A Mysterious Detective Mystery #2
Crooked Lane Books, May 2017
From the publisher: Rachel Goldman is getting used to the idea that her fictional creation, Duffy Madison, has somehow taken flesh-and-blood form and is investigating missing person cases not far from where Rachel lives. Wait. No. She’s not getting used to it at all, and the presence of this real-life Duffy is making her current manuscript – what’s the word? – – lousy. So she doesn’t want to see Duffy – the living one – at all. To make matters worse, when he shows up at her door and insists on talking to her, it’s about the one thing she doesn’t want to do: find a missing person. But the man Duffy seeks this time around might be able to solve Rachel’s problem. He might just be the man Duffy was before he became Duffy five years ago. The only problem is she could be letting Duffy lead her into danger yet again.
This is the second in a new series by E.J. Copperman, which finds author Rachel Goldman working, with some difficulty, on the next book in her Duffy Madison series, due to her publisher in three months. Duffy is the consultant to the county prosecutor’s office, whose forte is finding missing persons. Thinking back on the origin of her fictional character, she ruminates that she flashed on the idea of a consultant to the police, a very specific kind of genius who would be able to find lost things and, more important, lost people when the authorities could not. It is now 6 months since a man had called Rachel “claiming to be the living incarnation of my fictional character. He called himself Duffy Madison. .. . he believed I had actually created him four years earlier, because he had no memory of anything before that time.” She speaks of him as “the raving lunatic who is using my character’s name and personality.”
Rachel is hard pressed to decide whether the man is insane, or if there is some other – or no – explanation as to his claims. But after he had saved her life [in the events in the first book], she tries to give him some benefit of the doubt. This time their quest takes her from her home in Adamstown, New Jersey, to Poughkeepsie, New York [necessitating several trips across the barely passable Tappan Zee Bridge] where Duffy apparently went to high school, although proving that is difficult. This time we learn a bit more about Rachel’s love life, such as it is. Speaking of her invaluable assistant, she says “Paula dates more than I do, but then the pope probably dates more than I do.”
As I wrote in my review of the first book in the series (Written Off) this could only be an E.J. Copperman creation, as any reader of the author’s Asperger’s and Haunted Ghosthouse series can attest. There is a mystery here, and quite creative and suspenseful it is, but the overriding aspect of this book is the author’s singular and trademark humor. I can attest to the fact that every page, and nearly every sentence, of this delightful book is literally laugh-out-loud funny, and the smile almost never left my face for the two days it took me to read it. As was the predecessor book, it is simply terrific, and is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Gloria Feit, May 2017.