Cattleya Hoskin, journalist for Gamut Magazine, has come to Pittsburgh determined to get that interview with Lupa Schwartz, the grandson of the great detective her father once worked for as “leg man,” gumshoe, and chronicler. Now that Schwartz is carrying on the legacy and has built a reputation as a masterful sleuth in his own right, the idea that she should write a piece on him seems organic to her. Schwartz has never shied from the press before, so why is he being such a cold fish toward her?
Nothing in Schwartz’s attitude changes when Cattleya arrives unannounced on the famous detective’s doorstep until a case he doesn’t want also arrives unbidden and unwelcome right behind her. Coerced into investigating the poisoning death of a local Catholic who passed just after receiving the sacrament of last rights from a well-known Catholic priest and euthanasia advocate, Schwartz and Cattleya team up to write the case study that will establish her career... More > once-and-for-all.< Less
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Jul 10, 2013
Cattleya Hoskin is a journalist for a New York magazine who travels to Pittsburgh to interview one Lupa Schwartz, a lawyer and previous associate of her late father. Although unable to conduct the interview she wants, she is retained by Schwartz to assist in a murder investigation. A sick old man dies after being given his last rites, and when it is discovered he was poisoned, the suspicion falls on Father Coneely who administered the last rites and who is an advocate of voluntary euthanasia. The Schwartz household is a busy place and Schwartz is an unusual individual. Whilst the objective of the investigation is to find the culprit by looking closely at all the people party to the last rites ceremony, much of the first half of the book deals as much with the personalities of those people not involved in the ceremony, with the attention focussed on Schwartz and his eccentricities. Schwartz has a garage full of classic cars which he brings out at various times during the story. An... More > unexpected bonus for car enthusiasts Several pages are devoted to Schwartz peculiar habit of letting down the tyres of cars which he thinks are parked in the wrong place. A lot of very eccentric behaviour takes place whilst dealing with this area of Schwartz personality, which does detract from the main theme. It is not until chapter 19, more than half way through the book that the investigation really starts to get into gear. By the time the investigation reaches the critical stage, in the style of Poirot, where everyone is gathered together in one room for the grand revelation, things get extremely complicated. If the reader can get through this section in one piece, then the culprit will be revealed to them. Is it Coneely, or one of the scheming family interested in getting their hands on the insurance money? The book is well written and the characters are interesting. Nevertheless, some readers might prefer that the story stayed more to the plot. The lives of the characters have some charm and would make interesting reading in a novel specifically devoted to them, aside from the murder investigation. Visualize a lawyer, a journalist, a cook/housekeeper, a female car mechanic and a jazz playing police detective, with romantic connections. All of the above are built into the novel Extreme Unction.< Less
unc·tion [uhngk-shuhn] noun. An act of anointing, especially as a medical treatment or religious rite. ex·treme [ik-streem] noun. An extreme act, measure, condition, etc Either one of these are nothing terribly interesting alone. Throw them together and you get one crazy story. Father Coneely is relatively new to his parish but is not favored by many of the elder clergy due to his controversial view on mercy killings and assisted suicide for folks in the last stages of life who are in severe pain and desire to end it all. When a conversation with a grieving family over the looming death of their father goes awry, the pastor is ultimately accused of murder when the man is found dead hours after Coneely performed extreme unction on the dying man. Enter Cat Hoskin and Lupa Schwartz. The latter is an eccentric old investigator with a garage full of classic cars, enough to give even Leno a run for his money. The former is a magazine journalist sent from Cleveland to... More > Pittsburgh to write an article on the man. She soon finds herself knee-deep in the investigation Schwartz has taken on for the city, which would like him to prove Father Coneely was indeed the culprit. Follow Cat as she herself follows Schwartz in the hopes of gaining the story of a lifetime. As Schwartz has his own reasons for taking on the murder case, she also has her own additional reasons for taking on this endeavor, reasons that lie just beyond the story. As she digs for more information on this investigator and his ties to her, she finds herself as deep in the mystery as the man himself. On the surface it appears to be nothing more than a greedy family hiding an attempt of insurance fraud, but is that all there is to it, or is that even the case? A killer is in house. Can you decipher who did it before the big reveal at the end? Was it Father Coneely or someone else who poisoned the holy oil used during the last rites, someone whose ideas are more sinister than assisted suicide? I figured it out, but I won’t ruin it for you. Extreme Unction is a wild romp following Hoskin and Schwartz, and it includes a colorful cast of characters, which include many classic—some exotic— cars. The only thing I found the story lacking was colorful foldouts of the cars. I found myself looking up the various cars mentioned as I read just so I could keep up.< Less
Welcome to J. David Core’s imagination: cool cars, great recipes, Victorian houses, and a murder mystery that keeps you guessing up to the last minute. All populated with characters you could swear you’ve met somewhere before. Extreme Unction is a jaunty tale that gives the rebellious reader a smug satisfaction as authority figures are countermanded and manipulated through his well-designed and witty plot. This is a fun read.
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