Book Review: Wayzata
Author: Ted Korsmo Release Date: 31st July, 2014 Series: None Genre: Mystery | Crime | Suspense | Relationships | Contemporary Fiction Edition: Kindle (mobi) Pages: 178 Publisher: Self-Published Source: Author (Thanks Ted!) Buy it here: Amazon
A detective. A millionaire. A millionaire’s wife.
A mistress. Hijinks and tragedy ensue.
Set in the late 1930s in Wayzata, a rural, resort suburb of Minneapolis, Detective Carroll LaRue has quit his badge, picked up stakes and put a haunted past in Hollywood behind him — that, and his fellow officers of the LAPD kept mistaking him for a perp. LaRue has exchanged hilltops and orange groves for a hardscrabble, hand-to-mouth existence in the blue-gray Midwest. Taking dirty pictures through windows, even if the people aren’t movie stars? It might not be sexy, but it’s a living.
“Wayzata” pays homage — hell, it outright steals — from the Holy Trinity of pulp fiction writers: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and James V. Cain. Funny, tough, with chapters built to be read in airports, bus depots, and train stations. Or performed at family gatherings.
The storyline is best described as Sam Spade meets the Coen brothers. The action in the story was slow to get started. It took me a month to read half of the book. Then the action started happening, and I finished the second half in less than a day. Usually if a book is that difficult to keep my interest in the first few chapters, it goes on the DNF pile. However, for Wayzata, I was interested enough in the characters to find out the answers to my questions. I wanted to know what were the secrets they were trying to hide.
Was it really as bad as they were making it out to be? Or were they exaggerating in melodramatic fashion?.
A gold digger. A mistress. A philandering husband. A private detective trying to expose all their secrets.
I felt some ambivalence towards the characters. Besides Carroll LaRue, the rest were amoral and it was hard for me to relate with them.
I could not muster any feeling for Mavis because she did not see anything wrong with having an affair with a married man since they were supposedly in love. I should have had sympathy for Sam (short for Samantha), but it seemed that she only married Leslie for his money. Lastly, Leslie was apologetically cheating on his wife, like that was what a rich man was obligated to do.
As a detective, LaRue did not seem to have a lot of skill. Or maybe he was adept at pretending to be the aloof guy? I cannot make up my mind. He would ask vague questions that alluded to the fact that he might know more than he did. The person would usually tell everything they knew. Was that realistic? I thought that detectives were usually more perceptive than that.
I would not classify LaRue’s infatuation with Mavis as romance. Other than that, there are no romantic elements.
On the other hand, there are several killings in the book. Nothing is graphic though. The author focused on the suspense as to why the killings happened instead of getting into any gruesome, gory detail.
The writing is straightforward, told from LaRue’s point of view, giving an account of what he does every day in trying to investigate his case. He uses some colorful, descriptive metaphors which were humorous. As well, there are pages of inner dialogue where I think that LaRue explains how one situation reminds him of something that happened in the past. While I think that was to give the reader insight into LaRue’s personality, he droned on too much at times for me. I wondered if what he was saying was going to be essential to figuring out who was the true villain. When I realized it did not have more to do with the story’s conflict, the more impatient I would get. I think that is why Wayzata was hard for me to read at first.
People who enjoy pulp fiction genre books will probably appreciate and enjoy the writing style more than I did.
The beginning starts off well, getting right into action, laying a good foundation to spark your interest.
I felt the same way I did at the end of the movie No Country for Old Men. Do some people get what they deserve? Yes. Is there justice for everyone? Not enough, in my opinion.
The blurb was succinct but interesting. I think the author overstates the romance aspect, but I doubt that saying “falling in lust” sounds as interesting.
The cover art helped to set the scene and tone of the time period for the story. I think because of the cover, I imagined the story as happening in black and white.
Opening line: Just wait ‘til you see it. Ho Boy, you’ve never seen people so lucky.
Highlights: Complex plot with plenty of twists.
The most attractive thing about her was her voice: Sweet as a civil war era port and smoky as a casino’s back room.
A wife is only practice for the next mistress.
Final Thoughts: The story is slow getting started, but ends with a bang.
I work in an office. Outside of work, I participate on several non-profit boards and volunteer time as a life skills mentor. One of my favorite past times is reading, especially romance genre. I also enjoy writing, travelling, and trying new experiences with my hubby.
I write poetry when inspiration moves me. My hubby and I try to travel a new location each year. I have a goal each year to try something that I have not tried before. Because of that goal, I have ran various types of 5k races, started playing tennis, and attended numerous wine tastings.
You can read more about Amaryllis here.