Mating Season by Jon Loomis
The Provincetown Library was closed, so I betook myself across the street to the bookstore. I rummaged around and my curious fingers landed on HIGH SEASON by Jon Loomis. Next to it was its brother, MATING SEASON.
“Great books, FAB-u-lous books,” said the frilly man at the cash register. “So much fun to try to figure out where he’s writing about, here in town! We’re all waiting for the third book.”
So I bought the books. (Attention: I did not have a discount card, go Independent Bookstores!) Unexpected treasures: funny, beautifully written, sharply drawn characters, decently plotted. Loomis is a poet as well as a novelist and his prose is at its finest when he’s describing landscapes and sky, ocean and beach. But the prose doesn’t slouch anywhere. And there’s a strong, sticky sense of place, with the kind of deep saturation usually only seen in a Southern novel–except that Provincetown is not Southern. Provincetown is, well, uniquely Provincetown.
I most enjoyed Loomis’ obvious affection for the foibles and frailties of his all-too-human characters, and the charitable and amused tolerance with which the author seems to regard the human species in general. The protagonist Frank Coffin, with his eye tic and his flaccidity in the face of his girlfriend’s desire to get pregnant, his fear of death after his stint as a Baltimore cop, and his aversion to boats that flies in the face of his seafaring heritage–well, Coffin is rueful and heroic and decent without being either an anti-hero or a Captain America.
Several scenes made me laugh out loud–and I really love to laugh out loud while reading. The murder mysteries are absorbing and reflective of human vice. I recommend these books. They’re great: buy them, and enjoy.