Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: A Paradise for Fools

Author: Nicholas Kilmer              
Title: A Paradise for Fools

Description (source): The young woman in the hair salon raises her shirt in a furtive gesture to show a friend the work in progress- a riot of stunning tattoos. From his accidental vantage point in the barber's chair, Fred Taylor knows that those weird insects, beasts and naked human figures could only come from something nice-a painting that, if he could only see it in the flesh, might prove to be rare, and of significant value. The girls don't have a clue.

Such a painting needs to be understood and identified. But before that can happen, it must be found. Fred's inquiries lead from the hairdresser to the illegal tattoo parlor of an unlicensed genius. Fred is met everywhere by ignorance and denial. Anyone who must have seen the painting denies that it exists, despite the vivid proof increasingly laid bare on the hairdresser's skin.

Fred's employer, the collector Clayton Reed, is out of the country. So Fred, left to his own devices, is free to follow the trail despite being distracted by his first meetings with the intriguing librarian Molly Riley. Not wanting to spook his unwilling witnesses, Fred must proceed with caution even after he encounters the first serious bump in the road - a suspiciously convenient hit and run that turns one potential informant into an abrupt dead end.  (Marketing copy)

Review source: netgalley

Plot: It took a while to figure out what was going on in this book—I haven’t read any in the series (this book is the 8th). Once I got into it, though, I was hooked.
Characters: I really liked Fred, the detective. He’s curiously bereft of all the normal vices (greed, anger, lust), so he strikes me as a walking brain. The supporting characters are interesting as well, including the love interest, a fetching librarian (!)

Writing style: This is where the author shines. I loved his distinctive writing style, which includes dialogue that both sounds realistic and subtly hides clues. I do think that you would either love or hate his style; I just got lucky.

Audience: Mystery readers who tend to like hard-boiled detectives or cerebral mysteries. Generally I wouldn’t probably pick this up, but I’m really glad I did.

Wrap-up: If you haven’t, give Nicholas Kilmer a try. He has a distinctive voice and concocts a tight plot. 4.5/5*

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