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Stuff to Die For: A Novel (The Stuff Series) Paperback – August 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in South Florida, this middling thriller from Bruns (Barbados Heat) never quite manages to persuade the reader to buy into its concept. Best friends Skip Moore and James Lessor have partnered in various hare-brained schemes since grade school, but their latest lands them in the midst of murder and international intrigue. After Lessor gets Moore to join him in a moving business, the pair are hired by an attractive divorcee, Jackie Fuentes, to haul away the possessions her ex-husband, Rick, left behind. That routine assignment turns into something quite different when they accidentally open one of Rick's letters and find a severed finger inside, a discovery that enmeshes them in a plot by Cuban exiles to topple Castro. A prose style that falls short of the standard set by such chroniclers of the Florida crime scene as Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey fails to compensate for a plot that on the improbabilities.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* On Florida's lower east coast, only one thing flourishes more luxuriantly than crime, and that is crime writing. With Bruns' second offering, we are presented with yet another set of lovable freaks and oddballs; this batch will remind the reader of Tim Dorsey's cast of whacked-out characters but with the narrative voice and feel of Mark Twain's Huck Finn. The protagonist, Skip (aka Eugene), and his high-school pal James work dead-end jobs in one of Miami's deadest ends, Carol City. When James comes into a windfall, the friends devise a business plan over late-night beers, buy a one-ton box truck, and go into the freelance hauling business. Their first job, arranged for by Skip's millionaire girlfriend, yields up a finger on which rests their high-school class ring. The plot involves the staples of South Florida fiction: anti-Castro elements and involvement by possible sinister government agencies. But the fun is in the characters. When Skip's girlfriend of many years informs him she is pregnant, he says in dead earnestness, "Who's the father?" Later, when Skip tells James the good news, he retorts, equally seriously, "Who's the father?" How can you not like a novel with characters like that? Glassman, Steve --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Stuff Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oceanview Publishing; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933515694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933515694
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,138,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don Bruns is a novelist, advertising executive, musician, songwriter, cook and painter who has no idea what he wants to do when he grows up. He's the author of nine books and was editor of the mystery/music anthology A Merry Band Of Murderers.

Don's published novels cover two series. One, a Caribbean thriller collection and two, the Stuff series, a humorous look at two twenty-four year old guys in South Florida who start their own detective agency and end up neck - deep in trouble. Skip and James from the Stuff series have often been compared to grown up versions of the Hardy Boys.

Jamaica Blue, Barbados Heat, South Beach Shakedown, St. Barts Breakdown and Bahama Burnout make up the Caribbean books. The Stuff series consists of Stuff To Die For, Stuff Dreams Are Made Of, Stuff To Spy For, and Don't Sweat The Small Stuff- which came out in December 2010. Bruns is currently working on the fifth Stuff book, Too Much Stuff.

His two series have won numerous awards, and the latest "Stuff" series has won a starred review in Booklist.

"Will remind the reader of Tim Dorsey's cast of whacked-out characters but with the narrative voice and feel of Mark Twain's Huck Finn."

Traveling the Caribbean for his Mick Sever series, or hovering around Miami for his "Stuff" series, Bruns enjoys the writing life. You can find him at http://www.donbrunsbooks.com

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Set in Miami, "Stuff To Die For" is the story of Skip Moore and James Lessor, two guys who grew up in poverty watching other people travel in their the luxury cars, going to fancy clubs and elegant restaurants, and enjoying their money. Now in their twenties the two decide on a new get-rich-scheme (they've had a lot of them in the past). But things start going strange when they discover a severed finger in an envelope along with a ransom note. As they involve themselves into solving a kidnap caper, the two become enmeshed a world of family secrets, Cuban thugs, a gun-toting philosopher, a CIA agent, and a group of shadowy people plotting the overthrow of the Cuban government. Highly entertaining and enthusiastically recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, "Stuff To Die For" is a superbly crafted, action-packed story of mysteries, explosions, car chases, gun battles, a quick eye for a buck, and two somewhat flawed heroes trying to figure things out and not get killed in the process!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lee Carper on September 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Book Title: Stuff to Die For
Author: Don Bruns
Oceanview Publishing
Release Date: September 1, 2007
Binding: Hardcover
Reviewer: Lee Carper

The latest novel by award-winning author Don Bruns, Stuff to Die For, features James Lessor and Skip Moore, a bumbling Laurel and Hardy duo who set out to do the right thing, but only manage to find themselves deeper and deeper in a comical web of intrigue.

Skip sells security systems, while James works as a cook at a local restaurant. They live in a worn-out apartment in a worn-out section of South Florida. Best pals since childhood, Skip, seemingly the level-headed of the two, tries to take his friend in stride, as James continually seeks new business ventures to make his fortune. In his latest endeavor, James inherits money from an aunt and purchases a box truck, declaring: "... Moore and Lessor, or Lessor and Moore. Have truck, will haul." And so begins their adventure.

Skip's girlfriend Emily lands the men their first job, hauling "stuff" for Jackie Fuentes. When Skip and James unload the cargo, they find a bloody human finger in an unopened mail envelope. Because this is a lucrative job and they want their money, they decide they'd better deliver this "mail" to the intended recipient, Jackie's ex-husband Rick. Rick hires the men to investigate the case of the severed finger, and Skip and James end up knee-deep in a possible Cuban takeover, a kidnapping, and some very dangerous criminals. Included in their escapade is an enigmatic man named Angel, whom we never really get to know in great detail, but plays an important role nonetheless.

I'll admit, as a reader I tend to lean more toward hard-boiled mysteries, but this novel couldn't help but draw me in. Don Bruns succeeds in making this an immensely satisfying read.

If you enjoy interesting characters, and a combination of humor and intrigue, then Stuff to Die For, is stuff to die for.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on September 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
James Lessor and Skip Moore have been friends since childhood. James has always been scheming on ways for the two to make a fortune in business and Skip has followed along into each venture. Some schemes had gotten them into trouble, some hadn't, but none of them had really worked. The latest plan James has hatched has them going into the moving business. "Have Truck Will Haul" says their new business card and according to James, who has purchased the Chevy one ton box truck by using the monies he recently inherited, this idea will lead to a financial hauling empire. Not only should he have used the monies to pay on his student loans, Skip also thinks that James should have noticed the fact that the truck drinks oil like it is water. James is obvious secure in his belief that the only way to make real money is to spend the money he has and this time, he is going to spend it on his hauling stuff business idea.

Skip's girlfriend, Emily isn't thrilled with James or how he manages to lure her mid twenties boyfriend into one dream after another as Skip sort of drifts through life. Sure, he sells a security system now and then on commission, but he really isn't going anywhere and she believes he could do so much more. One possibility is that Skip could go work for her Dad's construction firm but Skip knows, for a number of reasons that all aren't under his control, why that idea would never work.

As it soon happens Emily leads the guys to their first client, Jackie Fuentes. A wealthy and sexy woman living behind the gates of a nearby exclusive community, she needs some stuff hauled away as quickly as possible and is willing to pay well. Her husband Rick has taken off with a far younger woman and she wants his things out of her house.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on October 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A couple of beer-guzzling, 24-year-old ne'er-do-wells, James and Skip, become embroiled in a deadly situation. James, a short order cook, inherits some money and buys a box truck. With Skip, a salesman of security systems who hardly ever makes a sale, they go into the hauling business. Their first job gets them into all kinds of trouble, and they have to run fast to keep ahead of the perpetrators of a developing criminal plot.

While unloading their first cargo, they find a bloody finger and a ransom note. As a result, they become targeted by the criminals who fear the boys have learned details of the plot. And the chase goes on and on. The main characters are hardly believable and the story is a mish-mash. James and Skip can hardly get anything right.

Skip has a sometime girlfriend who turned down employment offers of $150,000 a year to work for her father. She is supposed to be bright, but what's to account for her relationship with a dead-ender? James has visions of grandeur, remembering his father who was a perpetual failure. The story takes place in Miami and environs, where we find a cast of Cubans, CIA agents and a mysterious "Angel." Enough already.
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