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Larry Spencer
The Tipping Point of Oliver Bass
At seventeen Oliver Bass finds himself still haunted by his mother's abandonment and horrific suicide, the loneliness he felt since age five, and the emotional void that came from an absent father. The real drama is whether he can come to grips and separate fact from fiction in order to keep his own sanity intact, when a perfect stranger, who has a penchant for mystery and homicide, suggests his motyher was actually a victim of foul play.
Spencer’s heartfelt noir opens with a moving description of the suicide of the narrator’s mother. When Oliver Bass was five years old, Annie Bass, a depressed alcoholic, jumped off San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Her body was never recovered, and, unsurprisingly, 12 years later, her death still haunts her son. Oliver blames his father, Jeffrey, for the tragedy, which makes living with his father and Lorraine, Jeffrey’s third or fourth wife (Oliver has trouble keeping track), an ordeal. Despite the teenager’s brilliance, he was expelled from school after calling his teachers “fascist right-wing hypocrites.” His situation worsens after his father and Lorraine send him to Venice, Calif., to live for the summer with Vance Briggs, an investigative reporter and a former patient of his therapist stepmother. Vance stuns his guest by revealing that he intends for Oliver to help him solve the murder of his wife, Kate, despite the official verdict that Kate’s death was a suicide. Spencer keeps the twists coming in the service of the relentlessly downbeat plot. (BookLife)