TLC Tour: Mystery Girl

21st August 2013


*This book was sent to me by the publisher New Harvest, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in coordination with TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

I became an assistant detective, and solved my first murder, right after my wife left me, when I went a little mad. Never as crazy as the master detective himself, of course; he was completely nuts….And trust me, I know from crazy, being, as I admit right here at the outset, no poster child for emotional health myself.

Sam Kornberg starts his tale thus, in the great tradition of unreliable narrators before him. His wife Lala has left him; he’s unemployed, and his plotless novels are gathering dust. His only friends are MJ, his former employer who owned (and lost) a used bookstore and frequently went on poetry binges, and Milo, a former gay porn film projectionist who rents videos. Lala likes nice things, and novels without plots and failed bookstores certainly don’t provide for her. In an effort to impress her, Sam takes a job as an assistant to Solar Lonsky, a morbidly obese private eye who can’t leave his home.

Sam is tasked with following Ramona Doon, a beautiful young women with whom he becomes more and more intrigued. Yet he’s perplexed by his job. As he asks himself after observing Ramona one evening, “Was this what he sent me to learn? What mystery could it solve, what crime? Where was the victim, and who the criminal, besides me?”

Sam quickly finds the answer to that question, and as he is drawn deeper into Lonsky’s grip and Ramona’s spellbinding nature, Sam’s seemingly simple job becomes absurdly real, and Satanic rituals, porn, and doppelgangers confuse matters further.

Pulpy and raw, David Gordon’s writing is reminiscent of great noir while still retaining the shockingly real voice of a more modern fiction writer. Mystery Girl is an excellent exploration of a bumbling sad sack writer forced to transcend his own mediocrity.

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

  • The Book Wheel

    Pulpy and raw might be the best description of a book I’ve ever read.

    • I stared at it a bit, unsure if it got across what I wanted it to, so that’s good to know. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • OT (ish) question: have you read The Cuckoo’s Calling?

    • I actually just started it. After Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness talked about culling her shelves and finding it, I did the same. There it was on my TBR shelf. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nishita

    Oooh…whenever I read the words noir and pulpy used to describe a book, I am automatically ready to love it myself

    • It was definitely a good read.

  • Pingback: David Gordon, author of Mystery Girl, on tour August 2013 | TLC Book Tours()

  • HeatherTLC

    I’m intrigued by the combination of a modern voice and an old-fashioned noir. Sounds like a fascinating read!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  • Totally agree with your review — I thought the tone was spot on for this one.