Boulder author Eli Gottlieb comes to Edwards |

Boulder author Eli Gottlieb comes to Edwards

Stephen Bedford
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyBook: "Now You See Him"

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Sometimes the smallest towns hold the biggest secrets.

In no place does this hold more true than the sleepy, nondescript fictional town of Monarch, N.Y., the backdrop to Boulder-based author Eli Gottlieb’s novel “Now You See Him.” Following the bizarre death of the town’s favorite son, boring Monarch becomes a revelation for one man closely connected to the deceased.

Gottlieb will discuss his recently-released book Monday evening at 6 p.m. at The Bookworm in Edwards, providing insight on mixing classical literary themes and writing with noir-style drama, a genre-melding style that has something for everyone.

“Now You See Him” recounts the story of Rob Castor, an outsized, colorful personality in bland Monarch. Castor scores critical and commercial success with his book of short stories, morphing into a literary star seemingly over night.

As Castor embarks on his much-anticipated sophomore effort, the pressure mounts. Castor counters his bout of writer’s block by killing his ex-girlfriend in cold blood before retreating to dull ol’ Monarch to off himself.

The monotony of Monarch is destroyed forever as every form and fashion of media descends on the town with a ravenous appetite for the gory details. The once-placid town can’t be mentioned without the murder-suicide committed by one of its own. Not unlike Boulder following the JonBenet Ramsey circus, which has to be an inspiration.

Narrating the before, during, and after is Nick Framingham, Castor’s childhood friend who, understandably, is profoundly affected by the turn of events. Framingham becomes obsessed with Castor’s crime at the expense of his own marriage, children, job and parents. Sure enough, there’s a valid reason for Framingham’s obsession.

Gottlieb offers only flashes of the excitable, entertaining Castor, but excels at developing Framingham as a wimpy, driveling lout with a feverish case of hero worship for his childhood chum. This contrast serves to make Castor all the more electric, providing enough personality for both boys.

After daydreaming and sleepwalking through his days and awkward moments of intimacy with his wife, Framingham begins questioning his own childhood, which breathes new life into our namby-pamby narrator. Anything more would only wreck the soap opera that unfolds during the novel’s coda, which includes a love scene that recalls Luke and Leia’s strange smooch on the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.

“Now You See Him” arrived in bookstores in January riding a publicity wave typically surfed by the likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, and any other ‘A’ list author. Gottlieb’s breezy 262 pages have caught the eyes at The New York Times Book Review as well as Entertainment Weekly, both which offered favorable reviews.

Gottlieb also garnered the top BookSense billing for February, quite a feat considering just 11 more novels will share that marquee. BookSense is comprised of independent book stores nationwide, which can generally make or break an unknown author.

The book was optioned immediately by the production team behind the Oscar-nominated film Boys Don’t Cry.

It’s plain to see why Gottlieb has become early 2008’s “chosen one” as his offering of a well-written suspense story can be enjoyed by all. Those who like flowing, nuanced narrative will be happy, while those who like to keep the pages turning, racing toward the conclusion will be equally pleased. “Now You See Him” is the rare combination of prose and potboiler.

Stephen Bedford is the general manager of The Bookworm.

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