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Posted April 23, 2010
Steve Chandler's excellent novel, "The Woman Who Attracted Money," carries the subtitle "A Robert Chance Mystery," indicating immediately his intention of creating a series character, and after reading this first entry, I am quite impressed and would definitely seek out future novels in the series.
Robert Chance is ironically named because he is not a fan of chance or any form of chaos in life. He is a just the facts kind of guy who prefers all things to remain simple. On the wall of his office is an autographed Charles Mingus album, below which Chance has written a quote from Mingus: "making the simple awesomely simple, that's creativity."
Like Chance and Mingus, Chandler himself takes these words to heart. His prose is often both simple and complex at the same time, in the classic hard boiled noir style. Also, in the mode of writers like Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, Chandler finds room to roam within genre conventions to provide plenty of nuances to his characters and setting.
Chance is an ex-cop, turned life coach, turned private eye for the first time, to solve the apparent suicide of a client and friend. This is a refreshing new "daytime job" for a detective, and since Chandler himself is a business coach this novel is another successful example of how "writing what you know" is often a better solution than coming up with some kind of convoluted new twist.
Madison Kerr, Chance's sidekick, growing love interest and the source of the novel's title, is the perfect partner for Chance. Their dialog has the classic ring of Hollywood couples from the Golden Age of cinema, when men and women bantered intelligently back and forth rather than just hurling obscenities around three times a minute. She is his coaching client and a businesswoman, but also an expert computer hacker, another coup for Chandler since that doubles as a nice nuance to her character and a useful tool as the two of them work together to solve the murder at hand.
The mystery itself is presented confidently, with a few surprises along the way and an ending I did not guess, but as with the best classic mysteries, it is the original characters, superb dialogue and brisk, fast paced prose that keep this novel constantly entertaining, thought provoking and hard to put down.
If you are an avid reader of the mystery genre, looking for something new to read, I would rate this as: Highly Recommended/Must Read
Reviewed for Reader's Choice Book Reviews by George Wilhite
Posted January 5, 2010
With this obviously a "series" writing, I look forward to a little thicker plot line. Just keep the series alive and accurate - it is a very intriging start I must admit!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.