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REVIEW

"well-done historical details provide rich story"

The time frame for SARANAC LAKE REQUIEM is the late twenties. The action takes place in upper New York State in the little town of Saranac Lake, a place known for its pure air and tuberculosis cure centers. Here people go to breathe fresh cold air, eat as much as they can, and rest, the only known treatments for TB at the time. While they are being cured, they drink, smoke, and party as if there is no tomorrow. After all, for some of them there isn't. Sometimes they spend years doing this and sometimes they die to be carried away on the night train in a coffin. Sometimes they get better.

The main character is Gabriel Levine, a Jewish man who got drunk one night and defended a woman's honor, in the process knocking down Dutch Schultz, a well-known gangster. Ordinarily this would have put an immediate end to his life, but he managed to avoid Dutch that night, and instead comes to the notice of several other gangsters. To avoid the start of a war, they ship him to Saranac Lake, where either his TB or a stray bullet can kill him without danger of a war.

This book is filled with well-done historical details, in the lives of people during the twenties, the entertainers that were around, the gang-leaders who controlled bootlegging. Fascinating details are provided about TB treatment at the time. The characters in the book are richly described and there is as much humor as tragedy in the story.

My only complaint of the book is a minor and frankly a personal one. I know that smoking was considered a relatively benign activity during the twenties, and so having TB patients smoking with full permission from their doctors is completely within the spirit of the time of the book. However, I've lost too many family members to smoking enhanced illnesses to completely enjoy a book where someone lights up a cigarette after coughing up blood. In spite of this, I give this well-done novel my recommendation.

Janet Miller Copyright 2002
for ParaNormal Romance Reviews
originally published @ Amazing Authors Showcase

Reviewed by Janet Miller
Posted June 15, 2002

SUMMARY

In the small village of Saranac Lake, high in the Adirondack Mountains, thousands of sick people came in the hope that the mountain air, the sanitoriums, the many private homes turned into 'cure cottages' would save their lives. Gabriel Levine was sent because a foolish act of bravery, knocking down a notorious gangster to protect a young woman threatened a gang war. He never dreamed that he would find a new life, true friendship, love, and mortal danger.

 

Saranac Lake Requiem
by Shel Damsky

Novel Books, Inc.
February 27, 2002
ISBN #1931696799
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