This blazing hot and overcast afternoon I finished Dirty Deeds by Armand Rosamilia. It is another book that is different from my usual go-tos. Another small press publisher / self-published effort that I have enjoyed. I did not know what to expect, honestly, but the author photo was of him with a beard and described him as enjoying metal [music] and baseball and being from New Jersey. So, I knew this guy was probably pretty cool. Seriously. Do not mock the 45+ year olds who love baseball and metal; we are cooler than you kids will ever be. I saw 40 awhile ago, have scruff on my chin and I love metal and baseball, and I am from New York. Even if Rosamilia’s book was trash, we would still be pals.
Do not worry! Dirty Deeds was not trash! It was one of the more enjoyable and fun reads I have read in awhile. The evening I started reading this, I read the first forty-seven pages and was pretty amused and interested in the storyline. I mean, I had the book in the house since February [its nearly August], but I have so many books to get to! Its really nice when you can finish a book and then the next one is precisely the sort of thing your mood-level wants to be reading. This one started off in media res and moved really quickly! Five pages in, the main character was in the back of a police car.
Most of the other reviews that I glanced at had some minor comments about how the overarching plotline is kind of unrealistic. Well, sure it is; if you want realistic – read non-fiction. I admit a small measure of suspension of disbelief is needed for this, but again, I would not expect that to be any issue at all for a reader. The concept of this novel (and series) is that the main character is rather one-of-a-kind and the work is unbelieveable. I am so very thankful to have read a novel where there was something unique and new and interesting instead of the usual plots and settings.
I really like the main character, too. Although, yeah, there are times I want to deck him. I wish he would take better care of what he eats – he’s a stress eater – and would maybe think about fitness a little (or at all). I like his honesty and his confusion and his skewed morality and his confidence. Instead of being the Hero Skilled at Everything, he is a bit of an Everyman who just happens to have a very unusual life. Now, in the early parts of the novel, I felt the main character was a bit too smooth, too perfect an operator. By mid-book, we see this guy knows what he is doing, but maybe does not handle so many changes and abrupt shocks all at once. I like that he is honest about it – his hands shake, he buys baskets-full of junkfood from gas stations. He copes.
If I had any direct complaint about the novel it is that maybe here and there are a few awkward constructions or elements that do not work as well in my eyes as they did coming from the author’s fingertips onto the keyboard. No big deal. These did not have any ultimate effect on the story whatsoever, but they did sometimes speed-bump the reading a bit. Just sentences that did not flow correctly.
Besides the relatively unique concept for the series, I really like all the other constructions. I love that the main character has a side-business that he would rather be his main business, which is selling/trading Baseball Cards. Its such a fantastic idea for a story – and it fits so absolutely perfectly with the main character and the concept of this book. This is a really great idea and I wanted to high-five the author about it. Yeah, yeah, I know not everyone has a concept of baseball card collecting/selling. I also know that not everyone truly, really understands baseball. But for those of us who do, who remember those 70s, 80s, 90s baseball cards…. man, this book is a real treat. Lots of nostalgic moments here – those outrageous 1990 Donruss cards with the RED border! Or those 1982 Topps cards that looked so 80s! Or, my favorite, those amazingly ugly 1975 Topps Rookie Cards – by position, with the four pictures on the front!
I will stop now.
Anyway, toward the end of the novel, I felt the storyline was getting a little wonky. I mean, it seemed the main character was spending a lot of time in the backseat of cars being driven here and there after flying to all these cities – but nothing was really happening. Also, some of these cities were in different time zones and some of the timeline just seemed too condensed. I know the author was really trying to press his character – put the squeeze on from a variety of angles and never letting the reader know who the real bad guys were. However, maybe it needed to decompress here and there.
Yes, the ending is a helluva cliffhanger. Obviously, the author did this on purpose to set up the direction for the next book, which he hopes you will buy. Some readers took issue with this. I guess they felt it too obvious. I am fine with the way this ended – it is very much open ended, no closure, but so what? Continuation in a series is a tactic and it beats all the fake “tied-up-in-a-neat-package” endings that sometimes we readers suffer through. Besides, I have read a lot of PKD novels – those are some choppy ended novels.
So, I had a lot of fun with this one. I enjoyed nostalgia. I like the main character. The story is very fast-paced and easy-going. I recommend this to readers who want to enjoy what they read and can be content with popcorn, a Coca-Cola, and an engaging crime novel. I do own the second in the series and intend to read it and I am interested in maybe trying out some of the author’s other work.