In Greek mythology, the impetuous son of the inventor Daedalus. After the labyrinth be built for King Minos was 'solved' by Theseus, Daedalus was forbidden to leave the island of Crete. Being a wily inventor, he created wings from feathers and wax for he and his son to escape. Although Icarus was warned not to fly too close to the sun, he became bold and careless while flying, and the wings fell apart, sending him crashing to his death in the sea below.

Inspired by Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden:

Quite cold already, as if he were cast,
The child sank through barren sky
Like an anchor.

The bobbing ship, quietly set adrift,
Abandoned its damp nets to marvel
At the fall:

What parody of sacred birth
Now plummeted towards mother earth?

The melted tumult of wax and feathers
Must have appeared divine in hue
To slackjawed sailors,

But no foamy triumph rising through sea
Nor nymph-led rescue awaited these wings
For final uplifting.

--December 2000
Icarus is a novel written by Russell Andrews (of Gideon fame). It was published in 2001, by Time Warner Books, Doubleday, and Little, Brown and Company publishing houses.

The story (no spoilers beyond what can be read on the book's sleeve)

The story is basically the story of Jack Keller. At a very young age, he sees his mother getting killed and thrown out of a window of a high-rise building. Apart from leaving him scarred for life and with a violent fear of heights, it is the beginning of a very compelling and captivating story.

Jack is raised by Dom - the person who was about to propose to his mother before she was casually disposed of through the double glazing of the skyscraper - and the connection between the two of them is strong.

Jack marries Caroline around the same time as he starts opening upper-class steak restaurants. Being quite the capitalist entrepreneur, he soon has several restaurants. He thrives until - in what appears to be a hold-up - his wife gets killed and thrown out of a window (recognize a pattern yet?), and Jack barely escapes with his life.

In deep shock, unable to walk, and having lost the will to live, Kid re-enters Jack's life, and offers to make Jack all right again. When Kid, after having firmly re-established his friendship with Jack, also plummets to his death, Jack has had quite enough, and decides to try and find out what is going on about all the deaths around him.


At 580 pages, the book is quite a read. I purchased it yesterday at 15:00. It is now 22:30. Despite being an avid reader, it only happens rarely that I read anything in such a limited period of time, so the writer must have done something right.

But what?

For one thing, the story is exciting. Without going into detail, the revelations of Kid's turbulent sexual life are colourful and thought-provoking. Combine that with the fact that Kid has some people in his past - people he has given nicknames such as "The Murderess", "The Mistake", "The Destination" and "The Mortician" - who would not at all mind seeing him dead, and you got a good old-fashioned whodunnit on your hand.

With new facts being delivered every few pages - effectively aiming the suspicion at everyone in the book, and the fast, movie-like pace, this novel truly and honestly is a good example of your proverbial page-turner.

The characters are surprisingly lifelike and quite human, despite their quirks and anomalies. Finding some character or another to identify with is not difficult, and only seems to intensify the reading experience.

Make no mistake, however - Andrews is no Agatha Christie, and the ending of the book is a bit slow. During the last 50 pages or so, while being interesting and effectively round up all the loose threads, you know who the killer is, which ruins some of the carefully built tension. Mind you, it would have worked perfectly as a film (and with Time Warner as the book's publisher, I would not at all be surprised if we see this thing as a film soon).

All in all, I think I would give the book four stars out of five. It is worth reading as a thriller / detective novel. It has certainly got a strong plot and vivid characters. By no means an intellectual experience, but still enough entertainment to make it a book worth bringing to the beach. Unlike my Thomas Pyncheon book, which seems to be left in the picnic basket.

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