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Good Girl, Bad Girl (An Alex Novalis Novel Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Finch
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In May of 1968, New York City is broke and on the skids, and private eye Alex Novalis is hard up for gigs. So when he’s offered a case from wealthy construction mogul Gabriel Kravitz, he can’t refuse.

Kravitz’s eighteen-year-old daughter Lydia has gone missing. Though she’s presumed to be with Jerry Pedrosian, the radical middle-aged artist and known womanizer she’d been sleeping with, there are few clues. Information is hard to come by; everyone seems to be hiding something. And then there’s Andrea Marshall, Lydia’s miniskirted and vinyl-booted best friend, who Novalis is deeply distrustful of…and unfortunately attracted to.

But as Novalis traverses the city, tracking Lydia from scummy artists’ lofts in pre-gentrified SoHo to luxury penthouses overlooking Central Park, he’ll face threats deadlier than any he signed on for.

Smart and sophisticated, Good Girl, Bad Girl provides a rare, fascinating snapshot of late 1960s New York City—a glimpse into the forbidden sex, politics, art, drugs, and counterculture violence that ran rampant in its once gloriously gritty streets.


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Product Description

About the Author

Christopher Finch was born and raised on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. He lived in London and Paris before moving to New York City in the late 1960s, the setting of Good Girl, Bad Girl. After working as a freelance writer and artist in New York for more than two decades, he moved to Los Angeles, where he continues to write and make art. Christopher has mounted one-man shows in both New York and Los Angeles, and his work has been included in museum exhibitions. He has occasionally written for television; his Judy Garland biography, Rainbow,was made into a movie for television. He is married to Linda Rosenkrantz, who is an author and the cofounder of the website nameberry.com. They have a daughter named Chloe.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 504 KB
  • Print Length: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (6 Aug. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AESRRT0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,037 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Girl, Bad Girl 3 Aug. 2013
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel features private eye, Alex Novalis, who has set up in private practice after being fired from the DA's ofice for possession of marijuana. It is 1968 and New York is in freefall; deeply in debt, a war zone, with rubbish piling the streets and Central Park a no-go area. Murder and drugs stalk the streets, politics are in the air and riots are breaking out. Indeed, the author paints an authentic picture of those times and of a city in crisis. However, Alex Novalis, who used to work in the fine art fraud detail (indeed, who "was" the fine art fraud detail, as he points out) is the perfect man when businessman Gabriel Kravitz is looking for someone to investigate the disappearance of his daughter Lydia. Seduced by avante garde artist Jerry Pedrosian, after he taught briefly at her exclusive, arty school, Kravitz is enraged, his wife in tears and Lydia's best friend Andrea sounds as though she is covering something up. Novalis embarks on a search across the city, in the haunts of the art world he knows well, trying to uncover Lydia's whereabouts.

There are, to be honest, both good and bad things about this novel. I would say the best part was the portrait of the era and place which the author paints. If you are interested in New York, enjoy novels set there, especially during the Vietnam/counter culture period, you will probably like reading this very much. Indeed, I thought that part of the novel was very well done. The plot itself is a little more problematic. Much of it is spent in Novalis following up leads which go nowhere, finding most, if not all, of the women he speaks to about the case attractive (which, fortunately for him, seems to be reciprocated) and then wrapping up an extremely complicated plot in the last couple of chapters.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric Slow Burner 29 Jun. 2013
By sam155 TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The USP of this book is the author's first hand experience of New York in the late Sixties, and the brilliantly evocative way he writes about it. The architecture, way of life, smells and sounds are all there, as vividly as can be. It's very transporting and the detail jumps from the page. Wonderful.

However, the plot was rather repetitive. The protagonist, Alex Novalis, seems to meet an awful lot of troubled broads who want to sleep with him. The mystery of the missing girl doesn't get any clearer and I was getting a little impatient with the number of anti climactic dead ends and red herrings. It does a sound a little like Raymond Chandler, but he is aware of this and makes an ironic nod to that fact.

I'm not sure what could have made me more enamoured of this book. Maybe some faster plotting, fewer same old same old enemies/mysterious accidents/amorous women. In any case, I enjoyed going back in time, but about three quarters of the way through I was starting to think, "Look are you actually going anywhere with this?"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New York noir in the 60's! 29 Sept. 2013
By lovemurakami TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let me set the scene, it's New York, it's the late 1960's and Alex Novalis is working as a P.I. after losing his job at the D.A.s office following his arrest for possession of marijuana. Novalis is an art fraud expert and is called in to hunt for a missing teen who has rang off with a notorious artist Jerry Pedrosian. Although finding missing girls is not his speciality, which self respecting private eye turns down the chance of earning a buck or two.

Christopher Finch's first foray into crime fiction isn't bad. What he does well is create a sense of time and place. He captures New York in the 60's really well, drawing a vivid picture of the place, he also creates a credible plot line which features the history of the time. Novalis is his strongest character, and if he writes a second novel featuring him, I'd give it a go. It does have a feeling of the great Raymond Chandler, and I presume he has read him heavily, however, I must say this doesn't touch Chandler (but who does)!

Worth a read if you are looking for an easy, crime noir novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Encounter 23 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first C.Finch book I have read and it will not be the last.An excellent thriller well written and completely plausible.
I read it in two days.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good girl, bad girl 22 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
excellent novella, shows a hard-nosed New York detective solving a very complicated situation. This one for fans of private-eye fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good rapid holiday read 23 Oct. 2013
By steve
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
BIT PREDICTABLE , DOES NOT BUILD PACE AS MUCH AS IT MIGHT HAVE, BUT BUT EASY READING AND INSIGHT INTO ITS SETTING
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very atmopheric read 8 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Set in 1960's New York, this book captures the atmosphere perfectly. Everything about this book feels authentic, from the setting through to the characters. It almost seems to have a film noire style.

Peppered with just enough history to inform, but not too much so that it gets weighed down with it, I truly enojoyed this book.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a solid crime thriller. Set in 1968 (which is revealed eventually) it is a brisk read that does not overstay it's welcome.

This sort of book has been done to death of course and devotees of the genre will find plenty to both enjoy and gripe about. Finch is no Ed McBain but he does tell a tale well and I found myself racing through. I liked the way the central character, a private eye, goes about his cases and the novel is populated with believable people.

My gripe is the sometimes wonky period references and the way the first-person narrative sometimes reveals how the tale is being told by someone remembering the events rather than as they happen. The end reveals why Finch has chosen to do this but I am not sure it was necessary.

Overall, a good read but unchallenging read. I would certainly read more though, if the price was right.
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