Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

12698350From Goodreads: San Francisco detective Ed Sampas is sitting in his office when Thelonius Noble enters and says he wants to hire Sampas to recover a stolen item. It’s a black statue of a bird, about a foot high, made of lead. “Sounds like the Maltese falcon,” Sampas jokes. “It is,” Noble responds. Turns out, Noble owns the statue from the 1941 film, and it’s worth a million dollars.

Reel Life Crime mirrors the plot of Dashiell Hammett’s novel and John Huston’s film, while being an original mystery in its own right, a tongue-in-cheek hard-boiled detective story, an affectionate tribute to the noir genre, and a commentary on how much movies impact our culture and our everyday lives.


This novel is very dialogue driven, sort of like a play or a movie script, which was very different for me as a reader.  I’m used to vast descriptors in my novels, but a dialogue driven novel is actually quite refreshing.  Unfortunately, on the whole, the novel itself just wasn’t for me for a number of reasons.  I, personally, had a hard time connecting to any of the characters, and I wonder if perhaps I needed to see the movie or be familiar with the story of the Maltese falcon to really “get it,” but I don’t think that’s entirely it. I’m not really a fan of wise-cracking characters, and AJ and Kermit grated my nerves with their “stoner” type attitude and nonchalance, which I found to be present in a majority of the characters, not just these two.  The characters themselves made it difficult for me to focus on the underlying detective story because I found them a tab bit annoying with all their pauses, tangents, and “likes,” and their inability to tell the story straight was jarring, if that makes any kind of sense.

I’ve also noticed over time that I’m just not a “funny” person, and many tongue-in-cheek and dry sense of humors are beyond me, even though I really try to “get” it.  My cognitive thought process just doesn’t wire that way, and it’s no fault of the author’s at all—it’s just a personal thing, I supposed.  I also had a small issue with the constant underlining as opposed to italics used in the dialogue, but that’s, again, a personal preference and has no barring on the story. Truthfully, I think this novel has a good premise and that many people will enjoy it, especially if they’re into old movies, detective stories, flighty characters, and tongue-in-cheek humor (my brother would probably really enjoy it, actually…).  It just wasn’t for me.  Two stars.

2 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

et cetera
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