A Song for Leonard

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
368 Pages
Reviewed on 04/19/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A.I. Fabler is the pen name of a New Zealand-born author who has spent a large part
of his working life in London, New York and Sydney, initially in journalism and
advertising, holding senior international corporate roles before turning to writing
full time. His political satire, “Agenda 2060: The Future as It Happens” was
published in 2021, described by Kirkus Reviews as ‘A laser-focused, irresistible
lampoon of woke culture’ through the eyes of Artificial Intelligence.
It was the winner of the 2022 Indie Reader Discovery Award for Popular Fiction.
His mystery thriller “The Seed of Corruption”, set in Vietnam
during the 2004 Sars epidemic, digs deep into Big Pharma and state corruption 15
years before Covid-19, and was published in 2022. He is the recipient of a number of
screenwriting awards, including the NY Empire Award for Drama in 2017, and the
2017 Cannes Drama Award.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

A Song for Leonard is a work of fiction in the murder mystery subgenre. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by author A. I. Fabler. The story revolves around the death of singer Suzanne Finch who was killed whilst attempting to mug Charles Bateman. Eighteen years after the death, Bateman stands accused of her murder and must rely on the songs she wrote to create a defense. As we dive into the work of Suzanne Finch, a picture begins to form of the events that lead to her death. But when the trial begins to reveal police corruption, Bateman’s life is endangered by his proximity to the truth.

This was a completely refreshing take on the murder mystery genre. Putting the alleged perpetrator of the crime into the position of investigating the life of the victim to prove their innocence allowed for a sense of powerful drama as Charles Bateman’s efforts to clear his name only drag him deeper into the strange and mysterious life of Suzanne Finch. Author A. I. Fabler masterfully creates a well-realized protagonist in Charles but also in Suzanne who becomes more and more fleshed out as Charles learns about her throughout his investigation. At the core of this mystery is a character study of a young woman with hopes and aspirations who found difficulty being accepted by the world around her. Learning about Suzanne alongside Charles deftly weaves the two stories together into a powerful narrative that makes A Song for Leonard an unmissable read.

Keith Mbuya

Charles Bateman had left New York in the late 1970s, vowing never to return to the city. This was after he had been involved in a mugging incident that had culminated in the demise of the woman who was trying to mug him. Close to two decades later, Charles is back in New York as a guest professor at NYU. However, he is surprised to discover that the local authorities never concluded their investigations and that he is still a suspect in the case. To clear his name, he has to appear before a jury. This demands that he recalls everything exactly the way it happened on that fateful night. Does Charles remember anything about the incident? By chance, Charles stumbles on the deceased woman’s belongings. Will they help him in his case? He hires a cleaner during his short stay in New York but later finds out that the cleaner had been keeping a big secret from him. Find out more in A.I. Fabler’s A Song for Leonard.

Hinging the narration on a tale of drugs, marriage, affairs, city life, music, murder, family, and religion, A.I. Fabler forges an enthralling plot that kept me on edge, flipping through page after page. Fabler builds the narration effortlessly, digging through the present and the past, giving the storyline a good flow. He develops the cast wonderfully, bringing out their various characteristics. I found Charles’s passive and nonchalant way of engaging with the people around him to be quite irritating - a trait that greatly affected his past and shaped his future. While Elody reflected Charles’s uncaring personality, it was interesting that, in turn, Charles found Elody’s character irritating. The scenes were impressively vivid, as Fabler captures the nuances of the settings with great detail, highlighting the different cultures and moods. This made me feel as if I was right next to the cast in every scene. There is drama, adventure, suspense, wit, secrets, and so much more in A Song for Leonard.

Alma Boucher

In A Song for Leonard by A. I. Faber, Charles Bateman returns to New York eighteen years after an event that rocked his world. Suzanne Finch tried to mug him, and she was killed during the struggle. Charles must come to terms with his past before moving forward to the future. Upon his arrival, his passport is confiscated due to an outstanding warrant against him. Charles stands accused of Suzanne’s death. Charles digs deeper into Suzanne's past and realizes that the lyrics of her songs mirror elements surrounding her death. Charles finds out more about Suzanne's circumstances and her emotions. He feels that Suzanne was abandoned and did not get the necessary support for her addiction. During his investigation into Suzanne’s past, he uncovers irregularities in the Police Department.

The events described in A Song for Leonard by A. I. Faber took place in 1978 and 1996. The gap of almost eighteen years could easily be overlooked by the way that the two years were intertwined. Each chapter was dedicated to one of the two years. It was easy to read and follow. The story was a page-turner and full of suspense. I could not wait to find out more about Suzanne. She was a woman with dreams of her own and not just an addict. The characters' personalities are excellently described and were authentic and relatable. The language and social viewpoints enhanced the characters. The story is well-researched and superbly written. The surroundings were described in detail so that I could feel the difference in New York life between 1978 and 1996.