Thursday, September 28, 2017

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

They were The Amazing Telemachus Family and in the 60's they were poised to make it big.  Teddy, the patriarch and Mo, the mother, met when the government was exploring the use of psychics in the Cold War against Russia.  Mo was the real deal and Teddy was the consummate con man.  They fell in love and married and the kids came along.  Irene was a human lie detector who could sense if someone was lying.  Frankie could move things with his mind while Buddy could tell the future.  But after a televised debacle, the family never made it big.

Decades later, things aren't going so well.  Mo died when the kids were still small, her talent no match for cancer.  Teddy's career as a card shark vanished when he got mixed up with a mob figure who turned on him.  Irene can't keep a job or a relationship as there is falsehood all around and she sees it every time.  Frankie hasn't moved anything with his mind in years and now doubts if he ever really did.  Buddy has never moved out, rarely speaks and spends his days building contraptions in the house and yard.  What happened?

But Teddy never gives up.  He meets Gabriella in the supermarket and falls in love.  The fact that she is married and to the son of the mobster who was his enemy is a minor setback.  Frankie has a scheme to get back the money he lost and pay off the mob he borrowed from.  Irene's son Matty seems to have inherited Mo's talent and is just now realizing he can teleport wherever he wants to go.  When the mob comes after the family for all their annoyances, can they pull together one last time to save the family?

Daryl Gregory has written an engaging tale that stretches across the decades and has the reader cheering for them to finally break out and make a difference.  The characters are convincing and the slow reveal of their love and ability to pull together makes for a charming read.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

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