The Dahlia Connection, by Michael Dovell, was one of the souvenir books I picked up in Seattle. Since I told Weekend Assignment that my summer reading goal was to get through them all, I figured I had better get started.
A middle-aged, semi-retired lottery winner sees a beautiful young lady thrown from a green Lamborghini in Pike Place Market. He rescues her, takes her home, sleeps with her for a couple of days and decides he is in love. Mr. Green Lamborghini comes back for her. He’s a bad New York mafia type. (Rolls eyes.)
There are two interesting things about this book. First there is the character that is The Market. Dovell knows it well, obviously loves it, and that shows. Second is that he uses a device that I appreciate: the mystery girl is talked about quite a bit by the narrator as he is trying to remember things she has told him and separate fact from fiction. But we never see her. We never actually hear her story for ourselves. We can never quite judge her for ourselves. He pulled that off.
The problem for me was that I found the narrator incredibly unlikeable. He is a total schmuck. His favorite words are “Focus!” – a command to himself – and “synapses”. As in, “my synapses are loose”, which is the most pretentious way I have ever heard to say that one wasn’t thinking straight. Also decidedly unlikeable, in my opinion, was the way (SPOILERS HERE) that he manipulated an emotionally handicapped acquaintance into killing a bad guy. It was a really bad guy. But still. That was disgusting.
I appreciated the descriptions of the different supporting characters, and the workings of the Public Market. But if it weren’t Seattle Souvenir thing, there would be no good reason for me to read this book.