Witty, intrepid Reed Ferguson is a wannabe private eye with a love of film noir and crime fiction. Shortly after Reed hangs out his shingle, his first client appears. Amanda Ghering is a rich, attractive femme fatale who hires Reed to find her missing husband.
It doesn’t take long before Reed realizes that all is not as it seems, and he is quickly thrust into a dark and daring investigation.
Channeling his cinematic hero, Humphrey Bogart, Reed finds himself after an elusive, sinister group with their own brand of vigilante justice.
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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies successfully infuses gritty noir with humor and a splash of pop culture, mixing a delightful cocktail that really hits the spot. With fairly high marks across the board, especially in Style/Technique, Renée Pawlish delivers a clever story layered with suspense, demanding the reader’s attention.
The main character, Reed Ferguson, embodies his black and white heroes—private eyes from the silver screen, with a modern spin. Although not completely helpless, Reed’s first client—damsel in distress Amanda Ghering—is difficult to work for. Even when sober, her secrets require Reed to seek the help of close friends to unveil the story behind her story.
Having lived in Denver for a couple of years, the setting really brought me back. Along with the characters, these little details made me feel like I was re-visiting the area and reinforced the believability of the story, also scoring high in Authenticity/Originality.
The copy was clean, allowing me to breeze through this novel without tripping over minor formatting issues or spelling/grammar errors that sometimes accompany self-published books. The Plot/Pacing was a perfect suit with fun twists within twists, leaving me eager to read Reed’s next big adventure.
This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies by Renee Pawlish is a story about one wannabe private-eye named Reed Ferguson. With a love of the old movies and detective shows, his favorite is The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and he plans on being another Sam Spade. When a beautiful rich woman walks into his office and hires him to find her dead husband, he can’t believe he has actually scored his first case. He soon begins to realize she is not what she pretends to be. How does she know her husband is dead? Why is she sticking with him if he is cheating on her all the time? As the lies start to pile up and her stories keep changing daily, she soon becomes more of a suspect than a client; but Reed has vowed to help her. Now with both their lives being threatened and the FBI becoming involved, are they really who they say they are?
This is one witty, hilarious detective story that will keep the reader glued to the pages till the very end. It is a very short book and can be read in a couple hours. Once I started this book, there was no putting it down till I finished it. One cannot help but like the cast of characters, especially the two brothers, Ace and Deuce, and their other brother, Bob…the sane one of the three. With plenty of twists and turns throughout the book and the added suspense to a hilarious ending, this cleanly-written cozy-type mystery will fit right in for all those who love this type of genre. As the title goes, this does not happen in the movies, but can a movie help solve the mystery?
What happens when you take an independently wealthy man with no job experience and a love of classic detective movies? You get Reed Ferguson in This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies by Renee Pawlish.
Reed is in his early thirties and although he was educated to be an attorney, he has never kept a job for long. It doesn’t help that he has just enough inheritance monies that he doesn’t really need to work. Reed is also an avid classic noir detective movie fan. After helping his father’s friend with a small investigation he decides to hang his shingle and open a private detective office. It helps that in Colorado one isn’t required to be licensed. What would any classic detective movie be without the endangered femme fatale? Enter Amanda Ghering with a sob story about her missing husband. Quickly Reed learns that life doesn’t mimic the film arts and he acknowledges he doesn’t have a clue about what he’s doing. He also quickly learns that Amanda has lied to him and there is a lot more to her “missing husband” story than initially thought. A cat-and-mouse game quickly follows between Reed, Amanda, the faux FBI, the real FBI and the nefarious and a secretive group known as the X Women.
In a lot of ways this is a coming-of-age story mixed with a mystery and filled with dark humor. Reed has never had to grow up and assume much responsibility, but now he becomes responsible for the lives of a friend, his family, and his client as well as himself. This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies isn’t a typical mystery/detective story and that makes it rather refreshing. It is precisely because Reed doesn’t know what he’s doing, makes several mistakes along the way, but grows as an individual and professional that made me want to continue reading to see what’s going to happen next. I laughed, I cringed and I enjoyed this fast-paced mystery. I look forward to reading more about Reed Ferguson’s shenanigans in the future.
This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies is a very satisfying and well-paced novel. I rarely select a front row seat when I go to the movies, but was delighted to be afforded that perspective in this gem from Renee Pawlish.
Fans of the genre enjoy figuratively donning their Sherlock hats when reading quality mysteries. Most of us like to step into the protagonist’s shoes, analyze clues, and speculate on whodunit as the plot unfolds. Generally, there is a substantial gap between the expertise of the sleuth and our rank amateur status. This is definitely not the case with Pawlish’s detective, Reed Ferguson.
The author informs us at the outset that a Colorado PI needs neither a license nor formal training. Reed’s qualifications come from being a detective film noir buff, and we meet him as he accepts his first case. By putting the reader on the same skill level as the detective, Pawlish creates common ground and establishes a solid bond. Cozy mysteries differ because their amateur sleuths are propelled into the role by circumstances. Like a reader who selects a particular book, Reed puts on his Sherlock hat by choice.
I hope you revel in the vicarious thrills as much as I did. The plot works on all levels, the supporting cast is great, and Pawlish reveals key elements of Reeds character with light brush strokes and a master’s touch.
I took a break from finishing my own book to read this one. So, I started with my editor hat on and dove into the book.
First, let me state that this genre is usually so far from the field that I normally read, that I was cynical about if I was going to finish.
I was half-way through the first chapter, when I did something that I rarely do – even when I am reading science fiction or fantasy.
I laughed out loud.
From that point on, I was hooked.
The characters are fun and believable. The story flows nicely, not getting bogged down with too much information, but just enough descriptions that you can see, with vivid details, the places the author take your through.
There is plenty of action and suspense, and is light enough to be enjoyed.
I personally love the bits and pieces of comments from the movies – it helps you to relate to the main character Reed and a believable person. I especially liked his parents, because – oh boy – are they like mine.
Overall, I’d recommend this to people that like mysteries. I’d recommend this to person that likes a good book. I’d recommend this to anyone who just wants to enjoy some quality time with quality material. But if you have a pressing engagement (like finishing writing your own book) – stay away until AFTER you finish, because once you start, you won’t be able to put this down.
John Dejordy, author