An author friend of mine has a new book available and he gave me the chance to be part of his release tour. Not only that, but he actually lives in the same state as I do!! The beautiful, snowy Wisconsin. I have a review of the book later in the post, but first, here’s a little bit about the book and the author.
About the Book
Phil Brennan is back, looking for a stolen painting and a missing girl.
Smack in the center of it is a rivalry between two men.
One of them is nothing like Phil’s father.
Nothing at all.
Once again, the mystery is a sidebar to what’s going on in Phil’s life.
And in his head.
About the Author
Despite my love for the writing of Raymond Chandler, Robert Crais, and Michael Connelly, I could never write that dark.
I grew up on Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. After while, I lost interest in puzzles.
What fascinates me about a book is the people in it, the moral challenges, especially when a morally black-and-white person is faced with two choices, both bad. Exploring moral ambiguity through my writing is also an excuse to share my twisted sense of humor.
There’s no mayhem, no sex, nothing overtly noir. Instead, there are people trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in.
Sort of like you and me.
At first, this book was hilarious! Like, laugh out loud hilarious and I don’t laugh out loud very often when reading a book. Then it started getting confusing, then darker, and finally ended with a bang (not quite literally, but close). Even a few days later, I’m not exactly sure if I loved it or just kind of liked it.
The characters were what made the book. From Phil to Tammy to Roland to Wendell to Nic to Jill to Don. They were all as varied and individual as they could be and yet somehow kind of got along. Joel did a great job writing each character.
There were a few times the dialogue got a little confusing, but I think that’s because the plot start confusing me. I wasn’t really sure at all what was going on a few times and I think the book was meant to be that way.
I dithered back and forth whether to do a .5, .25, or.75 star for this category. The plot was good. The story flowed fairly well. There were just many times when I was so in the dark, I had no clue what was going on. But then, Phil didn’t either, so maybe that was the point. My main reason for .5 versus .25 is that I think I was meant to stay in the dark about many plot points. But then the reason for .5 instead of .75 is that the book just kind of ended with not a lot of resolution in my mind. Again, maybe that’s what Joel meant to do because Phil felt the same way. See? I’m still waffling!
Overall writing quality:
Besides a few places where I think he could have tried to tie a few scenes together a little better, the writing quality was good. I would read more books by him to see what he does with them.
Due to the confusingness, I did put the book down a few times. That being said, after reading the author’s note at the end, this book was the first I’d read in Literary Noir, so that probably had something to do with it.
If you like books with lots of humor, but aren’t afraid of the dark pasts of people, you will like this book. It has enough mystery (okay, a lot) to keep you guessing until the end. There was a touch of romance and it was super sweet! Read it for that if nothing else. Overall, I think I did like the book and it’s one I might read again just so I can try to understand it better. Kind of like the movie, “Inception” that you can watch over and over again and still not fully understand.
I received a free copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.