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WesternSFA
Callahan's Secret
by Spider Robinson
copyright 1986, 172 pp
So after reviewing the last two Callahan books (Callahan’s Lady and Lady Slings the Booze), I realized there was a title missing from my library due to references to something that happened at Callahan’s bar. So, thanks to the convenience of eBay, I’ve added this story.

This is a set of four stories told by Jake starting with the night he arrives at an empty, dark bar. On the roof he encounters an extraordinary woman, Mary, with whom he falls almost instantly in love. But the idyllic moments in the warm rain with an armful of warm woman weren’t his to keep. The first story is Mary’s introduction to the bar regulars, including their resident alien, Mick. Mick’s got a problem and while all of his friends at the bar thought they knew him and were helping him, it took a fresh perspective to help Mick past his crippling secret. But it cost Jake his heart.

The second story was a charmer about Pyotr, the one who was always the ‘designated driver’ but no one understood why or at what cost until one night Jake needed him to save a friend. This story also touched on the love closest to Jake’s heart and how he tried to cope with the loss of his Lady Macbeth – his beloved guitar. Oh, and there’s some real serious riddling going on, as well.

The third story is about an empathic couple who make their living cheering up people. They end up with a client they can’t help and bring the problem to the bar; where, of course, a solution was found.

And the final, coup d’grace, as it were – the last story about Mike Callahan. Callahan’s secret. Mick and Mary show up at the bar (they’re married now) with a solution to Mick’s problem – how to prevent nuclear holocaust (remember this was written during the Cold War). But in the moment when they happily relate the solution to the almost-hysterically happy crowd in the bar, Mick simultaneously realizes it’s also the earth’s doom. It takes a combined effort of herculean proportions (every single person who ever found solace at Callahan’s), to prevent the demise of all mankind. But it doesn’t save Callahan’s bar. But Jake did find his heart again. This was a great story, and the author states it’s his last Callahan story. From this end of time, we know that didn’t stick as I have several more to review. So keep checking back, I ain’t done yet. ~ Catherine Book

BONUS FOR EVERYONE WHO READ THIS FAR: When I’m done reviewing the whole series, there will be a Trivia Contest and the winner will win my whole Callahan collection. Stay tuned…

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