BOOK REVIEW: ‘Getting Lucky’: Don’t Get Mad, Get Even Caper Novel Combines Comedy, Suspense

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'Getting Lucky': Don't Get Mad, Get Even Caper Novel Combines Comedy, Suspense

The old saying “don’t get mad, get even” is the foundation for DC Brod’s new novel “Getting Lucky” (Tyrus Books, an imprint of F+W Crime, 336 pages, $24.95)  her sequel to 2010’s “Getting Sassy.”

Both novels fall into the sub-genre of crime fiction called comic caper novels and feature freelance journalist Robyn Guthrie who lives in a fictional far western Chicago suburb  named Fowler that sounded a lot like St. Charles, Illinois to me. (The author confirmed that Fowler is based on St. Charles, where she and her husband live, but with artistic license liberally exercised).

I read “Getting Lucky” in the standard book form and read “Getting Sassy” in a free Kindle download to my iPad2 (sorry, it was a limited time only deal!). Read “Getting Sassy” and you’ll discover the origin of the phrase “getting somebody’s goat.”  Robyn Guthrie is a likeable protagonist and — if there is any justice in the world of publishing (there isn’t!) — I predict a string of “Getting Even” novels from the computer of Deb Brod. Tyrus Books is a publisher new to me and I’ve got upcoming reviews of other books from the Cincinnati-based publisher.

DC Brod

DC Brod

When a young reporter named Clair Powell is killed in a hit and run accident, freelance writer Robyn Guthrie agrees to finish one of the stories the reporter had been writing for the Fowler News & Record, a weekly newspaper. What seems like a tragic accident morphs into a complicated plot as Robyn delves into the details of Clair’s death. A “Green” affordable  housing development named Cedar Ridge that Clair was writing about jumps to center stage, especially after a mysterious, sinister investigator asks Clair’s editor what the late reporter was working on.

Among the complicating factors are Robyn’s mother, Lizzie, who’s the queen (in her mind) of Dryden Manor, the retirement home where she’s living. Lizzie Guthrie wants to buy a house they can share, but Robyn cherishes her independence and her apartment above a picture framing store in downtown Fowler suits her fine. She’s within easy walking distance of her favorite coffee shop, the Twisted Lizard, as well as her favorite bar, Fingal’s Tap  — “not necessary in that order” Robyn tells us in this first person narrative.

I wouldn’t call Mick Hughes, Robyn’s sometime boyfriend and all-the-time accountant, a complicating factor, but sometimes he is. Freelance writers really need accountants to keep their finances straight, and Mick is a guy who knows everybody. Mick’s a former jockey who became a CPA after a horse crushed his leg.     Cedar Ridge quickly becomes the center of the plot, if only it’s being built on land formerly owned by a mobbed up guy. To reveal any more would be a spoiler on a grand scale, so I won’t.
 If you’ve missed the comic caper novels of the late, great Donald E. Westlake as much as I have, “Getting Lucky” and “Getting Sassy” will appeal to you. Brod’s writing is good and her characters jump off the page.
Speaking of which, another author suggested that I check out a website that allows armchair casting directors to pick out actors and actresses to play characters in the books they are reading. The site iswww.storycasting.com. Try it! If you’re like me, you often visualize who would best portray characters in a book that you’re translating in your mind to the big screen.

About the author   DC Brod, AKA Deborah (Deb) Cobban Brod,  says on her website (www.dcbrod.com)  “I was born quite a while ago. Sometime around the middle of the last century. Before President Kennedy was assassinated but after the bomb fell on Hiroshima. I grew up in LaGrange, Illinois. My husband, Don, and I live in St. Charles, Illinois. The Fox River runs through it. Nice place to live. Two cats live with us: Skye and Jura. My husband likes the convenience of cats. He is allergic to them, so he gets props for agreeing to two in the house. (The deal was two cats or one dog.)”  DC  has master’s degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.   Reviewer’s Note: Skye and Jura are two islands in the Hebrides group in Scotland, one of DC’s favorite places. George Orwell (real name Eric Blair)  wrote his novel “1984” while living on Jura after World War II.
Publisher’s website: www.tyrusbooks.com

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