling. Women have their place in society but are making definite movement towards beginning their struggle for equality. Rose is a woman who has never been content in a traditional role, wanting to get a doctorate and stand on her own two feet. She wears glasses, thinks herself rather plain and is a bookworm. The perfect heroine for this book.

Perhaps then it would seem an odd jump to go from a character like Rose to one like Samuel Spade in The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, Spade being a quintessential ladies' man. The novel is also set in San Francisco, although a few years in the future. Spade is a private investigator who takes on a case to find a woman's missing sister--only nothing goes as planned. I can see why so many mystery authors have been influenced by Dashiell Hammett's writings, including this classic.

Following a chain from a troubled man who relies on a dating app to get women; a reporter determined to write an exposé on a new matchmaking app; another newsman trying to repair his tattered reputation who lost his brother in the Vietnam War; to a photojournalist who has captured so much of the Vietnam War on film and struggles with where she fits in. And from there we go to San Francisco where a woman determines she must uncover the real reason behind her employer's secrecy and secluded lifestyle leading us then to a private investigator whose search for his client's sister turns into a search for a jewel-encrusted bird. From Fleishman is in Trouble to The Maltese Falcon.

Did you participate in this month's Six Degrees of Separation?

March's chain will begin with Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar
I hope you will join in and give it a try!

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  1. Oooh, this reminded me that I wanted to read Lost in Geeklandia! Last Words sounds interesting as well.

  2. Wow! That is quite a journey! The only book I'm familiar with is The Maltese Falcon but Fleishman is in Trouble looks intriguing.

    1. Katherine - I really enjoy going on these journeys and seeing where I end up.

  3. I like how you put these together. I've never read any of these.

  4. I've only read The Lotus Eaters from your list. Lost in Geeklandia sounds interesting.

  5. Interesting series of links this time!

  6. Had fun reading this post! Interesting way some of these are connected.


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