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Vanity Fire (Guy Mallon Mysteries) Hardcover – October 30, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
In Daniel's engaging second Guy Mallon whodunit (after 2005's The Poet's Funeral), an unscrupulous businessman, Fritz Marburger, offers Mallon, a smalltime poetry publisher and bookseller based in Santa Barbara, Calif., a chance to branch out. Marburger is willing to front the money to enable Mallon to publish a roman à clef by Sweet Lorraine Evans, a celebrity jazz singer. Despite the misgivings of his longtime manager and lover, Carol Murphy, Mallon succumbs to temptation and soon finds himself in bed with assorted unsavory characters. When the book deal implodes and a dead body turns up in the torched ruins of Mallon's warehouse, the publisher must clear his name by conducting an independent inquiry. Mallon is a sympathetic, flawed protagonist, though the solution is too obvious to satisfy those who want mental exercise from their mysteries. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Entrepreneur Fritz Marburger persuades Santa Barbara poetry publisher Guy Mallon to publish singer Lorraine Evans' first novel in hopes of expanding his business. Fritz also rents him a warehouse to store the books, which Guy must share with a crooked vanity publisher. Unfortunately, Lorraine reneges on her offer to publicize the novel, leaving Guy's business in deep financial trouble--compounded by an arson fire that destroys his warehouse stock, leaving him without any books to sell. The fiasco is further compounded when a body is found in the wreckage, and Guy's partner, Carol, leaves him as the publisher slides down the slippery slope of lost integrity in an effort to recover his financial losses. Along with stripper Kitty Katz (an employee of the vanity publisher), Guy investigates, hoping to find the murderer and salvage his career. Fast pacing, a strong sense of place, and plenty of -publishing-business details combine with a likable although flawed main character to produce an engrossing read. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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print-on-demand machine and some clueless clients.
It's a simple scam with a big payoff. For $20,000 up front a newly-minted publisher will print one book for the author, using a computer savvy porn star to format the manuscript and her friend to help with packaging and mailing. Then it's bye-bye-birdie. The publisher changes mailing addresses constantly so no angry author can
Protagonist Guy Mallon owns a legitimate business publishing poetry. Doesn't make much money but loves his work and has a spotless reputation. Before he knows what hit him, he has sold his soul to three different people. One is a slippery blowhard. One is an out-and-out crook. One is a western movie star who will bail Guy out
of debt in return for one printed, bound copy of his autobiographical poems.
Daniel's characters use some expressions I'm going to steal. When the owner of a torched building says, "I don't give a French-fried fart ..." I had to put the book down to laugh without spilling coffee. I lead a
sheltered life. Never heard that expression before.
Guy is a likeable character and an amateur sleuth purely by accident. He's five feet tall. The author uses that height with wit and humor, almost as if height is mainly in Guy's mind. As his lover tells him, "You're going to have to give up being short."
The ending leaves the door open for a sequel, but VANITY FIRE would be a hard act to follow. I loved every page.
"Vanity Fire" is truly a suspense novel that as you piece together the facts, you will always come up short. Never ending guessing evolves into utter surprise as you read into the lives of the characters and think you know the answers. The key word here is Think. Fortunately for us, Mr. Daniel knows how to keep you drawing conclusions but never finding answers.
This nonstop thriller will seriously challenge the best of mystery solvers. "Vanity Fire" is a well-written piece of literature that truly would be a wonderful addition to any mystery and thriller collector.
Guy and Carol think all their dreams have come true as they are suddenly blessed with an offer they can't refuse that will put their tiny, lifeless publishing business into the headlines with a best selling novel and a financial backing. But is the dream for real or does it come with unthinkable consequences?
Peppering the story with absolutely wonderful characters, so well described that you know exactly the type he's talking about, you will enjoy seeing some of the most interesting people you've met in a long time become fully engulfed in a rather "scorching"situation. Combining mystery, business, romance, murder and some pretty good disappearing acts, you will come up drawing conclusion after conclusion only to read a few pages further and go "I can't believe it!" as your intuitions are quickly put back on the shelf to rest.
Excellent writing, wonderful characterizations, and an even more intense plot than some of the best mystery writers of today's literature have been able to bring out. Highly recommended for anyone that just can't seem to find a book they truly can't "figure out" before the end, because I guarantee that what you think is happening, definitely is not!
Book Received FREE of Charge
When Lorraine nixes the People article and refuses to go on Oprah, sales plummet. The warehouse that Guy rents from Marburger to store the books inside also has a tenant, Roger, who is running a POD scam and making a fortune. Carol leaves Guy who in order to avoid bankruptcy; he goes in on the POD scam with one of his authors. The warehouse burns down and all his books are gone. The police determine the cause of the fire is arson and a body is found in the ruins. Roger has disappeared and Guy intends to find him and earn back his self esteem that he lost by dealing with a criminal.
John M. Daniel has written an adrenaline racing, heart bumping crime caper that has so many interesting plot twists that readers really don't have a clue who besides Roger is the antagonist. What this reviewer likes about VANITY FIRE is that nobody can predict what will happen next. This leads to a one sitting reading to find out how Guy's problem all turn out.
Guy is left facing debt and paying the rent on a huge warehouse, not to mention the stacks of unsold books. Then his warehouse burns and a dead body is discovered inside it. This is all told to us tongue-in-cheek by the crusty, affable Guy. And how can you not like Guy? He owns an enviable collection of first-edition poetry volumes and has a big heart to boot. But his judgment sometimes isn't the wisest or most practical. A briskly paced mystery, VANITY FIRE is more of a caper about Guy working his way out of a jam with the help of his many equally colorful friends. A fun read.