Moving day by Jonathan Stone


When reading a book, do you imagine which actor would be playing the main character? I don't do that often, only where the book lends itself for it. Cinematic would be a great adjective to describe a thriller. But, mostly sometimes it happens to me, when the story, the premise of the book is  great one, the conflict clear, the motivation there, the action implied but the writing just can manage to pull it all off. So Alan Arkin, he would be perfect to play Stanley Peke, a 72 year old self made man ready for the next stage in his life. Alan Arkin channeling Eastwood, and that sounds exiting doesn't it? Can't wait for that one!
Alan Arkin Argo meme

The premise is of Moving day is original, and in real life, much too common. Criminals preying on the elderly. Nick Pelletiere and his crew have a whole scheme going on.  They are informed when well-to-do senior citizens are about to move. They show up, one day earlier, all in uniform, moving truck at the curb, and convince the confused owner that they wrote the date of the move down wrong. They take every last thing, so not to rise suspicion, even the precious photos, and when the real movers arrive the next day, Nick and his men are on their way to Montana, where a group of Neo Nazi's and a pair of attack dogs are the obstacles to get access to their enormous warehouse, their own cave (waiting for this tale's Ali Baba.)

It had to go wrong. You read about these old folks that fight back attackers. Well Peke, born Stanislaw Shmuel Pecoskowitz  is a piece of work. During the WWII his Jewish parents saved him, by sending him into the woods. He lived as a wolf boy, wild on the streets, and made it to America after the war, and the death of his family. Something that obviously still plagues him to this day. The movers , with their uniforms and decisive way of doing things, remind him of the Nazi's he used to hide from. Then he was a kid, now he is still strong, and smart and that tenacity makes him go after the thief to get his stuff back.

Peke and Nick are described as being quite similar. Cold, resolved, strong survivors. The story delves  in their inner lives, in a mechanical, sometimes quite jarring way. Full of metaphors, and psychological flourishes, but brought in a precise, straightforward prose. Other books, with the same revenge themes, that describe the cold souls of damaged men and women often are told with spare prose, a style that works wonders. A more lyrical style is often paired with characters that are emotional, creative, empathic. It's difficult to say what to say about the style of Moving Day, it is unusual, and took me out of the suspense of the story. It could work for other readers, I found it unnecessary.

Revenge is a strong emotion. Peke has every reason to go after it, and the revenge of a Holocaust survivor has a deep and satisfying justice to it. Peke is a compelling character. While reading Moving Day I wished he was given free reign, instead of being cocooned by the verbosity of his creator.