Mystery Books for Sale

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by Jen Banbury
Little, Brown, April 1999
304 pages
$out of print
ISBN: 0446675172

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The trouble started when Jill was working at the book store in LA and bought a first edition of a rare Jack London for $25 from a dwarf. Being in dire need of replacing her foot-powered bike with a motorized variety, she sells the gem to a local book dealer, Timmy, for $400. When the dwarf returns accompanied by a giant calling himself "Joke Man" who sets the dwarf's hair on fire in search for the book, Jill figures she better forget the bike and get the book back.

Timmy delivers more and less of what she needs, so she goes to the Antiquarian Book Fair in Vegas to find Timmy and the book. While there, she is abducted by a movie director named John Malcome, who says the book originally belonged to him. It turns out that this is no ordinary first edition; in fact, its value is probably over $200,000. After being drugged, tortured, stealing several vehicles, enlisting aid from innocent bystanders by lying like a rug, shooting a cop in the foot and being used as an extra in a movie, Jill still manages to stumble on. She's a little bit (ok, a lot) crazy but loyal and tender-hearted. Who else would steal a car to escape from kidnappers but stop to rescue a dog lying in the middle of the street?

This book is definitely something different. It's full of Generation X attitude, smart remarks and skewed views of life. The humor and attitude are omnipresent; it kind of wore me down about three-fourths of the way through the book when Jill was cracking wise while being tortured. The book is like a slapstick homage to Dashiell Hammett, Sam Spade in Bizarro World. It's a wild ride but a journey well worth taking.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, July 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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