This first in a new series by E.J. Copperman opens with the last two pages in the newest book by author Rachel Goldman, which is to be the fifth in her Duffy Madison series. Duffy is the consultant to the county prosecutor’s office, whose forte is finding missing persons. Thinking back on the origin of her fictional character, she ruminates that she “flashed on the idea of a consultant to the police, a very specific kind of genius who would be able to find lost things and, more important, lost people when the authorities could not.”
Just as she is finishing the first draft of her crime novel, the fifth entry in the series, she gets a phone call from a stranger asking for help in a missing person case. The odd thing about it? Her protagonist suddenly appears to have come to life when her caller identifies himself as Duffy Madison. Convinced, as wouldn’t we all be, that the man had serious mental problems, she hangs up on him. Only to have him approach her soon afterwards at a booksigning, insisting that he is indeed her protagonist, her creation, having come to life before her very eyes, and that he is indeed Duffy Madison. He tells her that he is “not someone with the same name and profession as your fictional character . . . it’s’ not a pretense. I really am Duffy Madison, and after gathering all the facts about your work that I could find, I believe that, somehow, you created me.” He appears to have come to life four years ago, when she started writing him, with no sign that he existed prior to that.
As odd, one might even say weird, as that may seem (and Rachel is convinced that the man is mad - - and who could blame her?), Duffy [he insists that that’s his name] explains that he is looking into the recent disappearance of a woman who happens to also be a mystery writer, the fourth female mystery author to have been kidnapped in the recent past, all in different states, this one being the first in New Jersey, all three later found murdered. For some reason Rachel has acceded to accompany him in his investigation, despite being quite certain that he was only an “odd manifestation of a fictional character.” And things take an ever stranger turn when Rachel gets threatening e-mails indicating that she is next on the killer’s list.
This could only be an E.J. Copperman creation, as any reader of the author’s Asperger’s and Haunted Ghosthouse series can attest. There is a mystery here, and quite creative and suspenseful it is, but the overriding aspect of this book is the author’s singular and trademark humor. I can attest to the fact that every page, and nearly every sentence, of this delightful book is laugh-out-loud funny, and the smile almost never left my face for the two days it took me to read it. It is simply terrific, and is highly recommended....Continua