Sometimes you just need a laugh
STUFF TO DIE FOR by Don Bruns had me laughing out loud. Bruns is a new author to me and I sat up all night (I’ve got to quit doing that!) to read this zany mystery novel, the first book in his new series.
The reader is prepared for this humorous-to-hilarious book by the opening paragraph of Chapter 1:
(Quote) Believe me, when James first suggested we start a hauling business, I would have said no way in hell if I’d known we’d be hauling a human body part. And then to be accused of kidnapping and murder? But I’ve only got myself to blame. I’ve known from the start that James Lessor could get into more trouble than any ten people. I just keep forgetting that he’s always dragging me in with him. (End Quote)
The narrator is Skip Moore. He and James Lessor, best friends since third grade, have a yin-yang relationship.
Women: James is a babe magnet – cute, sexy, bold. Skip is 24 going on 16 when it comes to relationships. He muses: “I read one time that if you can get a girl to laugh, you can get her into bed. I’m always afraid that they’ll laugh while we’re in bed.”
Work: James hates his boring job as a cook at the Cap’n Crab but he’s full of schemes for something to make them rich, fat and happy. Skip, who dreams small, drudges through his nondescript job trying to sell security systems in a low-rent neighborhood.
When James unexpectedly inherits $12,000 he buys a Chevy one-ton box truck and tells Skip, “It’s time to break out. Skip Moore and James Lessor, entrepreneurs. Moore and Lessor, or Lessor and Moore. Have truck, will haul.”
Enter Em, Skip’s well-heeled, occasional girl friend. Em has just the job to get them started. She knows Jackie Fuentes, a wealthy woman whose cheating husband has moved in with his mistress. Jackie wants his belongings hauled away. James quotes her an extravagant fee for hauling the stuff to a storage shed, and the entrepreneurs are off and running, in a manner of speaking.
The stuff they’re hauling includes a month’s worth of the husband’s mail. When Skip drops some of it, a large envelope pops open, revealing a severed finger. Worse, the finger wears a class ring from the same high school Skip and James attended. Even worse, the ring is dated the year they graduated. Obviously the finger belonged to somebody they knew, but who?
The finger should be a tip off that the wronged wife isn’t paranoid when she thinks her husband is involved with international terrorists. The budding entrepreneurs decide to deliver the husband’s mail anyway. Bad move. They bumble into a political conspiracy and get a taste of the dark side of real life.
One of the interesting side characters is Angel, a seemingly whacked-out Bahamian who hangs out at the Gas and Grocery and keeps up to date on what Skip and James are doing.
He walks out of the shadows at times when they can really use an “angel.” What’s in it for Angel? Maybe the adrenaline rush. We can only guess.
STUFF TO DIE FOR was published in 2007 and there’s plenty to appeal to your sense of humor. Others in the series are STUFF DREAMS ARE MADE OF (2008); STUFF TO SPY FOR (2009); DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF (2010); and TOO MUCH STUFF (2011).