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The Excluded Exile: Volume 12 (A Nick Williams Mystery) Paperback – Import, 22 Jul 2017
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So, why is it that Frank Butterfield’s books appeal to me so much? The very idea of book twelve in a series is absurd…but this, to me, has become like a television show that I just can’t miss. Butterfield’s fertile mind keeps churning, and his attention to detail just gets better. That’s how this long storyline works…and indeed we’ve only covered two years of real time in a dozen books.
This time we’re in Australia, having accomplished the adventure in Asia (or, the Orient as it used to be called). Nick and Carter and their merry men seem to be one step ahead of the law, complicated by a mysterious shadow who, in his defense of Nick’s honor, isn’t afraid to start a body count. Our boys escape to Australia in order to have a few days of respite from the constant battle to bring truth and justice to the people about whom they care. All they want is a little vacation.
I confess, for the first third of “The Excluded Exile” was wasn’t quite sure what the point was, other than rather shockingly reminding us that good old Aussies were, in the 1950s, among the most homophobic people in the English-speaking world. Good grief. Even Nick Williams’ notorious millions don’t get him the kind of treatment a rich man should expect. In a world convinced that homosexuality is a chosen misbehavior, the righteous hypocrite holds a stacked deck.
At last we have a murder, although it made me a little sad. Then there was another murder, which was puzzling. So what started out seeming like an aimless travelogue about Australia ended up just as messy and complicated as the previous books in the series; and poor Nick and Carter hardly get any rest at all. Instead they end up rescuing various gay men in distress and dodging homophobic schmucks in the pursuit of justice.
I’ve been holding onto my Batman simile since I started reading this book—you know, millionaire Bruce Wayne and all; but I’ve decided there’s a Spiderman aspect to this as well. The law doesn’t really like Nick Williams (except those few liberal cops who see Nick for who he truly is). The law sees Nick and Carter as problems to be swept away. Only Nick and Carter’s money keeps them from catastrophe again and again. Perhaps it’s that comic-book fantasy that keeps me hooked. Butterfield gives me a nostalgia for the past that the past doesn’t deserve.
On to book #13!