EXPLOSIVE TIMES: A PORTRAIT OF 1960’S MANHATTAN — A REVIEW

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When P. I. Alex Novalis takes a case of a missing eighteen-year-old girl, Lydia Kravitz, he expects it will be a mundane matter. After all, he suspects she is with her artist boyfriend Jerry Pedrosian, a radical who is a rabble rouser.

The time is 1968 and the setting is Manhattan. Good Girl, Bad Girl (Alex Novalis) is narrated in the first person voice of Alex Novalis, who reveals his liberal leanings and his knowledge of the art world. However, he doesn’t seem that adept at investigating, moving along in a rambling way, reaching out for help from characters like Lydia’s friend Andrea, who appears to be playing games and withholding more than she reveals. Others are doing the same. And before the story ends, disaster and danger for all may be right around the corner.

At times, I enjoyed the conversational tone of the narrator, and how adeptly he painted the scenes of the counter-culture times, but when he described his investigation, he appeared to be “telling” a rambling tale of a somewhat lackadaisical journey. At these times, the story fell flat for me. I didn’t like any of the characters and, except for the scenes that depicted Manhattan in the sixties, there was little to engage me. Three stars.

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