Book Review: Fletch Reflected by Gregory Mcdonald

Fletch Reflected by Gregory Mcdonald (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Fletch Reflected Book Cover Fletch Reflected
Fletch #11 (in the stories' chronological order: #11); Son of Fletch #2
Gregory Mcdonald
Fiction; Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
1994; e-book: April 11, 2006
Kindle e-book
226

Receiving word from an old flame who has recently become engaged to a billionaire inventor's son, Fletch and his newfound son, Jack, learn that a member of the billionaire's household staff may be targeting her future father-in-law for murder.

Character

Oddly, even after two books with Jack as a character, there isn’t very much differentiation between he and a young Fletch. I do feel like he’s a bit more reserved and not quite as ascerbic in his humor, but there’s just something missing to make him a completely differentiated character. I had missed Crystal, so it was nice to have her back, but she didn’t seem to have the same sort of spark or confidence, which I missed from her earlier appearance in Fletch’s Fortune. Fletch himself seems to have slowed down a bit, but he also wasn’t taking the lead in this either. I don’t think there was a single adverse reference to Irwin Maurice by Fletch in the entire text, yet there was one neutral to positive mention of it by Fletch, followed by a questioning disparagement of it by Jack.

I did like the Mortimer character and his long time hatred for Fletch, though some of the dialogue read/played more comedic than as a more appropriate brewing hatred. There is some scant background about Mortimer’s character and past with Fletch, but it could potentially play out as another entire Fletch backstory in itself. Without a really well motivated plot, I’m not sure I’d want to read that prequel though.

Plot

There is only the slightest of pauses between this book and the prior Son of Fletch. Except for the denouement of action in the prior book, this one simply picks up with what’s happening on the following day. Unlike most in the Fletch series where the plot gets off like a shot on page one or page two, the motivation for the major plot of the book doesn’t drop until about a fifth of the way in. Also different from most in the series, this book has a primary plot which follows Jack while there’s a secondary plot following Fletch and Crystal. I presume that Mcdonald meant for the two books about Jack to be a spin-off of sorts and so maybe he was changing the model a bit?

While I appreciated the close out of what Fletch did to help Crystal after the last installment and the Mortimer character did provide some entertainment, I could have done without the B plot here. I’d have preferred more action with Jack and maybe even Fletch on the “compound”. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the compounds of the last book and this book in terms of their functions and socioeconomic statuses within the two works.

The ultimate murder of Radleigh was unfulfilling though Fletch did get a few nice rejoinders as a result. The ending nearly mimiced the all-too-quick wind down of Son of Fletch and was generally underwhelming for me. I suspect the general problem with the piece overall, was that Jack didn’t really have to work too hard at hiding himself and wasn’t directly in danger at all during the entire piece which left some of the suspense out. Leaving all of the suspense on Radleigh’s shoulders just didn’t do enough for me.

Summary

While relatively entertaining, this is one of the least interesting and motivated stories in the Fletch canon. I’d rank it toward the bottom of the pantheon, though it was at least more fun to read than Fletch Too, which was just painful.

Reading Progress
  • 08/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
  • 12/04/16 started reading
  • 12/06/16 11.0% done
  • 12/07/16 12.0% done
  • 12/09/16 14.0% done
  • 12/18/16 22.0% done
  • 12/19/16 49.0% done; “This one immediately follows Son of Fletch, literally by few hours. It didn’t start out with the same type of bang that most of the Fletch series has, instead it was about 20% into the story before we knew quite what ride we were on. Now that’s it’s going, it’s as interesting as most Fletch tales.”
  • 12/20/16 78.0% done
  • 12/22/16 100.0% done; “I think this was the first (and only) in the Fletch series with an A and a B plot going on simultaneously. There wasn’t as much mystery or whodunnit as past books despite the number of suspects in something like Fletch’s Fortune. The ending was relatively interesting and certainly unexpected. I wouldn’t say it was very satisfying. I’d rank this one toward the bottom of the series overall.”

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

“I know your name is Jack Faoni. The weekend we spent together you had me call you Fletch.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 25-25

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 1:02:47 AM

“We didn’t do all that much talking, as I remember. We went at each other like bear cubs.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 62-63

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 1:04:53 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 68
Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 1:14:22 AM

“Chester Radliegh. He invented the perfect mirror.”
“Oh, yeah. The guy who straightened out our left from our right, right from left when we look at ourselves in a mirror.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 74-76

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:34:12 PM

“Boxers appreciate his mirror, too.”
“They do?”
“They don’t get blindsided so much these days. Haven’t you noticed?”
“Guess I haven’t.”
“More fights go the whole ten, fifteen rounds now.”
“Is that good?”
“Think of the philosophical, psychological, to say nothing of poetic ramifications of the perfect mirror. I mean, for centuries we were seeing ourselves wrong, weren’t we? Not as others saw us, as they say.”
“Do we ever, anyway?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 79-87

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:35:06 PM

“Oh. You called to invite me to your wedding? I’ll send a present. Shreds of my flannel shirt, as a keepsake, or a dust-cloth, whichever you need the more.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 93-94

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:35:57 PM

“This place is so big, there are so many people wandering around, you wouldn’t even be noticed.”
“Yeah, I do a pretty good imitation of a potted palm.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 112-114

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:37:09 PM

“…Sounds homey enough. Does it come complete with pricks?”
“Homey enough if your last name is Windsor.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 156-158

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:40:22 PM

“What did you say your relationship is with Mister Fletcher?”
“Relationship?” Jack would be damned before he would state his “relationship” with the member of the Board of Directors of Global Cable News, Consulting/Contributing Editor Irwin Maurice Fletcher.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 219-221

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:45:18 PM

“Things are tight here now, Jack. There’s so much competition in this business. We have difficulty, you see, in persuading all American businesses they should spend as much as eighty percent of their gross income on advertising. A few still resist the idea.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 262-264

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:48:01 PM

wallahs

Highlight (orange) – Location 280-280
He really does love this word.

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:49:18 PM

“I know what I’ve heard. One never knows what’s true.”
“One doesn’t?” Jack’s mouth was dry. “Isn’t that what this business is about?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 283-285

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:49:42 PM

“As a journalist, never be the rooster who believes it is only his crowing which brings up the sun.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 323-324

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:52:32 PM

“But gee, Dad, it really crimps the vanity, you know? I coulda been a see-leb-pretty.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 356-356

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:54:36 PM

“What are you going to do now that GCN has given you your walking papers?”
“Visit an old girlfriend in Georgia.”
“How close an old girlfriend?”
“She’s getting married. To someone else.”
“The best kind.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 377-380

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:56:07 PM

“Why? Doesn’t sound like there’s a story there.”
“Does there always have to be a story?”
“You’ve got to keep yourself in Pepsi and pizza, boy.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 387-390

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:56:42 PM

“‘To collect characters for the long ride,’” Jack quoted.
“Isn’t that what I’m supposed to say at this point?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 396-397

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 1:59:01 AM

“How is Carrie?”
“Didn’t I just say? She’s crazy. She likes you. She loves me.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 407-409

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:00:27 AM

“Just wanted you to know where I’ll be,” Jack said. “Tell my mother, please.”
“Sure,” Fletch said, turning the van left at the intersection. “Call if you find work.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 409-411

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:00:33 AM

“Blair didn’t give you a job?”
“He gave me what he called ‘fatherly advice,’ to wit: get lost.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 421-422

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:01:42 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 426
Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:03:09 AM

She was an enormous mound of mostly useless flesh in an outsized nightgown and bathrobe.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 430-430

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:44:38 AM

“What did he say to you?” Fletch smiled.
“He told me to be careful not to let you fall on me again.”
After looking at Fletch a moment from the bed, Crystal laughed. “This time, I’d crush you to death.”
“Flatter than a manhole cover.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 446-449

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:46:01 AM

“You’re back like the second half of a hurricane on a seaside resort!”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 461-461

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:46:53 AM

coaxial sword

Highlight (yellow) – Location 474-474
Great description of a cable news network!

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:48:21 AM

“…One thing I absolutely will not do for you is serve as your pallbearer. We’ll have to plant you with a crane.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 493-494

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:50:00 AM

“I have done something about it.”
“What have you done? Send out for Chinese?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 495-496

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:50:23 AM

“Crystal, the public cannot afford you. Not you and schools and the police and fire departments, too.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 502-503

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 12:59:19 AM

“Mortimer.”
“Hi, Mister Mortimer. This is Fletch.”
“Who?”
“I. M. Fletcher.”
“Oh, no.”
“Did I call you at a bad time?”
“Yeah. I am not dead yet.”
“How have you been otherwise?” Fletch was using the phone in the handicap van. He had not left the front driveway of Blythe Spirit.
“Well enough to hang up on you.”
“Oh, don’t do that.”
“Why not?”
“I might have something interesting to say.”
“You always do. That’s why I’m hanging up. I’m too old to be interested in anything you have to say.”
“Come on, now.”
“Last time I listened to you is how I got so old.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 513-525

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 1:00:24 AM

“…I’d rather be in jail. I would have known what I was doing in jail. What am I doing in Wyoming? There would have been more people I know in jail. We would have had a lot to talk about. I don’t know anybody in Wyoming. All the people here talk about is something they call beef cattle and the twelve deadly sins.”
“Seven.”
“Seven what?”
“I think it’s considered there are only seven deadly sins.”
“In Wyoming, they got twelve.”
“It is a big state.” “I can’t figure out whether Wyoming is big or just empty.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 532-539

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 1:02:33 AM

“… Tell them all about my great life spent watching the mountains in Wyoming not move.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 545-545

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 1:04:14 AM

“Beef cattle. Two legged beef cattle. That’s all they have out here: beef cattle. Four legged beef cattle, two legged beef cattle.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 550-551

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:08:33 PM

“… The other one, the sixteen year old, Ricky, actually thinks his muscles are pretty, if you’d believe it.”
“Doesn’t every sixteen year old?”
“The only opponent that interests him is in the mirror. And he likes him too much to get close. Even though they’re both wearing deodorant. Can you believe that? Ever hear of a boxer who insists on wearing underarm in the ring?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 559-563

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:09:35 PM

Crystal asked, “Where are you taking me?”
“Wyoming.” There was a long pause. “Fletch? Is that you, Fletch?”
“You were expecting Charon maybe?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 591-594

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:11:37 PM

“You can see out the windows. Nice scenery?”
“Yeah. The back of billboards.”
“All the fronts say is KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 615-617

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:12:58 PM

“I see. And you’re not much on farm laboring, I expect. It’s dry work, all right. I escaped a farm when I was a kid.” The man slapped the side of his stomach. “I wanted to wear a white shirt and have a gut.” He laughed. “See? I’m a success!”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 653-655

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:15:52 PM

“Is this The Magic Kingdom?” Jack asked the blue-and-white uniformed guard.
“You almost got it right,” the guard said. “You got a pass?”
“Yeah.” Jack handed the guard his laminated pass. “Winnie the Pooh dropped his.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 704-707

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:19:22 PM

He had entered the sort of world God might have created if He had money, to use an old wheeze.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 718-719

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:20:27 PM

“You count that as three possible attempts on his life.”
“There was a fourth, this morning.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 800-802
We’ve finally come to the motivating plot about 20% of the way into the book. usually it’s on page 2 if not before.

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:31:07 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 883
Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:11:19 AM

“Is modern man ever more relaxed than when whizzing along a highway at the speed of a hurricane?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 890-891

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:12:00 AM

“Chester Radliegh lives in Georgia.”
“Ah, the state that originally banned lawyers. And slavery. First came the lawyers. Then slavery. Things haven’t changed much since.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 899-900

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:12:41 AM

“His family always had been in either the ministry or banking.”
“There’s a difference?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 912-913

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:13:52 AM

Thanks for your work, my good man. I’ll practice ’Git Along Little Dogies’ so I can sing it for you next time. In the key of Lee Marvin.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1000-1001

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:20:07 AM

“Radliegh,” Crystal said after the van had gone another ten miles. “First he creates the perfect mirror, then he tries to create the perfect image. The first was scientifically possible—”
“And the second,” Fletch said, “is a goose’s chase.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1008-1010

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:20:35 AM

“Plants; weeds,” she continued muttering at the soil: “Just like children.” She pinched a dead leaf off an azalea. “Nurture some plants beautifully, give them everything they want and need, and some of them just curl up ugly. Beat some weeds to death and they just keep popping up, growing, proliferating. If we had genuine respect for character, we’d cultivate weeds and send the plants to mulch.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1016-1019

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:21:38 AM

“I don’t even want to go to heaven,” Mrs. Houston said as she dug her fingers into the soil, “unless they have some work for me to do there.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1041-1042

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:23:11 AM

“For sure, you’re the sickest thing I ever saw in a health store.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1364-1365

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:53:29 AM

While they talked, Fletch picked up all the wastepaper from their store-bought dinner and placed it in a nearby rubbish bin. Whether the American people realize it or not, Fletch thought, we are eating our trees.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1765-1766

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 1:00:39 PM

I swanee down the back.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1951-1951
What does swanee mean here? I’ve never heard this as a verb. A river yes, but never a verb.

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 1:28:23 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 1959
Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 1:28:58 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2141
Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:09:55 PM

“… Most people, I figure, never do anything unusual, they just go along with whatever it is, mediocrity, corruption, because they can’t stand the idea of being unique, alone, isolated.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2284-2285

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:28:33 PM

“There are gay members of Congress now.”
“Not from Georgia. Not at this time, there aren’t,” Shana said. “Sodomy laws have been removed from the books so recently here you can still see the dust from the eraser.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2403-2405

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:37:16 PM

“What happens to a black hole when it disappears?” Radliegh smiled. “You mean, what happens to the information within?”
“I don’t know what I mean.”
“It would be fun if it elongated into a line so narrow that its cut length would be a speck so small it might be invisible.”
“Why would that be fun?” Jack asked.
“Because it might help define the indefinite we’re prone to think of as the infinite.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2656-2661

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:26:20 PM

“Your grandmother, the defective novelist,” Fletch said.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2711-2711

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:30:28 PM

“So pleased to meet you, Doctor Fletcher.”
“No doctor at all,” Fletch said. “Not even a patient. Call me Irwin.”
“Irwin?” Jack muttered. “Since when Irwin?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2718-2721

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:30:58 PM

Enjoying the flora and fauna of the garden paths, Fletch said, “Gridlock in paradise. Could it be otherwise? I’ve always suspected Adam and Eve sinned out of pure boredom.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2764-2765

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:34:00 PM

“You must not spend all night every night reading. Man does not live by literature alone. You need sleep.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2858-2859

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:40:12 PM

Mortimer answered the phone. “Hello? Oh, my God, it’s that Fletcher bird. I thought we got rid of you, Fletcher. Please at least tell me you’ve left the state of Wyoming?”
“I’ve left the state,” Fletch said.
“That’s the best thing I’ve heard about Wyoming since I’ve been here—you’ve left.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2862-2865

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:40:47 PM

“I seem to remember you on the ground, on your back.”
“I tripped.”
“That’s what Schmeling said.”
“What happened to gratitude?”
“It came in last in the last race at Hialeah. Hasn’t been heard from since.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2882-2886

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:42:06 PM

“… She’s waiting for a mare to drop her filly.”
“Why would a Mayor drop cream cheese?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2923-2924

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:44:18 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 3117
Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:48:37 AM

Fletch said, “I killed Chester Radliegh.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3130-3130

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:49:30 AM

“Tell me the one about why the turtle crossed the road.”
“To get to the Shell station.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3130-3132

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:49:46 AM

“… An obdurate man, no matter how brilliant, is an idiot.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3138-3138

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:50:19 AM

“Doctor Radliegh died after dinner.”
“How? Did someone kill him?”
“Yeah. I did.”
“How did you do that?”
“Just by talking to him.”
“Mister Mortimer said no one should ever listen to you.”
“He’s right, I guess.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3232-3237

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:57:55 AM

Fletch yawned again. “Thanks died at Hialeah, or something.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3244-3245

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:58:51 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 3270
Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:35:25 PM

“He spoiled it. He killed it with care.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3305-3305

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:37:45 PM

oriole

Highlight (orange) – Location 3321-3321
I suspect he meant oriel: “A bay window in an upper story, supported from below by projecting corbels, or brackets of stone or wood.” This typo appears twice in the text.

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:38:39 PM

He asked his father, “This guy any good?”
Fletch said, “If he were any stupider he’d need a bar code.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3349-3350

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:40:35 PM

“Homey,” Fletch commented. “Makes me want to ask when my flight to Tulsa leaves.”
“Do airlines still give out that kind of information?” Jack asked.
“Not voluntarily,” Fletch answered. “Or reliably.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3362-3365

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:41:34 PM

I couldn’t sell a ticket to a nun

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3568-3568

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:54:40 PM

At that moment, Fletch did not expect to be listening to a sixteen-year-old boxer in Montana recite poetry to him by long-distance telephone.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3579-3580

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:55:34 PM

“Oh, no.” Jack put the car in gear.
“I work for the truth.” Slowly he drove the little car around the groups of people in the semicircular driveway.
“Humph,” Fletch said. “Good line.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3877-3879

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 5:38:03 PM

“Where did you get an airplane like that?” Slowly, Jack drove Fletch toward the airplane. “The Smithsonian? Don’t they miss it?”
“I bought it from a friend. He needed the money.”
“And you learned to fly it?”
“Not really. I use a road map and stay out of traffic.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3927-3931

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 5:42:16 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 3950 – Finished!
Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 5:45:35 PM

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

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Author: Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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