Mystery Debut of the Month | February 1, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Guillebeau, Michael. Josh Whoever. Five Star: Gale Cengage. Mar. 2013. 284p. ISBN 9781432826840. $25.95. M

Josh was an army veteran, but a maneuver-turned-massacre cover-up threw him into a hero’s harsh spotlight. After walking away from it all, Josh, who’s been pulling scams for a living, takes refuge in the bottle and tries to stay invisible. But his latest con puts him in the sights of a Russian mob family convinced that he is a private detective—and the only one who can find missing reality star Kiev Romanov. As Josh digs at this mystery, he is joined by unemployed newspaper editor Marci, who’s hoping to use this scoop to relaunch her writing career, and Kiev’s killer brother, Yuri, who believes he is Batman. In pursuit of the heiress, Josh uses his con man skills and tangles with Confederate zealots and a paramilitary group. He knows if he does not save the girl, he can kiss his last drink goodbye—along with his life. VERDICT Guillebeau brings the emotional turmoil of his damaged protagonist to its peak while giving him good reasons to persevere. While the Russian mob, right-wing modern Confederates, and a paramilitary group might seem like overkill, the plot never wavers off-track, and the collection of oddball minor characters and surprise twists deepen an already strong story. An engrossing debut. [See Prepub Alert, 10/8/12.]