A Song for the Asking

Steve Gannon, Author Bantam Books $22.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-553-10164-5
The classic psychological roles assumed by the children and spouses of alcoholics surface in this affecting, if maudlin, debut novel about a family held hostage to a parent's alcoholism, and about the son who must stand up to his father's tyranny in order to make them whole. Futilely defended by Catheryn, his gifted cellist mom, Travis Kane, a 16-year-old piano prodigy, is a distant second to his older brother and a football hero, Tommy, in the battle to win the affection of theirs hard-drinking father, macho LAPD Detective Dan. Over the summer preceding Tommy's departure for college, the situation deteriorates as the obsessive-compulsive detective tries to play superhero on the job and--in an atmosphere charged with animosity over the Rodney King incident--finds himself in hot water over accusations that he used excessive force. The family endure one melodramatic crisis after another, precipitated by Dan's rapidly degenerating behavior. One particularly unlikely event occurs when Tommy's nine-year-old brother, Nate, shoots dead a young punk who is raping his 15-year-old sister, Allison. Incredibly, the younger siblings not only conspire to keep the rape secret but agree to let Allison shoulder the blame for the shooting. Also troubling is the absence of insight into Dan's childhood and the abruptness of the act of disobedience that leads to the final tragedy. Although this novel makes a sincere effort to render the insidious impact of alcoholism, Dan's final plea for forgiveness will impress readers as only the last in a series of notes struck off-key and with too much stridency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-65942-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-47791-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-553-57470-8
Paperback - 386 pages - 978-0-9849881-0-5
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