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on Sep. 30, 2012 :
This was the first book by Edward Patterson I've read, but if it's anything to go by there will be more. His use of language is eloquent and elegant, the best I've seen on smashwords so far. Characters are very well rounded, believable and well written. The murder mystery emerging as the romance unfolds kept me guessing until the end when the main character himself realised the truth...
(reviewed long after purchase)
Sharon E. Cathcart
on July 13, 2010 :
I was initially uncertain what to make of Turning Idolater. I'm a great admirer of Edward C. Patterson's work, but I just could not imagine how a book about a gay man who strips on the Internet, whilst obsessing over the language of Moby Dick, could somehow intertwine with information about the rare book trade and a murder mystery.
Yet, in the end, that story turned out to be absolutely brilliant.
As always, Patterson's prose is gorgeous; the descriptions of whales, gulls, a cat and a dog in Provincetown are particular standouts in that regard.
His protagonist, Philip, is a sympathetic fellow -- not without his flaws, certainly, which make him human instead of a cardboard caricature. There's more to Philip than meets the eye, which we learn as the tale progresses.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy a good literary novel.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Dec. 01, 2009 :
Edward Patterson has skillfully written a love story that's also a clever murder mystery. Philip Flaxen's intolerant father throws him out of the house when he discovers Philip is gay. The Flaxen One has a lot of growing up to do and nowhere to go. He turns up at the home of an acquaintance, Sprakie, who lets him move in and gets him a job stripping on the Internet. Philip discovers a love for reading after a client gives him a rare first edition of Moby Dick. In the beginning Philip's sweetness and youth make him seem so vulnerable you think he's going to get himself into horrible trouble. But Philip has intelligence and a strength of character that don't let him down when it comes time to choose what he really wants out of life. The murder mystery is so subtly woven into the story, that at first I didn't realize this was more than a beautiful love story. But clues gradually come to light and by the time Mr. Patterson brings in the murder of one of Philip's friends--from the point of view of the victim--the tension rises quickly to a satisfying conclusion.
The writing is wonderful and the characters very real. I loved the way references to Melville's masterpiece, Moby Dick, were referenced throughout the book. Mr. Patterson has a great talent and a masterful way with words.
(reviewed the day of purchase)