Leder’s black comic caper tells the tall tale of estranged brothers Mike and Dan Miller—accountant and con-man talent agent respectively—up to their necks in the virtual quicksand of LA’s San Fernando Valley during the hottest summer in Southern California history.
The root cause of their problems could be the missing seventy-five thousand dollars, or the sadistic, loan shark dwarf and his vicious giant, or the psycho comedian cop on the case, or the coke-snorting dentist, or the deranged zombie real estate developer. Or perhaps it’s the poodle—the poodle is suspect, no doubt. Or maybe it’s the grocery store checker who breathes life into death. Oh yes, it could be her too.
And so to repair the head-on collision the Millers have made of their personal and professional lives, the brothers summon their mother back from the dead to clean up the wreckage. But what the Miller men discover is that screwing with the laws of nature is forever and always a violent, bloody, hysterical, and hilarious idea.
Overview (No Spoilers):
As my very first early review, Let there be Linda by Rich Leder will be officially released July 1st 2016. Despite horror thriller genre not typically being one I actively seek out, my interest in the book was piqued after having been pitched the book ‘as Monty Python meets Quentin Tarantino and all hell breaks loose.’ Thus after receiving the ebook, I promptly dove into the lives of the Miller brothers and the mess they promptly find themselves. Humor is such a fascinating concept due to the range of topics in which people find absolute hilarity, where as others do not. Therefore, I should probably preface my review with the fact that I find people’s lives falling apart, especially in the financial realm to be less than humorous, even though in books and movies I know that it is meant to be funny. Usually I can play along and still understand/appreciate how the writer and audience intended or , or in the case of the latter, find the situations comical. Remember Identity Theft, with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy? I spent most of the movie feeling increasingly uncomfortable rather than laughing, as my brothers easily laughed throughout. Similarly, I had flashbacks to that movie as the everyday lives of these characters fell more and more apart with every turn of the page in Let there be Linda. I can recognize the fact that the witty humor was indeed present, and that probably most people will find the bad luck surrounding these characters in surmounting sidesplitting relief. As such, if you’re someone that is drawn to these situations in movies or books, you’ll love the mounting tribulations experienced by these unfortunate characters. Overall, Let there be Linda was filled with misfortune, blood and gore, along side witty comedic twists as all the character quickly becoming irrevocably intertwined in a clever twist of fates with selfish greed at the heart of their ultimate motive.
Additional Insight (Contains Spoilers):
I felt as though the overarching writing style was cleverly written to mirror that of Detective Shuler’s attempted comic routine. As with Shuler’s comic routine, the intertwined stories of the dentist, the zombie, the agent, the giant, the perverted clown, the accountant, and the other characters in this twisted thriller became more bizarre as the tale progressed. Just as in Shuler’s comic routine, in which he employed the ‘thought that great comedic stories should have three loose ends,’ Let there be Linda also has three main loose ends that the reader is left pondering about. Listed below are my main three loose ends as well as a few other comments or questions I was left with.
- What happened to Jenny? Did Danny end up with her? What was the ménage à trois ultimatum between her and the brothers all about? How did she get her power? Did she bring her mom back again? Why did she continually more sexual as the story progressed, I’m assuming it had to do with every time she used her power. However, in that context she claimed that she brought her mom back dozens of times so that theory doesn’t quite hold. I feel like the veil surrounding this character was never adequately lifted or resolved for the reader to fully grasp her personality other than being a mysterious enigma.
- What happened to the dentist, Dr. Greenburg and his sword toting girlfriend, Ramona? Based on Shuler’s confession, will they be hunted down for the death of Omar and Harvey? Also, what happens when it is discovered that Dr. Greenburg’s wife is missing? Why didn’t they call the cops after his wife was mauled to death by the dog? I wasn’t sure why they had to cover up her death. Frankly, there were several times throughout the book that the cops were not called that left me puzzled. Such as when Judd tied up Mike or for that matter, when he was kidnapped Mike and branded him. I was relieved when Mike ended up suing his former employers for wrongful termination, due to most of the book I was left pondering why that wasn’t his initial reaction. I also thought he should have probably ditched his wife, in contrast to the actual ending, because what person abandons her husband when his life is being threatened, begins to plan a new life half way across the country with her parents, and on top of everything else then proceeds to brag about going out on a date less than a week later with a stranger her mother set her up with? Mike’s digression into mayhem and misfortune all seemed rather forced, however the worse case scenarios was prevalent throughout the book.
- What will happen to Shuler? Was he being arrested for killing the dog while on stage? Was he being arrested for being a corrupt cop, more interested in obtaining comedic material than his civic duties? Will his confessions put all of the characters behind bars? In general, none of the characters, other than Mike and Linda (original) seemed to be ‘good people.’ Maybe Ramona or Jenny could be added to that category, however all of the other main characters made terrible life decisions, even before the initial events of the book to set themselves up in dire financial straits with potential hazardous implications on their wellbeing.
- Surprisingly, Paul the Perverted Clown became one of my favorite characters by the end of the book. He is crude, brash and perverted, however he is unapologetically so, to the point of entertainment.
- Omar and Harvey were quite the evil duo. I found their fate quite satisfying from a readers perspective, however I really wanted Omar to grow a backbone and betray Harvey.
Thanks for reading my book, Sarah. So happy to be a part of your excellent blog today. Lots of cringing in LET THERE BE LINDA, I agree. But lots of laughs too. I’m glad you (mostly) had fun.
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Thanks Rich for letting me read your book early! What did you think of my Additional Insight section? You don’t have to answer any of my actual questions but what do you think of them in general? Was I right about the three loose ends? 😀
Jenny is a loose end, no doubt about it. Gary Shuler would have been a loose end even if I’d tied him up in a nice, neat bow. Greenburg and Ramona seemed like soulmates to me. Individually, they’re loose ends, of course. But together their path is clear–no matter what the heck happens to them after the book ends.
I love that pervert clown too.
Many thanks, Sarah.
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Wow! That is a lot of loose ends! I think you did a good job of separating your personal tastes from examining the book critically.
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Thanks Linda! I really struggled to convey my conflicting feeling regarding this book.