Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Casebook, A Novel and a Giveaway

Do you enjoy reading novels narrated by kids? Do you especially love those smart, snarky kids who talk to you or to themselves throughout the book, dragging you right into the middle of the action? I am thinking of stories like the Flavia deLuce novels by Alan Bradley or, perhaps, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" by Mark Haddon. Did you fall head over heels for Paloma, the teenage narrator of  Muriel Barbery's "The Elegance of the Hedgehog?"

If so, you are in for a treat from award winning writer Mona Simpson, whose new novel "Casebook" comes out this month. I was able to read an advanced copy from Library Journal and my review was published March 15th. It begins like this:

Miles Adler prides himself on being a snoop, but after wiring a secret phone extension under the master bed, he overhears a conversation between his parents that turns his stomach. His perfect folks are soon to become a divorce statistic, and if Miles is to stay apprised of the situation, he has no choice but to continue spying. Monitoring his mom's emails is easy; keeping his overactive imagination in check is not.

Like all kids with over-the-top imaginations, Miles and his best buddy Hector, consider themselves brilliant spies. They are writing a graphic novel of spy craft based upon their observations of Miles' mom as she struggles to create a new life for herself after the breakup of her marriage.

You see, she's been swept off her feet by an odd little man named Eli Lee who has so many secrets that the boys' suspicions compel them to hire a private investigator to look into Eli's murky background. Using their wits and taking advantage of the fact that their folks are too busy with their own problems to pay much attention, the boys do some hilarious footwork before they approach the detective.

Suspend disbelief and roll with the idea that this private dick would actually contract with two middle-school boys to unearth the truth about a potential suitor. This novel is cleverly written, full of authenticity and heart. In my review I defied readers not to fall half in love with the precocious nine-year-old Miles as he navigates his awkward teen years, walking that tightrope between his mom and dad, accepting that they will not be reuniting but that they may actually remain friends.

I loved this novel and hope you will to. Fortunately, my editor sent me a completed hardcover copy of the book that I'd like to share with you. Have you read other novels by Mona Simpson? Have you heard any scuttlebutt about the new book? Comment or send me your name and address and I will mail "Casebook" to you asap. If you're shy about public commenting then please email me at I enjoy getting the chance to share.


Linda said...

Well, I read "Anywhere But Here" way back in my bookstore days. Looking at the 1987 edition I have on my bookshelves, I see that I have a signed copy! (I still can't believe Simpson is Steve Jobs' half-sister.) I thought "Anywhere" dragged a bit, but this one sounds intriguing.

Sallyb said...

Linda, you win! Have you ever read My Hollywood? I have a copy laying around (or is it lying?) somewhere here. I'll get the book to you. Good excuse to have lunch?

Linda said...

Sally, I just received the ARC Simpson in the mail today. Thank you! I wish I'd seen your comment above earlier because I would definitely say "yes" to lunch. If you're not assuming your snowbird status too soon, let's do it. I'll email you.