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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoyed the first few chapters of 'Brown' so much that it was on course for a definite 5-star review; I liked the short chapters, fast pace and easy humour, plus the subject matter and events were reminiscent of Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently novels. By half way through, however, the humour had worn thin, as had the plot. There were still occasional moments of genius, such as the introduction of the character Mr Casbarian, whose sporadic appearances livened up some of the book's duller passages. James Polster has an interesting writing style: very minimalist. This works for dialogue, allowing conversations to move quickly and flow in a natural way. When it comes to description, though, Polster's bare prose - which is almost entirely lacking in sensual detail - fails to evoke emotional responses in the reader. His minimalist style, therefore, is a double-edged sword. By the end of the book, I found myself happy that it was over, and looking forward to reading something with more substance and descriptive flair. At its best, 'Brown' melds humour and cleverness to excellent effect. Too often, though, the story struggles. At these times, Polster often throws in preposterous situations, relying on the ridiculous to keep the reader interested. It doesn't always work.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Brown is a plain and stoic title but the book is a cracking read from start to finish as Dr Brown is caught up in a tornado of events that just seem to throw him from one adventure to another.

The story proceeds at a riveting pace but at the end of each short chapter it is hard to stop as you persuade yourself to read just a little bit more to find out what happens next. I want to tell you more but the amazon description has said enough, a sports writer goes to California and somehow becomes a psychologist standing in for his friend who has too many clients. I have said too much.

This is a fantastic book and really well written. The last book that I enjoyed this much was The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Read this book now, you will not be disappointed.
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VINE VOICEon 18 May 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
McGee Brown is a former sportswriter from Boston, who arrives in San Francisco with no job,no girlfriend and no money. Having called at the home of his old friend, Fillmore, a clinical psychologist, he is persuaded to become a psychologist, or "life transition facilitator", and take on some of Fillmores overflow of patients - well it is California and it pays $95 an hour!
"Dr" Brown's first patient is a beautiful woman who is convinced that her wealthy husband is trying to kill her. I don't want to say much more about the plot as it would spoil the twists and turns. Suffice to say, "Dr" Brown undergoes a further career change to become a private detective.
The story is fast paced, written in small chapters, with an array of witticisms, theories, observations and situations which keep you turning the page and wanting more.
Brown was my first James Polster book, it will most definitely not be my last and it is no surprise that it has been judged as "One of the best books of the year" by Publishers Weekly, among others. Thoroughly enjoyable and well written, it would be the ideal book to take away on holiday.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
'Brown' is a fast-paced, rip-roaring novel that takes off in the first few pages and keeps going at full throtle for all its 225 pages, only slowing down in the final few pages for the 'Epilogue'. Short chapters and sparse prose keep the action going in a wild and crazy way that is almost cartoon-like and reminded me of Hunter S. Thompson's 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'. The action takes place in California, mainly around San Francisco, where our hero former participatory sports journalist Mr./Dr. McGee Brown becomes in turn a psychologist and then a private detective. On the way we meet a raft of curious characters - Fillmore (psychologist and bartender), Mr Quilp, Mr. Casbarian, Rana Krishna etc and go from amusing set piece to set piece. In the end it's all light-hearted nonsense but very readable and very enjoyable.
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VINE VOICEon 7 June 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"Brown" follows the hero McGee Brown through a bizarre occurrence of events that sees him go from sports-writer to psychologist to private detective.

I loved several things about this book. I loved the humour. I loved that the chapters were generally short so that I could breeze through relatively quickly (and could stop easily when I needed to). I loved the outlandish situations that the author threw Brown into (well most of them). And I loved the characters' weird ways.

There was a bit in the middle however where the author was relying solely on the ridiculousness of Brown's plight to generate the humour. However this section was over quickly and the beginning prior and the subsequent ending (spoiler: 3-way chase) made up for this.

I enjoyed this read and would recommend.
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To start with this book kept me enthralled with the fun shenanigans of Dr Brown...but with each progressive chapter, I found myself wanting to read more just to see what happens, but it didn't capture me in that "got to read it" style.
The writing wasn't descriptive enough for me, and I found myself asking "what happened" in several places, because the writing fell flat and didn't go into enough detail to keep my brain with the storyline.
It's a shame, this book had the makings of being so much better, it's reminiscent of a script for a play in places.
I enjoyed it, but sadly not enough to give it more than three stars.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A very fast read - a slim volume with an awful lot of very short, very visual chapters - `Brown' feels very much like a screenplay that didn't get made and got re-vamped into a novel - or novella (it really is very short).

It's an amusing, improbable, silly, funny, hard-to-believe, Big-Lebowskiish tale of McGee Brown, a former sports journalist who, on the advice of a friend, reinvents himself as a bogus psychologist - which is only the start of his roller-coaster ride through the strange and dangerous world of a hugely rich client.

Brown is excellent beach-fluff, of no weight or importance whatsoever, but highly enjoyable.
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VINE VOICEon 22 May 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Brown is a very likeable main character who gets himself into and out of some pretty weird situations. But however desperate his situation he adopts an incredibly laid back attitude and takes everything in his stride. This is not a complicated story by any means, it is the cast of characters that make it so entertaining together with the skill of the author in moving things along. It is a bit tongue in cheek and reminds me in some bizarre way of Raymond Chandler stories - private eye on the trail of missing woman, seemingly thwarted every time he seems to be getting close through no fault of his own.
It wasn't laugh out loud for me but I smiled a lot.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Brown reminded me of an old `screwball' comedy in the way that so many fantastic things keep happening throughout the book, and to enjoy it there is no option but to suspend belief and enjoy the ride. It is very good fun but you have to open your mind and not worry about the plot too much, nor the larger than life characters. The style of writing kept me glued to Brown pretty much all of the way through the book, and while it's not a classic it is a book that I will re-read, and I will also keep an eye open for more books by this author.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I loved this book when I started it - right from the very first page, it engaged my curiosity with promises of a Hunter S. Thompson 'Gonzo' attitude, mixed with a Kinky Friedman approach to humour in detective novels that really made me laugh. It contains some great one-liners that really hit the spot, prompting chuckles of appreciation from myself as I got into the story, particularly in the section where he's pretending to be a psycho-analyst.

'Brown' is the name of the central character, who isn't a detective at all, but gets hired as one all the same. The pace of the story is breathless at times, and it's this which surprisingly lost me - the narrative shifts into somewhat unusual territory as the bad guy proves to be a bit more than just your usual villain. Brown picks up an ally along the way whose ability to locate and rescue the hero becomes a bit too unerringly reliable at achieving the impossible; although this is clearly consistant with the playful style and humour, I found this broke the logic that a detective story needs. I like to get involved with detective novels, try and spot the clues, work it out, but here the story is so off the wall crazy that characters often pop up out of nowhere to save the day in a way which makes you ealise that the plot is too surreal to be able to eve predict what might happen or not.

The story raced on ahead, forgetting to be as funny as it was at the start, and I found myself getting slightly left behind, becoming an outsider rather than a participant. I watched the end of the story come and go without much caring one way or the other; it's almost as if the larger the scenes get, the less involving they become. Which is a real shame, as this book starts REALLY well.

It's won awards, apparently. Did the judges finish the book? I wonder.
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