On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
BGM Press (October 11, 2018)
Paperback: 287 pages
Digital: ASIN: B07H68L6XR
Mysterious attacks. Mischievous nieces. Can a clueless uncle catch a tech-savvy killer … and be home before bedtime?
When a freak accident hospitalizes Marty Golden’s sister and condemns him to babysitter duty, he thinks it’s just another case of hardwired bad luck in Silicon Valley. Until a suspicious murder suggests the mishap was no mere coincidence. Something must be done.
Too bad this quirky, fashion-backward uncle isn’t exactly hero material.
Convinced his sister is in mortal danger, this amateur sleuth follows clues to an oddball array of suspects. Armed with nothing but an eye for detail and powers of self-delusion, Marty tangles with gangsters, a cantankerous school secretary, and a perplexing woman he can’t help but fall for. Glitches in his investigation seem like a piece of cake compared to dinner-prep and bedtime stories with his two precocious, pre-teen nieces.
Can Marty catch the culprit, save his sister, and get his life back in order before he gets unplugged?
Uncle and Ants is the first novel in a refreshingly modern mystery series set in Silicon Valley. If you like clever humor, sassy side characters, and average Joes facing extraordinary circumstances, then you’ll love this twisty mystery.
We meet Marty Golden when he is notified his sister has been injured in a scary car accident. She will be in the hospital for a while and Marty needs to step up and take care of her daughters. The man isn’t really equipped to be an all-star uncle but with a little help from his neighbor, Mrs. Kim, he is able to take care of the girls.
Back at the hospital, a mislabeled room leads to the death of one of the patients. Marty knows right away the woman was murdered and that his sister was the real target but with her unconscious, he is grasping at straws to figure out why. He finds a couple of clues on his sister’s calendar and decides to investigate on his own. He isn’t any better equipped for that task either but he soldiers on to get answers and protect his sister. Hopefully, he survives the endeavor.
Oh, my stars! Marty Golden is a hoot and half. Self-proclaimed computer nerd, Marty is a software engineer who writes code for Rover, a company that features a driverless car service. Just use their app to order your car and it shows up to take you wherever you want to go. With the right command, it will even wait for you and take you to another destination.
He works with Raj, who is from India who is learning American idioms. Their dialogues cracked me up. His sister Laney recently moved to town and is an HR consultant. She has two daughters, Skye is “twelve going on thirty” and Megan is “nine or eight, or possibly a mature seven”. Skye has a very interesting science fair project, the effectiveness of different feeding regimens of Dorymyrmex insanus, which translates to “crazy ants”. Megan tells her uncle her project is studying milkshakes and that is more up his alley.
These core characters are all cleverly written and genuine. The school secretary though is quite a character. She takes her job very seriously and that makes her a thorn in Marty’s side. I loved it! The police detective, a former underwear model, also takes his job seriously but doesn’t take Marty seriously at all.
The story moves along at a good clip as Marty travels to try to figure out what kind of trouble his sister is in. Sometimes he even shows up at work to do his actual job. His excursions even take him to a dream employer but before he leaves there he kills any option of ever actually working there. Another laugh-out-loud moment. I will say solving the mystery was not easy, Mr. Jedel twisted the clues up nicely.
I really enjoyed this story and the characters. Marty is an unusual protagonist and I was totally entertained by his antics. Uncle and Ants is a great debut for this author and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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About the Author
Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. He credits his years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley for honing his writing skills and sense of humor. While his high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, these were just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.
For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. As he’s gotten older, he’s encountered more funny and odd people and situations. This has made it even easier for him to write what he knows and make up the rest. It’s a skill that’s served him well, both as an author and marketer.
The publication of Marc’s first novel, UNCLE AND ANTS, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. This leads to much more interesting conversations with people than answering, “marketing.” Becoming an Amazon best-selling author has only made him more insufferable.
Visit his website, marcjedel.com, for free chapters of novels, special offers, and more.
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This was from my private collection.