When Sam Kornberg’s wife, Lala, walks out on him, he’s an unemployed used-book store clerk and failed experimental novelist with a broken heart. Desperate to win her back, he takes a job as assistant detective to the enigmatic Solar Lonsky, a private eye who might be an eccentric and morbid genius or just a morbidly obese madman.
It’s a simple tail job, following a beautiful and mysterious lady around L.A., but Sam soon finds himself helplessly falling for his quarry and hopelessly entangled in a murder case involving Satanists, succubi, underground filmmakers, Hollywood bigshots, Mexican shootouts, video-store geekery, and sexy doppelgangers from beyond the grave. A case that highlights the risks of hardcore reading and mourns the death of the novel - or perhaps just the decline of Western civilization.
Mystery Girl is a thriller about the dangers of marriage and a detective story about the unsolvable mysteries of love, art, and other people.
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An entertaining ride with long side trips
Mystery Girl is almost stereotypical in its plot. But that's ok because the outlandish characters carry the plot forward. There are a few too many "clever" twists (that the reader sees coming long before the pay happen). But again this isn't a negative because seeing this ensemble of dysfunction deal with new situations is what compels the listener.
Like all convoluted mysteries the ending is a little too clean and tidy. But the narrator even jokes about that so its like the reader is in on the joke.
Luke Daniels does an amazing job capturing these characters and giving them depth and making them come alive in my imagination. But if I had to choose, agoraphobic detective Solar Lanski is a delight. Every time Daniels beings with the rolling deep Central European accent, I could help but smile.
This book has a postmodern turn where the characters talk a lot of cinema, novels, art. It really brings a new aspect to the mystery. We are participating in a well worn genre going through familiar troupes while wondering if art has been exhausted. That was just clever.
- Randall E. Wright