Boon Juster or The Reason for Everything
Was the moon landing a hoax? Eli “Boon” Juster was the last man to walk on the moon, and while there, he hit that iconic baseball into the moon’s orbit. Since he got back, he’s made his fortune on Wall Street with that ubiquitous catch-phrase, “If we can send a man to the moon, we can get this country going again.” With Boon recently deceased, Tom, his old friend and prep-school baseball teammate, learns that he’s the executor to Boon’s estate. In making arrangements to sell Boon’s estate, including his multi-million dollar exclusive Manhattan apartment, Tom discovers that Boon may have been working on his “memoirs” in a secret hidden room at the other end of the apartment. Actually, it may be that “confessional” is a better word for it.
Mr. Bozeman “The Bossman” McBride, the zillionaire tycoon, and Boon’s upstairs neighbor, wants the confessional suppressed and is intent on encouraging Tom to cover up the story. Unfortunately, Tom’s soon-to-be-ex-wife happens to be an investigative journalist, and she is intent on breaking the story wide open. Unfortunately, it seems that some mysterious governmental third party might have beaten them both to it.
Set in present day Manhattan, and liberally littered with online images from NASA’s space program, the story takes place over just four days. Hallberg’s novel features a rich cast of characters that seem mined right out of a Carl Hiaasen novel, with situations so mordantly comic that they might have been freshly rejected from a Tom Robbins story. At times funny, Boon Juster or the Reason for Everything is really a social satire on love and lies, marriage, and high school baseball, and, of course, government conspiracies. While this is a large and ambitious novel (would we expect less from a book proclaiming to give the reason for everything?), the pacing is fast, the characters are likable, and the mystery is just delicious enough to keep you turning the page.
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