cover image Don’t Ever Get Old

Don’t Ever Get Old

Daniel Friedman. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-60693-0

Friedman’s excellent debut introduces a highly unusual hero, 87-year-old, politically incorrect Buck Schatz, a former member of the Memphis PD, who’s become a living legend. Schatz’s memory is less and less reliable, and his physical decline is making his world “a gradually shrinking circle.” That circle becomes a good deal larger after he agrees to a request to visit Jim Wallace, a soldier he served with in WWII who’s on his deathbed. Wallace reveals that Heinrich Ziegler, the SS officer who ran the POW camp where both Schatz and Wallace were imprisoned, survived the war. On top of that shocker, Wallace reveals that he facilitated the Nazi’s escape in exchange for a gold bar. Schatz’s furious reaction accelerates Wallace’s demise and sets off a frantic search for Ziegler and the treasure he still possesses. Friedman makes his limited lead plausible, and bolsters the story line with wickedly funny dialogue. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (May)