The Last Speaker of Skalwegian

Redemption isn’t always what it’s made out to be

Professor Lenny Thorson lives in a defunct revolving restaurant, obsesses over word derivations, and teaches linguistics at a fourth-rate college with a gerbil for a mascot. Lenny’s thirty-four years have not been easy—he grew up in a junkyard with his widowed father and lives under a cloud of guilt for having killed another boxer as a teenager.

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Desperate to save his teaching career, Lenny seizes the opportunity to document the Skalwegian language with its last living speaker, Charlie Fox. Life appears to have finally taken a turn for the better…
Unfortunately for Lenny, it hasn’t. He soon finds himself at war with Charlie, his dean, a ruthless mobster, and his own conscience.

4.4
Based on 26 Reviews
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Kara Marks
March 31, 2022

Wow—what a ride! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It was quirky and odd right from the beginning, but it just got funnier and crazier as it went. I also enjoyed the intellectual parts of the book—Lenny is a linguist and the origin of words in different languages has always been of interest to me. His mind also works in a kind of OCD/ADD/ideas of reference type of loop. I also make lists of things I want to look up, like he does, although his list is all about word origin. But he’s sadly clueless about so many things when it comes to relating to people—it’s amazing how things end up working out at times and at other times…not. It’s pretty wild. There are a lot of interesting characters, but he’s by far the most interesting. I highly recommend this book. I was provided a copy, but these opinions are my own.

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Chewie_the_Mouse
March 25, 2022

I have so many good things to say about “The Last Speaker of Skalwegian” that I’m not even sure where to start. How about this: I’ve already added this book to my list of nominations for my Top 10 of 2022 list. There are only four books on the list so far, so that’s saying something! Why did I love “The Last Speaker of Skalwegian” so much? First, because it’s unique. I’m always drawn to books that offer me something different and unusual, and this one definitely fits the bill. It tells the story of Lenny, a quirky college professor who is helping his friend document the almost-dead language of the Skalwegian people. While this may not sound like a delightful premise for a novel, I can assure you that it truly is. Lenny is the perfect character to headline the story. I loved every single peek into the inner workings of his mind that that author shared with us. His backstory is interesting, and I felt that it helped me understand the man Lenny has become by the start of the book. His development during the course of the story is interesting, and I was pleased with where he ended up. I adored Lenny so much that I’d happily read a sequel, even if nothing much happens in it. I just want to learn more about Lenny and his linguistics projects, present and future. Other characters, particularly Daniella, Charlie, and Henri, add humor and life to the story. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Widow Bahr and Angel Warrior/Warbler…this pair were both hilarious and (ultimately) quite useful. Of course, there were also the “love to hate” characters like Dean Sheepslappe, Luther, and Elspeth. Without them, there wouldn’t have been a story, and each brought their own special brand of dislike-ability to the table. The story itself was wonderful. Although I would happily read about Lenny and Company in any scenario, I very much enjoyed the Skalwegian plotline, along with the question of Charlie’s inheritance and the various dangers that come into play for the characters. By the last few chapters, I knew I wouldn’t be able to put the book down until I knew how everything ended up. Thankfully, the author gave us a solid conclusion that left me feeling happy for everyone, but sad that the story was over. I also enjoyed Mr. Gardner’s clever naming of certain characters, which called to mind the genius that is Jasper Fforde. Throw in some Forrest-Gump-ish moments where things happen around our hero to which he is mostly oblivious, and perhaps you can begin to understand why I was so delighted to have had the chance to read this book. Five out of five chunks of the most perfect sharp Cheddar!

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Andrea Ward
March 22, 2022

I think this is listed as humorous thriller. I think it would be better to think of it as a farce. Most of the men are ridiculous and their actions improbable. The last names of the men often indicate something about their character. The women are capable and intelligent. However since we mostly see through the eyes of men, that isn’t recognized or valued. By the end of the book, some men grow and start seeing the women as intelligent, capable, and their equal. I don’t think the book is intentionally making statements about gender and assumptions, but it is easy to read it that way. While Lenny is a linguist and he often wanders off mentally down a linguistic trail, it isn’t really about lingusitics much. There are a lot university politics in the book though. Now having said all of that, I didn’t expect to love any of the characters. However by the end of the book, I did love some of the characters and was a little worried about them. But good news, it ends happily. So I would probably give this book a 3.5 becasue some of the farce elements were so ridiculous as to be distracting and some of the men’s attitudes were frustrating. But by the end of the story, I was enjoying it.

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octoberwoman
March 13, 2022

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book, but the synopsis intrigued me. What I got was an amusing and somewhat quirky story filled with outrageous characters and situations that still came across as believable. I never knew from chapter to chapter what to expect. Well, that’s not quite true. The further I read, the more I did expect twists and turns and the unexpected. To give you an example, Lenny, our protagonist, lives in an abandoned top floor revolving restaurant, that has a mind of it’s own. Meaning periodically, with just a few warning clicks, the restaurant would begin revolving, often sending items, such as Lenny’s breakfast, flying, while he grabbed onto something to keep himself from flying. Which I thought just sounded like an utterly fascinating and fun way to live! Lenny is a linguistics professor, who is often distracted by words and their origins. For instance: “‘Disperse’ came from the Latin disperses, which was was the past participle of dispergere (‘to scatter’). Lenny wanted everyone in the world to disperse.” Being a reader who often pauses to look up a word I’m unfamiliar with, I began to look forward to those musings. All in all I enjoyed my time with Lenny and his group of wacky friends and colleagues. *I received a free copy of this book from the author and have voluntarily reviewed it*

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Bon81230
March 13, 2022

The Last Speaker of Skalwegian is a comedy of errors. Lenny is either the luckiest man alive or has the worse luck ever. Lenny is one of the best characters I have read. His love of words and not wanting to get angry are just two of his many off the wall traits. Danelia is the perfect balance to him. Their adventures are laugh out loud fun. The other characters are just as endearing. This is not your run of the mill story. Almost anything can and does happen. Buckle up you are in for a bumpy time.

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Linda Blakeley
March 11, 2022

I really enjoyed reading the last speaker of Skalwegian. From the first few pages to the the very last I was captivated by this fun and unpredictable thriller. Lenny the main character is a very likable guy. His ability to become distracted by his love of words and their origins coupled with his extreme avoidance of conflict due to guilt over killing a fellow boxer in the ring (revealed at the beginning of the story) shield him from seeing the danger that surrounds him. I found the writing style and story so refreshing that I am looking forward to reading other books by David Gardner.

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Angela Sanford
November 30, 2021

Being the second book by Author David Gardner, The Last Speaker of Skalwegian is a humorous thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat! When Professor Lenny Thorson agrees to help his friend Charlie Fox document the Skalwegian language, he was unaware of the trouble he was getting himself into. Teaching linguistics at Ghurkin College was the most excitement in Lenny’s life but that changes when he comes up against the crooked dean of the college, a very determined mobster, a friend who can always find a scheme to get into, and a beautiful journalist. Will Lenny finally find the peace and happiness that he has longed for? I absolutely applaud Author David Gardner for his writing talent that is obvious in this book. The mix of humor and thriller gave me pause at first, but it did not take me long to discover how much I loved it! As the saying goes ” Don’t knock it until you try it”, is the perfect cliche in this situation. I love the combination of characters and the different personas that they each portray. Not having read the first book by this talented American author, I truly hope to see more from him in the future! I received a copy of this book from the Author and Partners in Crime Book Tours in exchange for my review! All thoughts and opinions are truly my own!

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Clare Connors
October 10, 2021

I received a complimentary review copy of this book, and am submitting this review voluntarily. The author has a very unconventional sense of humor which made the book a pleasure to read. Silliness itself was not out of the question, as evidenced by the scene in which two characters had an impromptu “snowball fight” with frozen berries. Lenny’s plight and moral dilemmas balanced the slapstick scenes, and the final chapter blended suspense and comedy.

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Sharon Storm
September 12, 2021

This is a fun and slightly convoluted tale about Lenny, who teaches French at a community college and is working with a friend, Charlie, to save Skalwegian so the language doesn’t disappear. Lenny is often distracted by thinking about the origin of many words, and this dates back to his unconventional childhood and teen years. His current living situation is unorthodox, but you’ll need to read the book to see why. Some of the characters, like Lenny’s office mate Henri and girlfriend Elspeth, seem like they might be based on people the author has known in real life. Might have given it five stars, but the last third of the book dragged a little and there were a few typos throughout the book. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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