“It’s just my job five days a week…” Like the disoriented astronaut in Bernie Taupin and Elton John’s song “Rocket Man,” the forty-plus-year-old mortgage broker Dale Hammer finds himself disoriented in his own suddenly harsh suburban life. Hammer is a former one-hit novelist who has managed to become materialistically comfortable. But when he moves his family to a big house in the suburbs of Chicago, the pin is pulled on the grenade that may obliterate his comfortable life.
So, yet another novel about suburban angst? True, this hardly sounds like a promising premise, but author William (Bill) Hazelgrove is a skilled comedic writer making the first half of Rocket Man a quick read. While things in his life are falling apart, Hammer has a chance for redemption. He’s tapped to be the organizer of “Rocket Day” for his son’s troop of sixty Boy Scouts.
In order to succeed in his mission as the appointed Rocket Man Hammer will have to concentrate on some serious science and details while he fights with his homeowner’s association, faces criminal charges, houses his penniless father, and tries to decipher whether his wife is divorcing him or simply having an affair.
How does it end up? You will need to read this novel to find out; however, this reviewer suggests that you listen to The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again when you get to the last half of the last chapter. Once finished, you may well look forward to ordering the next serio-comic tale from Hazelgrove.
Pantonne Press, $19.95, 378 pages
Note: Thank you to Pantonne Press for the review copy.
This review was written by Joseph Arellano. Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.