I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received Too Much Stuff by Don Bruns from the publisher. It turned out to be a fun surprise. If Laurel and Hardy became good ol’ boy mystery detectives in the 21st century, they might look like the two bumbling 20-something detectives in Too Much Stuff. Although Too Much Stuff is part of a series, I found that I didn’t need to have read the other novels for this one to make sense.
Skip Moore and James Lessor were high school buddies who decided to go into business together after graduation, as private investigators. They’d watched a lot of detective movies and can quote most of them line by line. What other experience or training do they need? How hard could it be? And it has to be better than flipping burgers or some other grunge job. They have an old white panel truck and what they lack in experience and training, they feel they make up for in their willingness to try anything. The name of their firm, More or Less Investigations, pretty much sums them up.
“Adventures with my best friend James have almost gotten us killed. Several times. I should remember that a lot more than I do.”
In Too Much Stuff, Skip and James have been contracted to find a treasure in gold that went missing from a train during the devastating 1935 hurricane that hit the Florida Keys and destroyed the little town of Islamorada. Their boss is Mary Trueblood, the great granddaughter of the man responsible for the ten crates of gold bullion, Matthew Kriegler, the Florida East Coast Railway’s finance director.
“It took six years for Henry Flaglar to build his railroad to Key West. It took two hundred mile an hour winds and an eighteen foot tidal wave about sixty seconds to bring it down. Give or take a dozen or so people, five hundred souls were lost in that horrific storm.”
Minor detail: After they arrive in Islamorada, they learn they aren’t the first detectives who have been hired on this job. The first ones haven’t been heard from since shortly after their investigation began, and they had a lot more experience and training (read any at all) than Skip and James. But our fearless detective wanna-bes decide what the hell, at least it will be a fun adventure even if they don’t find anything. And thus the buddy road trip begins.
“’Two things could have happened to them. One, somehow they found the information, and maybe the gold. In that case they are buying their vanishing act. They’ve taken off with the treasure and we’ll never hear from them again.’
‘And number two?’
‘They were killed by someone who wanted to have the gold for themselves.’”
There are lot of twists and turns to this novel, and it doesn’t look good for our detectives’ life expectancies at any point. It’s hard to believe these guys could be this dumb and dumber and have survived as long as they have. Their inexperience at life and as detectives is part of what makes this a fun novel. It’s got plenty of twists and turns to please any mystery buff but it’s above all a buddy road trip.
I found myself really liking Skip, who is definitely the brains of the duo, and has a kick-ass smart girlfriend. James I didn’t like as much because he comes off as a complete dunderhead and has far less appealing qualities, in his treatment of women in particular. Together they just barely manage to hang onto their lives despite a lot of attempts made to do them in. Don’t get me wrong, I completely enjoyed reading Too Much Stuff but then I’m from the South and I’ve met a bunch of guys like both Skip and James, so I found them more believable than some people might. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this isn’t a novel that’s going to appeal to everyone but I believe it will be a fun read for a lot of you.
Too Much Stuff was released on December 12, 2011, so it should be available from your favorite bookseller below. Just click the button to go there to get it.
If you like this review, please “like” it, +1 it, and share it with your friends!
One lucky reader will receive an ARC (advance reader’s copy) of Too Much Stuff by Don Bruns
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 12/28/2011, at 11:59pm EST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible. (This is a longer one than normal due to the Christmas holiday.)
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 18 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
5) If you already follow PopcornReads on Twitter or Facebook, you must still complete that part of the Rafflecopter form for your follow to count as an entry.
6) If you do not provide a complete mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before to enter a giveaway, here’s a little 45 sec. video on how to do it: