The Solomon Twist by Dan Hammond Jr.

Published: 17th February  2015 Goodreads badge
Publisher: 
Solomon Texas Press
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction/Satire
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Twin sons of different fathers?

Sure, the chances are slim and none. But to Mazel McDonald, it sounds like a good idea at the time.

In the west Texas town of Solomon in 1965, Mazel doesn’t have many options being unwed, pregnant, and unemployed–due to being unwed and pregnant. When she finds herself in early labor with two men laying claim to the title of father, an unexpected situation arises. Mazel discovers she is having twins.

Jump to 1991 when Mazel’s husband, known as Daddy Two, is found dead in their living room. Who shot Daddy Two? That question acts as a loose backdrop throughout the novel as suspects come to the forefront. But deeper questions of identity, reunion, and recovery gain traction, transforming the story into one of self-realization and redemption.

Combining humor, exuberance, and an incisive poignancy, THE SOLOMON TWIST is packed with characters who are insightful, clueless, sensitive, and cynical. With two mysteries unsolved until the final pages, Hammond masterfully weaves a tale that leaves readers both satisfied and not wanting to leave the people of Solomon, Texas.

Who killed Daddy Two? The more important question becomes: who’s your Daddy?

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

Following a strange series of events, this story follows Mazel, her boys, and the town of Solomon from the 1960s to the early 1990s. There is no gradual progression through the decades, from introductions and scene setting in the 1960s the story jumps to the 1990s where the main narrative kicks off. I quite liked that this story was different and unconventional. The whodunit aspect was there and there were other mysteries to solve all wrapped up in this strange town with strange people, but Hammond uses this unusualness to his advantage and it works rather well.

The town of Solomon is filled with a range of people who are strange in their own way. Each character is unique and likable, even with their peculiarities and misguided moral compasses. There are a few characters to keep track of but they each fill their role and fall into place easily enough. Some characters also get more attention and depth than others but it’s not a real problem, Hammond writes it so it’s easy to gain an understanding of who these characters are and sometimes the little that is given is more than enough.

With every character their own version of peculiar, Mazel is no different. She is a sweet woman, a bit odd, but given how her life has turned out it isn’t surprising. She is kind of vague, not absentminded or dreamy so much as just there, participating and doing her job. There are moments when she is alert and involved, and it is moments like this where Hammond uses characters and situations well, demonstrating moments of freedom and release in who they are depending on their circumstances. Hammond also addresses these moments in character which give it another level, seeing Mazel analyse herself is great because it works in two parts, for her and for the reader. To credit Mazel though, she is not as daft as she appears, noticing things around her and making negotiations for the security of her boys. It’s these little moments that made her interesting and perplexing, she is difficult to pin down.

These strange characters and the odd way they live their lives are what make this novel. The interactions and connections between everyone also makes this work because it becomes a mixture of everyone’s lives, intentions, and self-interests, with this apparent murder to solve on top of that while still keeping everyone’s arrangements in place. Deals are made, situations are bargained, and everyone is in it for themselves.

I love how Hammond has constructed this and put this story together because it doesn’t go where you expect and yet it is oddly fascinating at the same time. Even with the death of Mazel’s husband looming in the background and suspects being questioned, it becomes second to the wants and interests of others, and a whole other story emerges.

The conclusion is where Hammond’s true skills shine. There is a moment when you think you are going to finish the book unsatisfied but suddenly everything comes together, things happen and pieces fall into place that provide a turning point not just for the story but for the characters as well, all the while maintaining the little eccentricities that have been present from the start.

This will certainly not disappoint as a whodunit, albeit in an unconventional manner, and the mysteries of fathers, and all the other quirkiness that goes on in Solomon makes this a read that is much more than it appears.

You can purchase The Solomon Twist via the following

Amazon

Amazon Aust

 

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