It has been my pleasure to take part in a "virtual" or online book tour for the book, Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, a book written by Aaron Paul Lazar.
This novel set off powerful waves of memories and pure, unabased nostalgia in me, taking me back to a time when the Beatles were popular. There was even a term for it - Beatlemania. It was in full swing and John Kennedy and Martin Luther King were well-known as well. In those days, children spent summers outside, not in front of video games.TV? Four channels, at best, and one of those was a budding PBS station, another usually a local channel.
The power and importance of spending time outside is not a minor theme in this book but a major factor. I think nature is almost like another character here, multi-faceted, haunting. Those sections that described life outdoors renewed my desire to take the family camping and to enjoy simpler pleasures, those that are all around us, from a misty morning to the glare of sun on a bright patch of snow. Good timing, too, because it looks like me might be heading into a recession...but I digress.
At the heart of this book is a missing girl, the mystery surrounding her disappearance and young Gus, turning from child to man, coming of age during one memorable summer at a lakeside camp in Maine. From the first sentence in Chapter One: "We're not gonna make it" to the closing lines I felt swept into this book and wanted to know what would happen next.
I was captured by the main story, that lost girl and the three children (Gus and his friends, Sigfried and Elsbeth) who try to find out what happened to her. Along the way, mysterious guests arrive, ominous men appear and Gus has to deal with real danger as well as the inevitable turbulence of adolescence, from those first stirrings of love to the odd feelings he has about changes in his family.
One of the hardest jobs as a reviewer is trying to give a sense of the style and power of a book. In Tremolo, I'll note that several things grabbed my attention; the mystery at the heart of the book and also the strong sense of time, the details about a particular time in history. I also loved the personality of Gus as well as the way Mr. Lazar intersperses some very real events in his own life with those that are fictional. For example, there is one scene with a bat...that really did happen to Mr. Lazar when he was a boy.
In many ways, this book came about - and is a testimony - to Mr. Lazar's father. This makes it particularly special for me. It is impossible to read the Preface to this book and learn about the incredible man who was Mr. Lazar's father without feeling his spirit in many parts of the book, from an incident when that bat gets into the house,causing chaos, to sections covering racism, a first viewing of To Kill a Mockingbird and other scenes that paralleled Mr. Lazar's upbringing and childhood.
At the same time, this is not a memoir, not in the sense that every event described actually happened in "real" life. If you lived through the '60s, you won't be able to help feeling nostalgic, though. The icing on the cake is the suspense and mystery in the book, backed up by one boys' take on the whole situaton.
I urge you to visit the author's website at :
and also to visit the author interview to get a fuller look at the author's life and writing habits and suggestions. Most of all, I urge you to read this nicely crafted book and discover a promising voice whose mystery series and books are worth savoring.Tremolo: cry of the loon