River Heights Book Review

The books you'll want to read.


OF DAHLIA MOSS by Max Wirestone
Redhook Books
October 20, 2015

26-year-old Dahlia Moss has been unemployed for a very long time, so when Jonah Long offers her $2,000 to recover the Bejeweled Spear of Infinite Piercing—a digital weapon stolen from his character in the online role-playing game Kingdoms of Zoth—she accepts. But then Jonah turns up dead (fatally pierced by a real-world copy of the Spear), the police and the Long family lawyer come calling, and Dahlia finds herself involved in a mystery even stranger (and more dangerous) than the one she signed on for.

Do you lament the lack of geek-centric crime fiction? Then Max Wirestone’s THE UNFORTUNATE DECISIONS OF DAHLIA MOSS is the book for you. Wirestone’s debut reads like THE GUILD by way of THE SPELLMAN FILES with a dash of THE MIDDLEMAN thrown in for good measure. The plot is bugnuts, the premise is inspired, and the fact that a good chunk of the book takes place inside Zoth allows Wirestone to have a ridiculous amount of fun with the book’s setting, characters, action, and dialogue. The prose is smart, stylish, and liberally sprinkled with references to everything from Pokémon to Encyclopedia Brown. Dahlia’s narration is delightfully snarky and occasionally bears a frightening resemblance to my own internal monologue. I laughed aloud while reading more times than I can count. And if all that’s not enough, the mystery at the heart of the tale is compelling, to boot.

When I started THE UNFORTUNATE DECISIONS OF DAHLIA MOSS, I wondered if perhaps it was trying too hard; I soon came to realize, though, that my brain just needed a few chapters to adjust to the awesome. Once I’d fallen under Wirestone’s spell, there was no setting down the book until I’d finished. Hurry up and read it, won’t you? I need somebody to keep me company while I pine for Dahlia’s next adventure.


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This entry was posted on September 9, 2015 by in Crime Fiction, Reviews and tagged , , , .
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