The Fisher Boy: Book summary and reviews of The Fisher Boy by Stephen H. Anable

The Fisher Boy

By Stephen H. Anable

The Fisher Boy
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  • Published in USA  May 2008,
    236 pages.

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Book Summary

A debut mystery set amid the clam shacks and craft shops, art galleries and nude beaches of Cape Cod Provincetown.

Spiraling from the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown has long been a place of freedom, escape, diversity, and risk. A gay resort, an art colony, and a working fishing port, it is at once gritty and hedonistic, beautiful and complex.

Boston comic Mark Winslow arrives with his troupe of improv actors ready to break into the Provincetown club circuit. But the town and the region - seared by drought and caught in the culture war - are anything but peaceful this summer. Does the tall ship in the harbor bear an unusually large number of Scandinavian tourists? If not, who are the blond and ragged people insisting they are associated with it?

Then a public fight makes Mark the prime suspect in the grisly butchering of a Boston blueblood. Mark believes his choice is simple: find the killer or be charged with the crime.

Amid the clam shacks and craft shops, art galleries and nude beaches, undercurrents are pulling at the surface of normality, like riptides beneath seemingly calm water. Could the disappearance of a famous painter 80 years in the past - and the story of his masterpiece, The Fisher Boy - somehow lie at the center of the whirlpool of evil threatening to extinguish Mark’s life?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A profusion of diverting red herrings and a clever twist involving Mark's parentage help keep the suspense high through to the surprising conclusion." - Publishers Weekly.

"A first-rate insider's tour of Provincetown, with tender gay love scenes and B&B vignettes. But the hyper-inflated plot could have used major paring, and the first-time novelist needs to ration his similes." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Barbara
If you liked
I was glad to find the author did not fall in to the traps of stereotype that were so evident in the first half of the book. No one group of people was made out to be purely evil or righteous. I did find it interesting that the main character was self-reflective in reviewing his own attitudes and motives. The gay theme may scare some readers off, and if you hated "Running with Scissors, " be assured that this is not that. I found some of the characters a little over the top, but for the most parts they were well developed, sincere and consistent. I don't know that I would recommend the book to my Book Club, unless it is for that summer slot of July and August, when everyone just wants a "beach read," but it should make a decent Lifetime movie.

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Christy
The Fisher Boy
I hoped this book would get better as I read it, but it did not. There was too much jumping around and not enough character and/or plot development. Found myself going back to past chapters over and over to see if there was something I had missed... Also, it was too hard to believe some of the scenarios...in particular the commune that no one seems to know about but was right under everyone's noses. It was a stretch. Seems too small of a community for something like that to go unnoticed. I hope to see something else by this author, though, if he will take more time with the unfolding of the story....I liked his description of the locale...could picture it clearly as if I were there.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Sue
Good debut!
For some reason, when I read the synopsis, I envisioned sort of a "cozy" mystery. It was definitely not that. The book is populated with many intriguing characters, but the town itself is one of the main players. It was a bit draggy at first - like floating lazily downstream in a slow-moving river, then suddenly, the current picks up, and you are swept along with it. This was an interesting read and turned into a very good mystery.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Marta
Pleasant Read
The book was a pleasure to read. The transition from chapter to chapter flowed smoothly due to the interest level. The plot was wrapped up nicely at the end.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Laurie
A summer read for the Cape Cod crowd
This book delivers on portraying the myriad personalities, sites and events that make up Provincetown at the start of the season. The quirky characters of the regular summer crowd, the small towniness of the locals, and the summer siege of people who come to work, to be seen, and to watch: Provincetown’s summer blend of creative invention and downright shallowness.

I didn’t find this book to be a real mystery. But it did remind me of a good Irish folktale – many a bizarre twist and turn, each of which is more the point of the story than the conclusion.

P’town regulars will enjoy the comedy club scenes, the season opener party, the town meeting, and the goings-on of Arthur’s “treasure”. But it left me longing for a P’town novel that draws direct from the heart and soul of that wild town by the bay, which is exotic enough in its own right!

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by John
The Fisher Boy
Interesting story although a bit far-fetched. Well written, it did retain my interest. The main characters in the book are gay although there are no graphic scenes. Interesting descriptions of the Cape Cod area.

...10 more reader reviews

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Stephen H. Anable was born in Boston and graduated from Stanford and Harvard universities. His short fiction and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies. At various time during his life, he has been a standup comic, a journalist, an actor, a social worker, a scriptwriter, and the communications coordinator at a cemetery. He has two sons and lives in Massachusetts. The Fisher Boy is his debut novel.

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