The Foreign Desk

Gentlemanly Wit…But Not a Lot of Substance

I’m not quite sure how to categorize this book; it has elements of mystery, suspense, crime…but has the feel of a stream-of-consciousness buddy road trip. The tone is meant to be funny…and it is at the beginning with this rather droll 1st person narrator but doesn’t quite sustain through the novel. It is definitely meant to take place in the past, as the journalist protagonist works on a typewriter and the newsroom is smoke filledĀ (and lots of legroom in a plane!), yet anachronistic things like a mention of snowboarding sneak in. The plot meanders…first the protagnist is on the hunt for a weather machine for his next story and then gets accused of murder that wasn’t really hinted at as a possibility.

The novel also suffered from lack of copyediting…or even proofreading. Inconsistent formatting (sometimes letters/articles are italicized, sometimes not), lack of or wrong punctuation (sometimes no period at ends of sentences), and odd style (starting a piece of dialog with a numeral, not a written-out number) sometimes made this a hard read. I downgraded the Amazon and Goodreads reviews by 1 star because of these issues.

If you like to read journalistic mystery that is written with humor and don’t mind that there isn’t much substance to it, you might enjoy this quick-read book.

I received an advance review copy for free, but it is currently available at Amazon for free.