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Smart, suspenseful, and funny, David Anthony's debut is a perfect snapshot of America's misguided pursuit of happiness—then, and now.
“Anthony’s first novel…speeds to an adrenaline-charged climax in a conflict fueled by greed. Provocative, genre-spanning fiction by an author to watch.”—Booklist
“[Anthony’s] achievement here is his main character’s tragicomic inner life. As Martin spins out rationalizations and fantasies—he reckons himself to be on a moral par with Robin Hood or Jack the Giant Killer—readers will laugh and point fingers, but they will also see something of themselves.”—ForeWord Reviews
In Anthony's debut, a high-living 1970s aircraft salesmantries to clear his mounting debts by pilotingheroin into California from Mexico.
The oil embargo of 1973-74 is especially devastating for Martin Anderson, bon vivant. Emboldened by profits, he's moved his family into an expensive Bay Areasuburb and acquired expensive hobbies and baubles: cabin cruiser, racehorse,cabin in Tahoe, big Cadillac. Now he's not only overstretched financially, but his family life is souring, too. His junior-high daughter has been experimenting with pot; his 9-year-old son is sending baffling, aggressive typed notes to classmates: "JESUS HATES YOU."Martin ismired in ever deeper debt, and when his horse trainer, Val, offers a chance to have$40,000forgiven and earn $5,000 a tripby making night flights as an amateur smuggler, he jumps.As anyone who's everseen a '70sdetective show or read the scores of similar novelsknows, this is a DoomedIdea, drug-dealing thugs being what they are. Thingsquickly devolve. A narcotics detective starts snooping around, enlisting Martin's aid in a supposedly unrelated case; then Martin accidentally estranges himself from his wife, and she takes off with the kids(the half that's NOT an accident hasless to dowith Martin'sneedsthan with the plot's; it won't do to have Martin's innocent familyaround when the mayhem begins). Soon thereafter, Val and his wife are brutally murdered, Martin finds himselfwith a big cacheof drug money and we're set up for a bloody denouement. Where this book exceeds the expectations of its formula is in the finesse and wit with which Anthony handles both the setting and the swaggering, self-absorbedbut often likable protagonist—he captures the ethos of the '70s and the soul of sad-sack Martinadmirably, and the links to our own time are compelling. But the plot seems contrived and familiar.
Not nothing, but it could have really been something.
Posted July 2, 2011
Easy read, not a bad plot, some dark humor. But I did become exasperated with Martin, the main character, who has a little personality disorder going on.
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Posted July 23, 2011
My wife got me this a while ago, and I didn't read it until vacation last week. But once I started it I really got into it. It was funny, and the 70s setting took me back, especially the gas lines. And I liked the horse racing angle. It's also a real page turner, especially in the last section, or about the last 150 pages. I definitely felt like the main character, Martin, was someone you could relate to, even though he was kind of weird and a self-absorbed jerk. I liked it a lot and I recommend it to anyone who likes suspense but also just a good read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 9, 2011
I finished this book last night and I don't know how to describe it, but I really liked it. It's funny and goofy but in a good way. The main character reminds me of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty because he has this ongoing fantasy life that is easy to make fun of, but then you realize, hey, who doesn't want to be the hero, who doesn't want it all, in their private minds. I don't want to give away the plot, but it actually gets pretty nerve-wracking and I didn't expect that. I will definitely read more of this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 7, 2011
I thought this book was really funny, but it was also suspenseful enough to hold my interest. I was especially drawn in for the last hundred pages or so, when things got really tense and surprising. I loved the stuff about the 1970's and the gas crisis for a setting. An original and enjoyable read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 7, 2011
I guess if you are young enough to have missed the 70s it might be educational, but for those of use that lived through (and still remember) them.... well there's nothing new or insightful here. Plot is fairly predicable and the characters are shallow except for Martin, the main. He's incredably unlikable, as is the whole book actually. It's poorly written, digresses consistently and never delivers a "wow" feeling. Don't waste your time and money.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 29, 2011
I'm not a big mystery reader. Usually I keep to literary fiction and then some historical non-fiction. Something for Nothing, though, was a great break from my normal intake. The flow carries you along. It's not a chore at all like a lot of other books in this genre tend to be. Plus, the content is really compelling, especially if you have any interest in history. The plot is wrapped up in the social and political developments of the late seventies from a uniquely human perspective in Martin Anderson. While this might otherwise appear like a nostalgia play, Anthony pulls it off very well. The setting is very convincing and the characters are easy to relate to.
The plot is really strong and leads to an unpredictable ending that I read over two or three times after I first finished. It was shocking, intricate and very original. I'd recommend this book to serious fiction readers and to people who just need a book to bring to the beach. I wouldn't want anyone to miss it.
Posted May 5, 2012
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Posted September 16, 2011
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