Although E.J. Copperman's Edited Out is fun with its dry humor and old movie references, I'd still recommend that readers start with the first in the series, Written Off. It's easier to suggest that than to explain how Rachel Goldman, a mystery writer, with a series about a police consultant named Duffy Madison, now has to cope with the missing persons consultant named Duffy Madison who insists she's his creator. He has no memory of existence previous to five years earlier when she started the series.
Duffy's latest suggestion boggles Rachel's mind. She wrote that he went to high school in Poughkeepsie, New York. The high school yearbook only shows a blank space where his photo should be. Why don't they go to Poughkeepsie and see if anyone he graduated with recognizes him? Or, was he really the student with the same initials who bears a resemblance to the adult Duffy Madison? Rachel is so confused between the fictional character and the actual man that she's having a hard time putting her character in jeopardy. That's exactly what happens to the two of them when they talk to people in New York. No one remembers Duffy Madison. But, that man with the same initials? He disappeared five years ago, and no one has seen him since. Duffy is convinced the man is dead. As Rachel and Duffy get deeper and deeper into the past, they put themselves in jeopardy. Duffy's arrested, and Rachel doesn't know what to think.
Copperman's latest mystery is a dialogue-rich, convoluted romp. Rachel Goldman tells the story, but sometimes Duffy Madison's actions and thought patterns get away from her. She understands him better than anyone else. She created the character that bears a striking resemblance to the man she now deals with, so she recognizes his idiosyncrasies. But, she's still confused whether the absence of a history will prove she wrote Duffy Madison into existence. It's a conundrum that leaves her struggling with her storytelling.
When it comes to storytelling, Copperman's humor is original. Rachel Goldman can be sarcastic, but her humor rolls right off of Duffy Madison, who is a Sherlock Holmes caricature. If there's something that is dry slapstick, Copperman writes it in the latest Mysterious Detective story, Edited Out.
E.J. Copperman's website is ejcopperman.com
Edited Out by E.J. Copperman. Crooked Lane. 2017. ISBN 9781683311300 (hardcover), 336p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.