Book Review: Nameless Dame by Bart Schneider

This book has received a lot of harsh reviews on Goodreads, and I’m glad I hadn’t read them and picked it up anyway.

It’s a little different, quirky if you will. The P.I. isn’t really in work mode — he’s on vacation. He gets asked informally to look into things, but most of the characters are pretty stoned most of the time, so it’s not an insistent request. Which is maybe where the book gets its bad reviews. It’s not as much traditional mystery or even traditional private dick yarn as it is a noirish tale with a dead girl in it.

See, there’s a poetry prophet who used to be a homicide cop. And there’s his wife, the ex-con. And there’s a ultra-conservative pot rancher. And a Indian deputy who’s into art. And a Russian bartender who also hunts mushrooms. I get that all sounds too quirky and too crazy, but for me, it totally worked.

I liked the meandering plot because it seemed to fit the people and the town, which reminded me of a California version of Belfast, Maine. I didn’t mind the poetry outbursts — in fact, I found them kind of endearing and I’m not great fan of most poetry.

Pros: The quirky characters, the mellow vibe, and the beautiful setting.

Cons: Some people may be put off by the pot and the politics.