Thicker Than Water

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

I want to thank Net Galley and Dandelion Ink for the ARC of this book. It is the first time I have read anything by Johnny Worthen. I procrastinate for some time after finishing this book because I knew I could not give it more than three stars.

My rating is definitely in the minority. Perhaps it was the particular place I was in mentally when I read this book, as I have read many books with irreverent protagonists. I laughed at some of the scenes and dialogue, and I understood why the author took time in the beginning to show the reader what a sarcastic slacker Tony Flaner was. I don't know why, but I never warmed up to his character enough to rate this higher. 

Worthen writes well, and as I said, there were places where I laughed aloud. That wasn't enough to cause me to up the rating. I am glad to see that so many readers awarded four and five stars. I am just not one of those for this book.
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Tony Flaner is a good character and I like the humor I got from this character. This book is a cozy mystery.  It gave me a sitting by the fire on a cold night feel while I was reading it.  I enjoyed it! There were some great twists in this book and I got some good laughs too.  It was a very good mystery.  "This book was given to me for free at my request from NetGalley and I provided this voluntary review."
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In this first-person narrative, Tony Flaner gets a call from a childhood friend in a town he'd pushed to the back of his memory. His aunt Vicky has been murdered. He can't have that; it was his aunt who took him in at the age of ten and loved and nurtured him. Her own son, Rick, was about his age. He'll return to Moab, Utah to look into it using his amazing detective super-powers.

Admittedly, this is a main character that is rather unlikable. He's irreverent, snarky, and fails badly at being a focused adult. Then the next page he reflects on how much he owes his aunt and exudes guilt. He could have, would have, should have exhibited a great deal more respect, honor, and gratitude. 

Possibly the slightly slow beginning is intentional to fix this protagonist's mindset to you. He's flippant and immature but he's serious about his aunt. Moab, not so much. The author then takes you on a mad romp in some kind of bad trip with a constant barrage of phantasm, analogies, or bits of Tony wisdom, some of which are slack-jawed funny.

Maybe you have to be on something to completely get all the dialogue. It comes at you in snappy patterns, switching references briefly mid-conversation. This is a frustrated stand-up comedian, reminding me just a little of Rodney Dangerfield. (He got no respect either.)

The author may not describe in detail what each support character looks like, but you definitely get to know them. I really enjoyed both his ex-wife, Nancy, and Allie. And Rick, poor slow Rick, is sympathetic albeit shocking at times. 

The antagonist is exposed following an eye-popping conclusion. The plot is unique, well-paced, and even at 582 pages doesn't take long to fly through. It's a fascinating train wreck with an author writing style that may grow on you too. My only problem was the occasional objectionable language and the edit misses. Still, the crazy thing leaves you with a grin on your face and a chuckle in your heart. 

I was given this digital download by the publisher through NetGalley and appreciated the new perspective on a PI mystery novel. Recommended for those who enjoy a distinctive MC, plot, and scenic locale. 4.5/5
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The author is trying to write in a messy comedy style, but unfortunately it's only stupid. If you like nonsense, this is a book for you.
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I loved this book. I loved the humour, the well written characters and the style of writing.
The plot is full of twists and turns and it never bores.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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