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The November Criminals Paperback – October 13, 2015
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From Publishers Weekly
Munson's funny, stoner-friendly debut follows high school senior Addison Schacht as he stumbles through the Washington, D.C., teenage underworld to investigate a classmate's unsolved murder. Schacht—a small-time pot dealer, consummate anti-social, and Jewish collector of Holocaust jokes—makes for a poor but entertaining detective, and when he places a stoned phone call to his prime suspect, Addison and his friends become caught up in the mystery he set out to solve. As Addison's sleuthing begins to unravel and his life crumbles along with it, his ramblings offer an interesting counter to, and often context for, his misguided attempt to discover the truth. Munson keeps things lightly dark, though his weakness for wandering asides—Addison is just as likely to riff on the Aeneid, Latin syntax, or his favorite movies as he is to discuss his investigation and efforts to outsmart the police—trips up the pace, even if they are what one would expect from a self-absorbed adolescent. The plotting could use some work, but Munson nails the voice. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
In response to a college-application question, high-school senior Addison produces this scathing mea culpa, which takes the form of a rambling, first-person rant. He’s a pot dealer who prefers to keep acquaintances at an arm’s length—his suppliers, customers, father, and even Digger, a girl who would be his girlfriend if only that had been part of their agreement. After a classmate falls victim to an apparently random homicide, Addison begins an obsessive investigation. His outer blankness of character (I have no personality to speak of, he insists) conceals a hyperintelligence that recklessly leads to a (rather hilarious) midnovel assault on the apparent killer. The book has every earmark of a debut—bratty, precocious, tangential, and in love with its own voice—yet Munson ably reminds us why such qualities are irresistible in the first place. Even his overreliance on italics reflects the fanaticism of a high-school brainiac. The plot’s second half meanders, but if you buy into the voice, the retarded story (as Addison puts it) will be of secondary concern. --Daniel Kraus --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
However, I feel the book is a bit out of touch and unresearched. ( Glocks don't have an external safty.)
Addison is in high school, and a fellow classmate is gunned down while working at a local coffee shop. He is a pudgy fat kid, who we later find out has some secrets. Addison becomes obsessed with the killing and spends countless hours mulling over the details in the hopes of figuring out what happened. He drags along his best friend, Digger, who he happens to have casual sex with on a regular basis. I should correct myself here, since Addison proclaims he has no real friends, Digger must be some sort of sex therapy confidant.
As we meander through Addison's life we find out his mother was killed and he is being raised by his father, who isn't a bad guy, but doesn't seem to realize Addison is even around most of the time. The poor dad can't even find the time to go grocery shopping, but he does manage to bang one of his students on occasion. He is a college professor. Addison is pretty self sufficient though, and has been working his own business for a couple of years. He is quite the drug dealer, racking upwards of 12K in profits at his high point. Thanks to a lucky bet on a dog fight towards the end of the book, he actually holds close to 18k before he ends up letting the money go. Ironically he doesn't even want the money. I am not sure this lost character has any idea what he was looking for.
The writing is well done but the words don't seem to form any well conceived notion of what a high school kid might really be like. I found the entire story hard to believe and even when I could believe it, I found myself not really caring. It almost read like the author and main character were writing the story just to hear themselves speak. Self indulgent were the two words that popped into my head continuously throughout the entire book. I couldn't begin to figure out what the purpose was, but it didn't seem to be for entertainment.
So while this might be the harshest review I have ever written, I can say that the author has loads of promise, and I think if he decided to write a less egotistical story he would be able to weave something fantastic. I would be willing to read his stuff again due to his potential alone, but I wouldn't force myself to finish the book if it ended up being another self indulgent walk down kiss my ass lane. You have to care about your reader to a certain extent; they are the people that will potentially be buying your book after all.
Tough book to read, but I did finish it. Hopefully his next endeavor will be a little more conscious of his audience.