Minotaur Books, 2012, 304 Pages
ISBN No. 978-0312606930
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid
Buck Schatz has been married to his wife, Rose, for 64 years. Buck can be pretty set in his ways but when Rose speaks Buck does listen. Rose insists that Buck go to the hospital to visit Jim Wallace. Jim is dying and is asking to see Buck. Buck uses the excuse that he can’t drive to the hospital but Jim’s daughter Emily Feely agrees to drive him. Jim and Buck have never been close but they did spend time together in a POW camp back in 1944.
Jim confesses to Buck that he had seen Heinrich Ziegler in France in 1946. Ziegler was not a happy memory for Buck. Zeigler was head of the POW camp and was very cruel to Buck, partly because Buck was Jewish but mostly because Ziegler was simply a very cruel individual. Buck had heard that Ziegler was dead but Jim states that not only was Ziegler alive but he had given Jim a gold bar to let Ziegler go.
Buck having fulfilled his agreement to visit Jim is more than ready to return home and daytime TV. A retired homicide detective Buck has had many dangerous adventures in the past but is now pretty much content to just stay at home, visit the Jewish Community Center on occasion, eat Rose’s cooking and smoke Lucky Strikes. Buck carries a “memory book” jotting down notes of things he needs to remember because at 87 a person can’t be expected to remember everything. Buck can’t understand why he can’t light up a Lucky in public and that is just one of the many things Buck finds unacceptable.
But it seems that Jim Wallace told more than one person about Ziegler and the fortune in gold bars that Wallace seemed to think Ziegler possessed so soon Buck is very popular because some of these people think Wallace told Buck how to get his hands on the gold bars.
It turns out that Ziegler is still alive. Buck’s grandson Tequila decides he will help out his Grandpa and find Ziegler and the gold bars. So in spite of the fact that Buck isn’t too keen on this idea the two set out to bring home the treasure. Buck’s almost forgotten detective instincts take over and soon the two have a very exciting adventure.
“Don’t Ever Get Old” is a joy to read, a wonderful story with great characters. I am sure that all of us know some elderly person that has a lot of Buck’s attitudes.