________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 04. . . . September 24, 2010r


One Fine Day You're Gonna Die. (Rapid Reads).

Gail Bowen.
Victoria, BC: Raven Books/Orca, 2010.
93 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-337-5.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.

Review by Joanne Peters.

**** /4


"Late at night, Studio D is a fine and private place. The CVOX offices are empty, and except for the security guy and a technician down the hall, our show's producer, Nova Langenegger, and I are on our own. After ten years of working together, Nova and I know each others moods, and we anticipate each others needs.

Tonight Nova anticipates that I need a guest expert on death and grieving to keep me from going into freefall during the show. Halloween is tough for me. I met Ariel, the woman I loved and lost, at a Halloween birthday party. We were seven years old. She was dressed as the sun, and the memory of her shining face surrounded by rays of golden foil still stops my heart.

Nova is not often wrong, but as soon as I walk into the control room of Studio D, I know that we're in for a rocky ride. The guest expert and my producer are standing toe to toe, and they both look grim. A stranger who did't know the combatants would put his money on the guest expert. "

Well, if you have read Love You to Death ( and if you haven't, well, this is your opportunity to do so), you have already met Charlie Dowhanuik (or as he's known on air, Charlie D) late-night talk show host, and haunted by past loss. Charlie's show is entitled. The World According to Charlie and truly, it is a strange world. One Fine Day begins with an encounter which has rather eerie overtones for those of us who remember the first episode of HBO's Six Feet Under: bicycling on his way to work, Charlie is clipped by a vehicle, specifically, a hearse, but fortunately for both drivers, it's relatively safe. The driver of the car is a funeral director, who just happens to be a fan of Charlie's show. Their encounter is brief but profound, and after the hearse driver takes off to make his latest pick up, Charlie remembers that Halloween is the Day of the Dead and he has a show to do.

     The Halloween night show features a guest expert on death and dying, one Dr. Robin Harris, a six-foot tall, auburn-haired goddess, and tonight, she's wearing a black leather coat, . . . close-fitted to showcase her many assets. And, as the above pull quote indicates, there's tension in the room when Charlie arrives. Apparently, Dr. Harris has requested that Nova block a specific caller, one Dr. Gabriel Ireland, Robin's former lover, and Charlie's producer is less than happy with the request. However, this is but the first of a series of tense situations which arise during the course of the evening. As Charlie states, words can lie but voices never do. Truly, many of the voices are full of pain, and as Dr. Harris responds to the callers, it is clear that, despite her professional cred as a thanatologist, Dr. Harris has a long way to go when it comes to empathy and understanding of the realities of death and loss.

     Once Gabe Ireland phones in, the evening takes a definite turn , especially when he tells everyone about his personal birthday plans: ingesting a vial of a deadly poison, and then, taking Robin's six year-old daughter with him on his exit. At its half-way point, the story becomes a cat and mouse game, heightened by the on-air tension between Gabe and Robin. We learn about the difficulties in Gabe and Robin's relationships, and more importantly, we learn that, when it comes to Kali, Robin's daughter, the doctor's ice princess faade melts completely. The Halloween night call-in show becomes a race against time as the police attempt to find Gabe and Kali and prevent the inevitable.

     One Fine Day You're Gonna Die is a page-turner of the best sort. Once again, Gail Bowen marshals her considerable talents and crafts a story that you will not stop reading until you reach the end. And when you do, you wonder what's next in store for Charlie, and (hint, hint . . ., Nova. There's more to that statement about anticipating each others needs than meets the eye!). It won't take much to hook readers on this Rapid Read!

Highly Recommended.

Joanne Peters, a newly-retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB, is a dedicated reader of mystery fiction, and huge fan of the Joanne Kilbourn series. (No, it's not just about the author's first-name, either!!)

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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