The Faltese Malcom
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 3, 2009)
First off, I have to apologize to Peter for having his book for so long and just now getting around to reading it for review. To be honest, I think he sent it to me six months ago and probably thought I hated it and that's why I didn't write a review.
On the contrary, I enjoyed the book a lot. I wish the presentation - cover art and inside layout - were better. The story deserves better. It is a well-written, clever spoof on the noir stories like The Maltese Falcon, and the central character is funny and interesting.
Joshua Punch is an artist who was commissioned to do a mural and never paid. He goes to Washington D.C. to try to collect and is sucked into a mystery of international proportions. He also has this strange tendency to swap places with a PI in San Francisco every time he is bonked on the head. Not only is it disconcerting to travel across the country in literally the blink of an eye, it is doubly disconcerting to wake up in 1927.
Stated as such, the premise sounds a little too wacky to be believable, but it works. You do have to suspend your disbelief. It is fiction, after all, but once you buy your ticket to go along for the ride, it is a fun ride, indeed. Peter captures the feel and the language of the late 20s: "Someone plugged him. One pill, right through the pump."
There is plenty of danger and intrigue on both ends of this time continuum. In the 20's the PI S. Spaid is on the trail of an artifact that was stolen - another Maltese Falcon, and in present time Josh is entangled in a plot to steal a guided missile. Along the way he is almost blown up, accused of murder, and becomes homeless. Luckily, he has the beautiful and resourceful Karen Sawyer to give him a place to stay and help him get untangled from the dangers. If they tangle up the sheets a little along the way, that is just fine with Josh.
FTC Disclaimer: Other than having a bit of fun as I read this book, I have not profited in any way. The author sent me a copy, and I didn't even promise him a review. I never promise, just in case I don't care for the book. I would rather not post a review than write one with a lot of negatives. I leave that up to the literary critics. Are there any more of them out there? Just curious.