Hugh Holiday is a novel of suspense in which a 23-year-old social outsider with a formidable stutter, and a unique workaround, is framed for murder. Stuck between the crosshairs of a police lieutenant and the Pittsburgh mob, affecting a British accent to investigate the crime, a stuttering persona publicly, Hugh Holiday is all alone and on borrowed time in trying to unravel this mystery. More
Hugh Holiday is a novel of suspense and mystery in which a perceptive social outsider with a formidable stutter, and a unique workaround, is framed for murder.
Hugh Holiday is stuck on a kind of Penrose Stairs: He forges ahead on his impossible staircase; he gets nowhere. His stuttering is severe, his only friend’s a dog, he barely makes ends meet, and his dream of medical school has morphed into an air castle. And now he is wanted for the murder of a medical school professor. And hunted by a hit man. Not bad for a twenty-three-year-old.
For a brief moment—before the police interrogations, the mob encounters—Hugh was certain his life had turned around. The breakthrough had come in the form of a British accent acquired during an extended trip: it offered a workaround for his speech disfluencies, opened a new world. Now, not using this hitherto unrevealed ability is the only thing keeping him free: the sole witness is adamant the intruder had a smooth British accent.
An involuntary outsider, no one has helped Hugh Holiday before, and no one is going to help him now. Stuck between the crosshairs of a police lieutenant and those tying up this loose end, affecting a British accent to investigate the crime, a stuttering persona publicly, Hugh Holiday is looking for a way off his Penrose Stairs.
The novel is set in Pittsburgh and captures well not just the physical environs and history of the locale but also the spirit of the city and its denizens. The characters introduced—the bulldog of a police lieutenant; the mob boss whose legitimate businesses and philanthropic activities have earned him respect; the tech savvy, philosopher hit man hired to take out Holiday; the ruthless capo with the beautiful wife; the med school surgeon who is somehow tied up in everything—are intriguing.
With its progressively building suspense and its captivating main character, the eponymous stutterer with the smooth British accent, Hugh Holiday is quality storytelling and introduces one of the most inadvertent, delightful and entertaining figures in the pantheon of fictional crime solvers.
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