Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: The Travel Writer - a Mystery by Jeff Soloway

Jacob Smalls is a sympathetic enough main character. He is a travel writer mooning over his last great love Pilar who is in NYC to hold a press conference on the disappearance of Hilary Pearson from her hotel in Bolivia. Pilar invites him back to Bolivia with the promise of a free trip to the hotel she works at in exchange for a puff piece. Jacob sees it as an invitation to poke around looking for Hilary as well.

"What makes you think you can find her?" she asked. "The FBI couldn't. You're just a guidebook writer." (Hilary's boss to Jacob location 323)

Jacob reluctantly acquires a sidekick named Kenny who was a gofer in Hilary's office and is like an over aged adolescent in all the wrong ways. Gangly and clumsy in both word and deed. Jacob feels he has to take him under his wing to keep Kenny from getting himself killed or worse while he pursues his dream of rescuing Hilary and his non-existent relationship with her.

Together Jacob and Kenny solve the mystery of what happened to Hilary Pearson. Along the way, the author throws in a lot of information about what it's like to be a travel writer. He definitely knows his stuff when it comes to travel writing - he was formerly a travel writer and editor himself.

I liked Jacob, but Kenny not so much. He really irritated me. I think he was supposed to help provide comic relief, but for me, he just provided irritation. Jacob has a nice way about him describing the scenes and a sort of self deprecating sense of humor.

As for the mystery itself, it starts out really good, but kind of peters out. It seems to wrap up rather quickly at the end. It's still worth reading, but it's not the best one I've ever read. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. It was ok, I liked it, but I wasn't in love with it.

This book was published June 3, 2014 by Alibi.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.