PALISADES PARK by Alan Brennert
Brennert writes generation spanning novels that are well researched and well written with engaging characters, vivid place descriptions and enticing plots. In Palisades Park he does not disappoint. Although Palisades Amusement Park itself is the main character, Eddie Stopka the main human character, his children and his friends are by no means shorted in either characterization or plotting.
Brennert’s people react the way ordinary folks would in similar circumstances. His plot twists are reasonable but not mundane, exciting but not overwhelming. These are people you know and care about. Their story is arresting and satisfying and you are sorry when the book ends.
One of the things Brennert excels in is incorporating “real” people, places and events into his story line. Even if you are knowledgeable about the actual historical events they are so seamlessly incorporated you find yourself wondering only why you “didn’t remember” the fictional parts. Perhaps because I am from Chicago, I especially appreciated the inclusion of crime and mob influences. He handles racism with sensitivity and realistic drama. World War II and the Korean War are touched on in ways that will resonate with those affected by today’s military incursions. Divorce, women’s roles, faith, bullying, dysfunctional families, immigration and business practices are all timely and timeless topics well covered.
And, if you haven’t yet read MOLOKAII and HONOLULU his two previous best sellers – well, you should!