Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: Stuff to Die For by Don Bruns (Moore and Lessor #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Intriguing story and interesting characters
Cons: More drinking and bad language than I normally enjoy
The Bottom Line:
Not my normal tastes
I grew to like James and Skip
And this first wild ride

This is Good Stuff, Moore or Lessor

I just spent the weekend at Left Coast Crime, one of several mystery conventions held annually.  I used this as an excuse to find out about authors I had never heard of before, and one of those was Don Bruns.  Stuff to Die For is the first book he's written about James Lessor and Skip Moore, two twenty-four year old best friends trying to get established.  If this is any indication of his writing ability, I've found a new author to follow.

James and Skip share a small apartment in a bad neighborhood outside of Miami.  James works at a restaurant and Skip sells home alarms in an area where people don't have anything worth stealing.  Needless to say, they need a way to jump start their careers.

James has recently inherited a little money, so he invests it in a truck and talks Skip into starting a moving company with him.  They've hardly agreed when they have their first client.  They are hired to move an ex-husband's things into storage so the woman can get rid of them.  But when they are unloading the stuff, they find an unexpected item, a bloody human finger.  Worse yet, the finger has their high school class ring on it.  Did the finger belong to one of their friends?

I must admit I was a little hesitant about the book for a couple of reasons.  I thought I might find two guys with dead end jobs a little depressing.  And I was expecting much more language, drinking, and sex than I normally like.  I was right on both fronts, although the sex was mainly left off the page (thankfully).

But I also found a very intriguing mystery.  I really didn't know much more about the story than what I have shared before I started reading, and I'm very glad for that.  It twisted places I never expected with several intense scenes along the way.  I did guess a few things before James and Skip figured them out, but was along for the ride and really didn't care.

The more I read, the more Skip and James grew on me.  We are given quite a bit of back story on them, but it is given to us in small, entertaining batches, which keeps it from slowing things down.  As a result of all this, I really liked them.  We meet another few interesting characters along the way, several of whom I hope will be back in future books.  I felt like we had real characters here, even with the characters who didn't have much page time.

Skip narrates the story, so that made it very easy to keep our main characters separate in my mind early.  It was interesting watching the dynamics in their relationship change as the book progressed.  I am not sure if that will carry over to book two, but it worked well to propel the story forward here.

Stuff to Die For introduced me to two new friends I know I will be catching up with again in the near future.

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