I almost feel guilty writing this review. To an extent, it’s a minor exercise in vindictiveness.
But I’m pretty sure I disliked the book before I figured out I didn’t care much for the author, either. So bear that in mind when evaluating my evaluation.
Death in Nostalgia City is the story of Lyle Deming, a burned-out former policeman who’s found a much more pleasant niche for himself. He drives a vintage taxi cab in Nostalgia City, a theme park in Arizona designed to recreate the Baby Boomers’ childhoods. So he’s reluctant to get involved when the park’s tycoon owner asks him to investigate a series of acts of sabotage in the park. The owner is in a precarious financial situation, and if these incidents impact the business, the evil insurance company that holds his notes may foreclose on it.
I fear that the main reason I actually read this book through to the end was so I could honestly tell you how much it annoyed me. I found the writing… slack. Not awful (though it does include infelicitous sentences like, “’Let’s see who our guests are,’ Lyle said, nodding toward the wallet he’d extracted from the wounded man.’” Extracted? With a surgical instrument, perhaps?), just not at all gripping. The dialogue has zero sparkle or wit. The characters are cardboard, and they all talk alike. The plot tension fails to ratchet up until the very end. And the villains are predictable (except for one surprise, which I’ll admit did fool me).
As icing on the cake, progressive political opinions find their way into the story in a couple places. Which will play well with some audiences, of course.
Anyway, I don’t recommend this book, but it doesn’t cost much, if you want to double-check my prejudiced verdict.