Title: Mystery Girl
Author: David Gordon
Publisher: New Harvest
Pages: Hardcover; 320
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: Mystery / Noir
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy books with a noir flair, and don't mind a bit of flowery language.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
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.Mystery Girl was what my grandmother likes to call an "odd duck". I don't know what I was expecting it to be when I accepted it for review, but I can tell you it wasn't what I was presented with. Not to say that's a bad thing. Quite the opposite actually! This was a read that grew on me and, as it it did, took me to a whole new place.
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.
Sam Kornberg is just your typical, unemployed, recently divorced and failed novelist. Is typical the right word? We meet a man who is at rock bottom. I have to say that his character spoke volumes to me. Sam can feel campy at times, but he's really a very deep person. His views on the male psyche, on creating art, and actually pretty much everything, have massive depth and breadth. Sam might look like a failure on the outside, but inside he's raw creativity. I'm not even sure if that makes sense, but that's how I felt.
Then he meets Solar Lonsky, the oddest character I've ever had the opportunity to meet, and everything spirals out of control. There's really no way I can express to you how this book reads. It's part noir, part satire, and entirely a look into the deepest parts of ourselves. Lonsky's quest takes Sam to some dark places. There is real mystery here. Real violence and real blood. Even some slightly awkward sex, if I'm being honest. It's like this book is all over the place but, magically, it all wraps back up into itself and creates a wonderful package.
The one fault I found, and it's very possible it's just me, was that the language Gordon uses is very over the top. I'm not generally a reader of mystery or noir, so I don't know if this is normal. It's just that the massive use of similes really grated on me after a while. I'll begrudgingly admit that it does set the tone. That's probably the reason for their use. I'm just being honest about my personal reading of this book.
It's not as though it kept me from enjoying the book overall and, quite honestly, I powered through Mystery Girl rather quickly! I wasn't expecting what I found between these pages, but I loved every minute of it. I'm glad I took a chance on David Gordon's book. I can't wait to seek out what he writes next.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.