Tuesday, January 24, 2012

‘Trueman Bradley’ advocates, entertains

Cover art: “Trueman Bradley: Aspie Detective” by Alexei Maxim Russell (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) 

In my desire to curate a definitive collection of books for people on the autism spectrum, I enjoy learning of and reading new titles.

Among the books I recommend is a growing list of fiction in which the main character has Asperger’s syndrome. Because they focus upon the experiences of one or few primary characters, I think they best illustrate what I and others say who are on the spectrum: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

“Trueman Bradley: Aspie Detective” combines detective fiction and fantasy to advocate for the abilities of people on the autism spectrum. It’s a welcome addition to my recommended stories that feature an Aspergian protagonist.

I enjoyed this book, which is written by Alexei Maxim Russell and is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. It presents characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome as assets in a professional career. It uses dramatization to illustrate prejudice and misconceptions about people who are on the spectrum.

The protagonist, Trueman Bradley, has come to New York City in order to be a detective. He models himself after a detective he has read about in comic books.

I enjoyed the characterization of Bradley, especially the way he exhibits traits reminiscent of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective Sherlock Holmes — a character who struck me as Aspergian.

Bradley is unfamiliar with Holmes but he has followed a comic book detective, reading every issue of the Slam Bradley comic book series. He leaves his small town and comes to New York City because it is where the Slam Bradley adventures are set. He later models himself after Dick Tracy.

When people remind Bradley of characters from the detective comic books, he gives them the names of those characters.

The fantasy aspect of the book is Bradley’s invention of equations that can direct him to pieces of evidence, identify suspects and eliminate unpleasant surprises. He programs his equations into a Dick Tracy-style wrist TV.

Bradley’s literal interpretation of expressions is an ongoing recurrence and it is a characteristic I relate to. Even when someone uses an expression with which I am familiar, I often consciously have to process what is said in order to arrive at the meaning.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to combine an entertaining storyline with advocacy and positive role-modeling of a character with Asperger’s syndrome.

Disclosure of material connection: I received a review copy of this book.

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