The Fall
David Fulmer
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Buy *The Fall* by David Fulmer online

The Fall
David Fulmer
Five Stones Press
272 pages
March 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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After 9/11, the world changed, especially for Americans. In New York City in 2002, the crisis still hovers as New Yorkers do their best to move on, to continue their lives. This is true for Richard Zale (Richie Zaleski), an actor most famous for his work in commercials. Caught up in the nostalgia of a youth defined by its music, when Zale learns of yet another commercial sellout to a corporation - this time of a classic Beatles’ tune - his first response is to share his outrage with a childhood friend.

On impulse, he phones Angela Sesto, the sister of his former best friend, Joey, only to learn that Joey has died in a fall. Assailed by regrets, Richard returns for a short visit to Wyanossing, PA, where his attempt to put the past to rest turns into a mystery fueled by inconsistencies and the strong pull of adolescent memories. With his wife, Isabel, and daughters waiting at home, Richie steps into the past and grapples with the present, including potent memories of his romance with Angela. Perhaps he is motivated by guilt in letting the friendship with Joey fall away; whatever the reason, the longer he stays, the more troubling Joey’s death becomes.

In Wyanossing, small-town values are strong, the same values learned as youths settled in the faces of those who stayed behind, married and became successful. Slipping between memories and the reality of Joey’s place in this town, Zale learns that his friend was disliked by many, a thorn in the side of corporate community leaders. Refusing to leave until he has made sense of Sesto’s death, Fulmer’s protagonist is quickly trapped in the past, his attraction to Angela rekindled as he stubbornly digs through Joey’s activities shortly before his accident.

Pursued by an attractive young waitress who wants a career in New York and sees Richie as a means of accomplishing her goal, Zale struggles to keep his perspective, but the easy days of youth and memory are clouded by the Joey’s demise and an increasing sense of something terribly wrong in Wyanossing: “Something unkind was hiding in this quiet town.” Not only can’t you go home again - Zale learns that it may be impossible, his investigation ending in a deadly reckoning that rips away any façade of normalcy he may have fooled himself into believing. Faced with his own mortality and some ugly truths, everything falls into place in Fulmer’s tale of friendship turned deadly.

Fans of Fulmer are familiar with his penchant for musical themes, whether the jass of Storyville or the rhythm and blues of Philly in the ‘50s. It is no surprise then, when a Beatles song gives birth to this mystery, a link to the past that resonates with a generation that has indeed defined itself by its music. Sadly for this protagonist, the song two friends loved instead becomes an elegy for a friendship gone fallow and the cruelties of a town harboring modern-day criminal activities.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2010

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