Our June Mystery of the Month is Daniel Friedman’s brilliant debut Don’t Ever Get Old. Whodunit columnist Bruce Tierney classifies it as “Geezer Noir” and says it “is one of the most original and entertaining tales I have read in many a moon.”
Don’t Ever Get Old stars retired cop Buck Schatz, an 80-something WWII vet on the hunt for a fugitive Nazi officer and the gold he stole from concentration camp internees.
Based on the crotchety protagonist in Don’t Ever Get Old, I expected Friedman’s answers to our 7 questions interview to be short, funny and snarky. I was surprised to find his answers to be touching, enlightening and my favorites ever to a 7 Q. Here’s part of his answer to the question, “When you’re in your 80s, what do you hope to be doing?”:
“. . . Being young is about hope and about expectation. Tomorrow you’re going to run faster or lift more weight. Next year you’re going to find true love. Within five years, you’ll have that promotion, and you’ll make more money. But at a certain age, the expectation that things will get better reverses on you. That’s what Buck is facing in Don’t Ever Get Old.
They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but it isn’t true. Invasive surgeries don’t make you stronger. Hypertension doesn’t make you stronger. Arthritis doesn’t make you stronger. Buck Schatz is a war veteran and a retired police detective. His identity and his idea of virtue is based on being tough and self-reliant. A big part of the story is about how he struggles to cope with becoming increasingly frail and dependent on others. And a lot of older people are having to deal with the same kind of circumstances.”
Definitely check out his answer for what he’s working on next. The sequel to Don’t Ever Get Old sounds awesome . . . but don’t get me started on the Lord Byron murder mystery!