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Steve Gannon chose a powerful subject for his first novel - the effect of a dominant father on his family - and showed his considerable skills as an author. It is a testing read with emotional and physical child abuse, strong language and rape, but with an underlying theme of family love and togetherness. It is definitely an adult novel.
I found this book after seeing the sequel - Kane - promoted as a freebie. As soon as I started that book I knew that I had to read this book first to understand what had happened to Kane in Song for the Asking.
Dan Kane is a homicide detective in the LAPD who is rough, tough, and mostly successful. He brings his street strength philosophy home to his family of 4 great kids, and his wife (a classical chellist) whose lives he tries to run like a Marines' boot camp. While they all basically love him, they live in constant fear of his ridicule and power over them and consider themselves part of a "screwed-up family".
As in most families the siblings have different personalities. Tommy, the eldest has the athletic and physical skills of his father; his younger brother Travis has the artistic skills and sensitivity of mother and is potentially a prize-winning classical pianist. Ali, the only daughter is also artistic and in her early teens has already had a short-story published. The youngest brother, Nate, is overwhelmed and dominated by his father.
Kane tries to mould them into his ways, hurting all of them in the process but cementing them together in a way that he will probably never understand. Despite all this pressure they become a close family who believe "Kane's stand together, no matter what".
While part of this book is a police procedural about Kane's life in the LAPD this is really only background to Kane's personality and how it impacts on his family. The key element is the way his family handles stress and tragedies, and, when faced with the ultimate test, whether the family (and more importantly Kane himself) have the ability to cope and adjust.
The book has a couple of memorable lines that I have indexed because they are meaningful to me and show the word skills and sensitivities of the author and his devotion to classical music (his wife is a classical pianist and he promotes classical music locally).
"When you read, there are no limits; with a book you can bring vistas and textures and emotions to life that have a meaning to you and you alone" AND "Although music can be many things, in its truest incarnation, at its deepest core, music is the power to command emotion."
I gave this 5 stars because of these great lines and a fine and emotional performance by Steve Gannon in a first novel. The other books in the Kane series are also highly recommended (check them out via the author list).