Review: Is Fat Bob Dead Yet?

Every couple years I like to check in on Stephen Dobyns. He seems to have made himself a nice career writing interesting crime fiction, including at least one mystery series. Not surprising given that his debut, The Church of Dead Girls fits into that broad category. Girls impressed me with what it hangs off that structure and he generally has something up his sleeve.

Which brings me to Is Fat Bob Dead Yet? It starts off as a crime drama/mystery in the style of Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiaasen. Splashy murder, bombastic characters, lots of organized crime vibes. A good time. But at some point Dobyns starts talking directly to his reader in a way that is more conversational. It’s a nice bit of writing. I mean there was a narrator there the whole time, but there’s a slow shift that imbues that narrator with some character that draws attention to the fact that the reader is being told a story.

Dobyns manages an interesting balance of that metafictive storytelling and entertaining potboiler. I’m not blown away by either side of the approach, but I can’t complain either. The characters are engaging and I wanted to see how it all turned out.


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