An Atomic Moo Book Review of Andrew Cartmel’s New Novel!
Andrew Cartmel’s The Vinyl Detective almost abates my hatred for hipsters. Almost. I don’t think anyone can stop hating hipsters. It’s just too easy to despise those bearded, coffee obsessed, man bun toting, shit bags that clog our beach streets with Fiats and Vespa scooters, but somehow (weirdly) Cartmel crafted a story that makes a coffee chugging – vinyl obsessed – hipster kind of cool. With a solid mystery to boot! Wow.
Written in Dead Wax begins when the nameless vinyl detective (later nicknamed “Chef”) is hired to find a rare Jazz LP by a now defunct 1950’s publishing label. Up until this point, Chef has eeked out a living by scouring London’s charity shops (I’m guessing that’s either like a pawn shop or a 2nd hand store…?) for rare records to sell online, or add to his vast collection. Then one day he is contacted by a foreign company’s very beautiful representative, Nevada, to help track down an incredibly rare jazz album, Easy Come, Easy Go, but finding the record won’t be easy. There just happen to be a pair of murderous blonde athletes also hunting the album and then there’s the dark mystery hidden in the record it self!
The thing is, I really enjoyed this book. Cartmel did a wonderful job of making his characters (though still disgustingly hipster-ish) likable and fun. Chef is an excellent detective, in a sort of not being a detective kind of way. He’s the total underdog hero, and as a geeky outsider myself, I can’t help but root for the underdog. I think the stories unique way of unfolding a mystery is also what makes the book such a great read. Written in Dead Wax takes it’s readers deep into the world of music, and (even better for geeks) collecting. I honestly have no opinion on what sounds better, CD or LP, but I’ve got a closet full of vintage Star Wars figures. I could easily tell you about the backing card, year produced, or existing variants of any of the collectible action figures (not dolls!) safely sealed away in the many containers which are piled to the ceiling in my closet. I can even spot reproductions and cheap knock offs. I don’t know why, but reading about collectors, and a mystery that goes deep into their respective world, was really refreshing. I honestly think this is one of the best mystery stories since The Big Lebowski! And yes, that was a mystery too. In fact; I’m almost willing (grudgingly) to consider the likes of Chef and Tinkler as geeks. Almost. ‘just have to lose the cats and any opinion about coffee. Seriously!? What grown man keeps cats and gives a shit about the taste of coffee!? Coffee should be black and burn just as hard going out at as it did going in! That’s it. Its there to get the job done. You drink it, stay awake, and lose a year or so of unwanted life expectancy. When I put a $1.29 of hard earned cash down on the counter for my 7-11 what ever brew, I need it to do its goddamn job of keeping me upright and lucid for the next few hours. Not brag about its “aroma”, or what part of India a child laborer had to pull it out of. Coffee should be burly, stalwart, and humble. Just like my women. ‘merica.
Anyways… I’m very much looking forward to the release of the next book (The Run-Out Groove), and even if Titan doesn’t send me a review copy I’ll probably go pick one up. Yeah, I’m willing to spend my own money on the next edition. That’s how much I enjoyed this. Below I posted a copy of The Vinyl Detectives official synopsis. However, visit Titanbooks.com to get a copy of your own.
He is a record collector — a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others.
Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording — on behalf of an extremely wealthy (and rather sinister) shadowy client.
Given that he’s just about to run out of cat biscuits, this gets our hero’s full attention. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…