Very pleased I was able to squeeze this read in, as April draws to a close, because boy is this one heck of a novel! It is the sort of book which starts off interestingly enough and keeps on getting more and more interesting, startling and shocking. Surprise after surprise is unfurled, each bigger than the last. Fairly sure smoke was coming off the pages as I was reading them that fast to see how it was all going to end. Yet of course with such a book, there is only a minimal amount you can say about the plot to new readers. Too much information could be fatal or at the very least take some of the “wow” or impact out of the reading. So I am going to try my best to be brief as possible.
Doc Stoeger is the editor and owner of Carmel City Clarion, a local weekly newspaper. Another edition is ready for press, yet Stoeger bemoans the lack of interesting news, just once he wants a scoop for his paper, some big news no one else has got on to. Little does he know that tonight might be the night his wish comes true…
And that is all you’re going to get from me. Oh apart from the fact that the Alice in Wonderland stories do feature rather significantly in this story – not much of a spoiler after all, given the choice of title. There is so much in store for you, but you’ll just have to read it to find out what.
This is a hugely action packed story, with a quick pace, events piling up one on top of the other, with a strong dose of irony, possibly even irony on irony. Is there such a thing as double irony? If there isn’t then there should be. The first person narrative works really well in this increasingly screwball adventure mystery. Yet puzzle fans do not need to despair or avoid this book entirely, as it is the sort of adventure which has a lot of pieces to work and ponder over. Given the fast pace, characterisation very much comes from the dialogue and action but I’d say the story is all the better for it. Doc is a great protagonist to follow. His heavy drinking is not entirely sensible or admirable but he is a great lover of books, (so all is forgiven of course), and one of my favourite lines from him is: ‘I think a bathroom without a bookshelf is as incomplete as would be one without a toilet.’
This is the kind of book that makes you want to emit a high pitched excited noise on finishing it, desperate to find some other lucky soul who has read the book too so you can talk about it, spoiler free. I often say about so-so or average books that there is no need to rush out and buy a copy. Unsurprisingly I am now going to advocate doing the exact opposite, dropping all other activity in order to track a copy down and read it not quite this very instant but as soon as possible. Kindle owners will be pleased to know it is quite cheap to pick up a copy of this, but for people like me, non-kindle owners, paperback copies are available online, not dead cheap, but not requiring a bank loan either.
Just the Facts Ma’am (Gold Card): Time/Date etc. in Title