- “The Hidden Keys” by Andre Alexis
- Read as an ebook which was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
- Lost Interest
Parkdale’s Green Dolphin is a bar of ill repute, and it is there that Tancred Palmieri, a thief with elegant and erudite tastes, meets Willow Azarian, an aging heroin addict. She reveals to Tancred that her very wealthy father has recently passed away, leaving each of his five children a mysterious object that provides one clue to the whereabouts of a large inheritance. Willow enlists Tancred to steal these objects from her siblings and help her solve the puzzle.
A Japanese screen, a painting that plays music, a bottle of aquavit, a framed poem and a model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater: Tancred is lured in to this beguiling quest, and even though Willow dies before the puzzle is solved, he presses on.
As he tracks down the treasure, he must enlist the help of Alexander von Würfel, conceptual artist and taxidermist to the wealthy, and fend off Willow’s heroin dealers, a young albino named ‘Nigger’ Colby and his sidekick, Sigismund ‘Freud’ Luxemburg, a clubfooted psychopath, both of whom are eager to get their hands on this supposed pot of gold. And he must mislead Detective Daniel Mandelshtam, his most adored friend.
Inspired by a reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, The Hidden Keys questions what it means to be honourable, what it means to be faithful and what it means to sin.
I had heard that this book was very similar to “The Westing Game” which was a favorite as a kid. I love puzzles and puzzle books are right up my alley. Unfortunately this one fell a little short for me.
This felt very steampunk and fanciful and I just kind of felt lost amongst that with the dark world of drug addiction. I also found it very hard to get through the fact that one character was solely referred to as the N-word, and I wasn’t sure what the purpose of that was. I do want to note, however, that the author identifies as a person of color. Also, unfortunately, the galley I got wasn’t formatted the best, which made it hard for me to get through.
I will hopefully return to this someday when I’m more in the right head space for it, but I’m not sure if I will. I think people who are into a more adult version of “The Westing Game” and aren’t just looking for old nostalgia and reliving the thrill of that book.
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