Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Novel Publicity Blog Tour: Speculation


Andrew Wrangles has a decision to make. His best friend Sothum, a philosophical and financial genius, has just died and left him a choice in his will: ten million dollars or a sealed envelope.

Andrew's wife Cheryl doesn't see this as much of a choice. She wants Andrew to take the money, and what little patience she has for his speculating about what could be worth more than ten million dollars is wearing thin very quickly.

But as Andrew digs deeper into the secret life that Sothum lived, he finds more questions than answers. Does the envelope contain the fate of a vanished mutual friend? The answer to a terrible cosmic riddle? The confession to a crime? Is Sothum just playing a final private joke? Or has Andrew become a pawn in a game--a game that Sothum died playing against a bigger opponent than Andrew can imagine?

The blurb for Speculation promised a mystery with a twist. I was intrigued. What I found was a amazing look into the mind of a brilliant and troubled academic, a premise that challenged your beliefs, and author who didn't speak down to you. Speculation lived up to it's promise. 

One of Andrew Wrangles friends has disappeared and is feared dead. The other dies from an illness he didn't even know his friend had until it was too late. Andrew is left with a trip to a eccentric lawyer that holds either a multi million dollar inheritance, or an envelope that might hold the key to the mysterious life his friend led.  And maybe even the  clues to the disappearance of his other friend. What continues is a ride into the secret life of Sothum.

Speculation is in no means an easy beach read. The author challenges you and makes you take on the philosophical. The mystery unfolds slowly and masterfully through flashbacks and recollections into the main narrators life. We see that things are not always as they seem, and people hold secrets deep inside. Secrets that challenge us all.  There is not much more I can say that won't give the book away. If you are looking for a challenge to read, Speculation will not disappoint.  Here is a sneak peak at Chapter 1:

The Law Offices of X, Y, and Z
By the time Buddy Johnston vanished, his humiliation had become so abject, and so public, that I don’t suppose many people would have been shocked if he had washed up one morning on the banks of the East River with rocks in his pockets and stones in his shoes. But after more than ten years of acquaintance—or friendship, as he and I both charitably called it—I knew Buddy too well to imagine that he could have committed suicide without leaving a note. A note at the very least, and more likely a tract, a manifesto, a complaint in the classical sense and quite possibly in classical meter. He was just the sort of man who could have begun composing a suicide note and so lost himself in admiration of his own prose style and depth of feeling, become so overwhelmed by the pathos of his own situation, that he forgot entirely he had intended to do away with himself. Then he would have published the note in The New Yorker with an introductory remark explaining how writing had “literally saved my life.”
During most of those years of friendship I would have laughed at the suggestion that I would someday feel sorry for Buddy, not only because he had so much that anyone would have envied—the moneyed family, two bestsellers, those famous affairs—but more importantly because I knew deep down that he was a closer friend to Sothum than I was, and someone whom Sothum considered almost an intellectual equal. But Buddy believed that merely by virtue of his being Buddy Johnston he deserved everything he had and more, and the strength of this belief made him unusually vulnerable to the vicissitudes of real life. This belief was the keystone of his model for all order in the world, for justice and rationality, and when fortune gave that stone a few good raps—the mean-spirited coverage of his breakup with Alyssa, the terrible reviews of his second book, the mocking movie adaptation of his first—the structures of Buddy’s ego threatened to come tumbling after.
Although I might have disputed the justice of Buddy’s success, I had no immediate doubts that he would be restored to it quickly. I was sure that he had only gone to ground for a while to lick his wounds and repair the esteem in which he held himself. He lacked neither the funds to support himself meanwhile nor the network of fellow celebrities to shelter him. One of these days he would emerge from another writer’s cabin in the woods clutching a new manuscript; or from some Eastern monastery, decked out in novitiate’s robes and claiming to have seen right through the false fame and fortune to which he would so eagerly return. His big bald head would glare again in the flashbulbs, and his next book—no doubt inspired by his brief experience as a pariah—would be trumpeted as a return to form. He would resume his trips to Boston to visit Sothum one or two weekends each month, and the three of us would again have early Sunday dinners at Huanchen America’s on Beacon Street before Buddy caught the shuttle back to New York. In short, all would return to normal.
But as the months went by Buddy didn’t emerge from a cabin or return from any meditative sojourn. He didn’t wash up on the banks of the Hudson either, or the Charles, or the Ganges. He didn’t turn up anywhere, though eventually there were quite a few people looking for him. There were publishers looking to give him money and tax men looking to take it away. There were journalists looking to scoop his story and women looking to tell him off or to console him. After a while there were detectives hot for evidence of foul play. And eventually I joined the search party myself, hoping against hope to disprove my growing suspicion that Sothum had somehow been involved in Buddy’s disappearance.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Speculation? Well, there are two ways to enter...

  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Speculation tour page.

  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.

About the author:  Edmund Jorgensen was born in Chicago. He studied classical languages and has maintained a love for all things Greek and Roman. He fell in love with his wife in Mexico; they now reside, happily but considerably more chilly, in Watertown, Massachusetts. Edmund is currently hard at work on his second book, a set of interconnected short stories. Connect with Edmund on his website,  Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.
Get Speculation on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


  1. Great review, Becca, and awesome job not giving away any spoilers. Thanks for joining us on this tour, and please don't forget to cross-post to Amazon and GoodReads :-D

  2. Becca,

    Many thanks for taking the time to read Speculation and write up such a great review. I'm touched that you enjoyed the book.