W hen Sam Kornberg’s wife, Lala, walks out on him, he’s an unemployed used-book store clerk and failed experimental novelist with a broken heart. Desperate to win her back, he takes a job as assistant detective to the enigmatic Solar Lonsky, a private eye who might be an eccentric and morbid genius or just a morbidly obese madman.
It’s a simple tail job, following a beautiful and mysterious lady around L.A., but Sam soon finds himself helplessly falling for his quarry and hopelessly entangled in a murder case involving Satanists, succubi, underground filmmakers, Hollywood bigshots, Mexican shootouts, video-store geekery, and sexy doppelgangers from beyond the grave. A case that highlights the risks of hardcore reading and mourns the death of the novel—or perhaps just the decline of Western Civilization.
Mystery Girl is a thriller about the dangers of marriage and a detective story about the unsolvable mysteries of love, art, and other people.
“Some things are inexplicable. The human heart is one. Los Angeles is another. In his latest whodunit, Gordon (‘The Serialist’) takes on both with an LA noir reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy [in which] a failed experimental novelist, Sam Kornberg must track a mystery woman through LaLa land psych wards and late-night jaunts to Mexico.” —New York Post, Required Reading
“David Gordon has written a passionate love story disguised as a mystery, a brainy tragicomedy, a bildungsroman wherein ‘the gumshoe learns the shocking secret of himself.’ His prose is by turns salacious, uproarious, and happily unhinged. A total delight.” —Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“I’m a Lebowski, you’re a Lebowski, and fans of the famous Coen Brothers film may find many of their favorite aspects mirrored in this dark comedy…An unpredictable farce.” —Kirkus
“[Raymond] Chandler’s shadow hangs over [Mystery Girl], as do the literary shades of Proust, Beckett, and Pynchon, and the equally strong cinematic influences of the Hitchcock of Vertigo and the Welles of Touch of Evil. The book is filled with literary and cinematic references… Gordon’s appealing wit and obvious intellect propel this gripping tale to a finely wrought and mostly unexpected conclusion.” —Booklist
“Both funny and frantic, complex and crazy, Gordon includes characters from every genre (underground and dark Coen Brothers films figure in the plot). [Mystery Girl] will appeal to readers of thrillers, cult film stories, and absurdist fiction.” —Library Journal
“I have rarely come across a writer in such command of the English language. His sentences, characterizations and set pieces are things of beauty.” —Washington Independent Review of Books
“This novel is awesome, phenomenal, incredible, mind-blowing, and overwhelming.” —Rock Hard Press
“We have here a love story (two, actually), a dark comedy and some darn fine suspense, as well. David Gordon is an astute observer of the Los Angeles scene, a natural storyteller and an all-around funny guy. Mystery Girl deserves to be at the top of your reading list.” —Bookpage, Top Pick selection
“Reading Gordon’s newest novel, Mystery Girl (New Harvest), is like talking to him in person: You don’t want the anecdotes to end; you could soak up his effortlessly paired humor and wisdom forever. It’s part mystery, part love story, wholly delightful.” —Bustle.com
“A thriller about the dangers of marriage and a detective story about the unsolvable mysteries of love, art, and other people.” —CriminalElement.com
“This book surprised me in all the right ways.” —Shelf Inflicted
“In this smart, witty novel by David Gordon you can expect to be taken on a ride not only in plot, but by a style that is delivered with authentic prose and perfectly placed comedic timing. The main character’s sense of humor, self-deploring behavior and ‘the world is a weird place’ observations will make pulp fiction fans snort with glee.” —Bitsy Bling Blog
“Mystery Girl is funnier, sadder, and smarter than seems mathematically possible: Dashiell Hammett divided by Don DeLillo, to the power of Dostoevsky – yet still pure David Gordon.” —Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
“Mystery Girl is hilarious, sad, and a little bit horny. David Gordon somehow synthesizes every part of the human condition – from the sublime to the humiliating – into one whip-smart voice. Like Muriel Spark and John Fante, he’s the genius who you never want to shut up.” —Jay Caspian Kang, author of The Dead Do Not Improve
“Reading David Gordon is pure pleasure. He’s one of the smartest, most stylish writers I’ve ever come across, a gifted storyteller whose work perfectly combines an incredibly sharp wit with moments of real transcendent beauty.” —Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles
“Perfect for the summer, I picked it up Sunday morning and didn’t stop until it ended, which meant I skipped swimming, strawberries, and a hike, but it was absolutely worth it. I’m having a hard time shaking the bittersweet humor and surprising tenderness.” —Unabridged Chick
“…a darkly comic, stylish literary thriller…” —The Associated Press
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