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Mystery Girl: A Novel Paperback – 16 Jul 2013

3.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing (16 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477800794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477800799
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,476,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Some things are inexplicable. The human heart is one. Los Angeles is another. In his latest whodunit, Gordon ('The Serialist') takes on both with an LA noir reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy [in which] a failed experimental novelist, Sam Kornberg must track a mystery woman through LaLa land psych wards and late-night jaunts to Mexico." —New York Post, Required Reading

"David Gordon has written a passionate love story disguised as a mystery, a brainy tragicomedy, a bildungsroman wherein ‘the gumshoe learns the shocking secret of himself.’ His prose is by turns salacious, uproarious, and happily unhinged. A total delight.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

"I'm a Lebowski, you're a Lebowski, and fans of the famous Coen Brothers film may find many of their favorite aspects mirrored in this dark comedy…An unpredictable farce."Kirkus 

"[Raymond] Chandler's shadow hangs over [Mystery Girl], as do the literary shades of Proust, Beckett, and Pynchon, and the equally strong cinematic influences of the Hitchcock of Vertigo and the Welles of Touch of Evil. The book is filled with literary and cinematic references… Gordon's appealing wit and obvious intellect propel this gripping tale to a finely wrought and mostly unexpected conclusion."Booklist

"Both funny and frantic, complex and crazy, Gordon includes characters from every genre (underground and dark Coen Brothers films figure in the plot). [Mystery Girl] will appeal to readers of thrillers, cult film stories, and absurdist fiction." —Library Journal

"I have rarely come across a writer in such command of the English language. His sentences, characterizations and set pieces are things of beauty." —Washington Independent Review of Books

"This novel is awesome, phenomenal, incredible, mind-blowing, and overwhelming." —Rock Hard Press

"We have here a love story (two, actually), a dark comedy and some darn fine suspense, as well. David Gordon is an astute observer of the Los Angeles scene, a natural storyteller and an all-around funny guy. Mystery Girl deserves to be at the top of your reading list." Bookpage, Top Pick selection

"Reading Gordon's newest novel, Mystery Girl (New Harvest), is like talking to him in person: You don't want the anecdotes to end; you could soak up his effortlessly paired humor and wisdom forever. It's part mystery, part love story, wholly delightful." —Bustle.com

"A thriller about the dangers of marriage and a detective story about the unsolvable mysteries of love, art, and other people." CriminalElement.com

"This book surprised me in all the right ways." —Shelf Inflicted

"In this smart, witty novel by David Gordon you can expect to be taken on a ride not only in plot, but by a style that is delivered with authentic prose and perfectly placed comedic timing. The main character's sense of humor, self-deploring behavior and 'the world is a weird place' observations will make pulp fiction fans snort with glee." —Bitsy Bling Blog

"Mystery Girl is funnier, sadder, and smarter than seems mathematically possible: Dashiell Hammett divided by Don DeLillo, to the power of Dostoevsky – yet still pure David Gordon." —Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

"Mystery Girl is hilarious, sad, and a little bit horny. David Gordon somehow synthesizes every part of the human condition – from the sublime to the humiliating – into one whip-smart voice. Like Muriel Spark and John Fante, he’s the genius who you never want to shut up." —Jay Caspian Kang, author of The Dead Do Not Improve

"Reading David Gordon is pure pleasure. He's one of the smartest, most stylish writers I've ever come across, a gifted storyteller whose work perfectly combines an incredibly sharp wit with moments of real transcendent beauty." —Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles

"Perfect for the summer, I picked it up Sunday morning and didn't stop until it ended, which meant I skipped swimming, strawberries, and a hike, but it was absolutely worth it. I'm having a hard time shaking the bittersweet humor and surprising tenderness." —Unabridged Chick

"…a darkly comic, stylish literary thriller…" —The Associated Press

About the Author

David Gordon was born in New York City. He attended Sarah Lawrence College and holds an MA in English and Comparative Literature and an MFA in Writing, both from Columbia University, and has worked in film, fashion, publishing, and pornography. His first novel, The Serialist, won the VCU/Cabell First Novel Award and was a finalist for an Edgar Award. His work has also appeared in The Paris Review, Purple, and Fence among other publications.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book a lot, and the only reason it doesn't get 5-stars from me is because I like to save that accolade for the very best, that once-in-a-blue-moon book which gets into my best-novels-of-all-time list. Mystery Girl didn't quite reach those exalted heights, but it comes damn close. It has all the things I like best in a good read: a good storyline, well-drawn characters, lots of humour and a satisfactory conclusion. It's very well written, and reader-interest is maintained throughout the book by unexpected turns in the story and clever twists in the plot, right up to the end. Perhaps the best thing I can say about this book is that on finishing it, I immediately searched Amazon for other novels by David Gordon (I could only find one), and ordered it. I also passed it on to a friend who's a fan of literate crime fiction, and surely there's no higher recommendation than that.
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Format: Audio Download
There are so many twists and turns in this story it leaves you dizzy! It's hard to pigeonhole, a murder (several) mystery with some very witty laugh out loud moments, interesting plot line and one off larger than life characters, gritty and sad, somewhat dark and quite gruesome in parts. The protagonist's adventures throughout are extraordinary and quite convoluted. This is by no means a run of the mill, easy read so if you like something completely different and off the wall this is for you!
An amazing narration by Luke Daniels brings the whole thing to life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This isn't really a mystery/detective novel. At most it's a bit of a goof on mystery/detective novels, especially of the Nero Wolfe variety. It has a plot, as best I can tell, only so that you'll know to start reading on the lower numbered pages and then read toward the higher numbered pages. Heck, you could probably read it backwards and still enjoy it more than most other books.

What this is is a sad, funny, insightful and melancholy meditation by a marvelously appealing character who seems to be a failure at pretty much everything despite his best efforts. A failed husband and failed novelist, teetering on becoming a failed assistant detective.

His, (the character's and hence the author's), knowledge of books and film is encyclopedic, but in a comforting and engaging way, not as a form of showing off. I don't think I've ever before seen literary and cinema references used to such good effect. Sadly, the character's, (and it is to be hoped not the author's), knowledge of the pain of obsessive love and heartbreak is also encyclopedic and personal.

But there's a strong spark of hope and optimism and real spirit in there. Except when there isn't.

So, a bravura exercise and a subtle, complex, and carefully crafted meditation on so many things that matter to us all. Seasoned very generously with small grins, honest chuckles, and real laugh out loud moments. What a nice find.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started off hating this book, but stuck with it (after a short break) and I am so glad I did. It is funny and complicated (at several points I thought there were continuity errors which turned into plot twists!) and very enjoyable. Also, dark, at times claustrophic and sad. I would recommend thoroughly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a fabulously rich neo-noir. It has a cast of exaggerated characters in an exciting, mysterious, hilarious yet sometimes sinister story. The occasional musings on art, literature, love, sex and psychology work well and don't distract from the pace or the intrigue.

This seems to be the author's second book, I hope to read more from him!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed this book. The main narrative is quite stylised, a bit like a Dick Barton episode, and I understand why another reviewer commented that it was like a pastiche; but it flows very nicely. The author is intelligent and the book includes some laugh-out-loud wit and some stop-and-think wisdom, both of which are good enough to make me want to go back to find them so I can write them down somewhere. The plot has more twists than a corkscrew and the reader is required to actively suspend disbelief; it is probably the weakest facet of the book but it is good enough to keep those virtual pages turning (I listened to the audio version which has a really top class narration by Luke Daniels who captures the spirit of the writing beautifully). I listened on Kindle Unlimited but I will be buying the audio version to keep.
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