Review: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Publisher: Redhook

Published: October 2015

Pages: 320


Veronica Mars meets the World of Warcraft in The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss, a mystery romp with a most unexpected heroine.

If it were up to me this book would be called Hilarious Things That Happened That Were Not At All Dahlia’s Fault — or HTTHTWNAADF, for short.

OK, I probably shouldn’t have taken money from a mysterious eccentric to solve a theft, given that I’m not a detective, and that I am sometimes outwitted by puzzles in children’s video games. I probably shouldn’t have stolen bags of trash from a potential murder suspect. Arguably — just arguably, mind you — it may have been unwise to cos-play at an event where I was likely to be shot at.

But sometimes you just have to take some chances, right? And maybe things do get a little unfortunate. What of it? If you ask me, an unfortunate decision here or there can change your life. In a positive way, just so long you don’t get killed in the process. Admittedly, that’s the tricky bit.

My Thoughts…

This book was incredibly funny! I loved Dahlia from the very beginning: she is smart and sarcastic just to the right point. Ok, so admittedly she has some issues: moping over her cheating ex-boyfriend, Dahlia has become totally isolated from all of her former friends and to top it all off has been unemployed for a very long time. In this, Dahlia is a somewhat exaggerated version of your average young adult in a big city: who hasn’t endured the seemingly-never-ending pain of fruitless job interviews and non-existent personal life while your former classmates get married and promoted all around you? Of course, it rarely gets as bad as Dahlia has it.

The plot is nothing too original, in that it’s your average cozy mystery: Dahlia gets hired by a rich eccentric to solve a digital theft in the world of Zoth, only to find out a few days later that her new employer has been murdered with the exact replica of the item she was hired to recover. A series of unfortunate decisions bring Dahlia ever closer to finding the thief – and unmasking a killer in the process. All the while, trying to stay alive of course.

If the mystery itself isn’t anything new, the execution is what made this book a delight to read. I really couldn’t stop giggling by myself while reading, and a few times I couldn’t help but outright laugh at loud at the witty banter and sarcasm that Dahlia never fails to employ. And she doesn’t do it alone: the rest of the cast is just as colourful and funny as our lead, and the absurdity of the situations they end up living really made this book a bright spot in an incredibly busy week.

If you’re looking for an intelligent and funny read, then look no further! The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss is just what you need to unwind and relax after a long day, to bring sunshine to a dark day, to make you look like a mad person if you’re reading it in public, or even if you need some handy tips on starting your own detective business. Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting out with a dead client… but then again, it worked for Dahlia Moss!

Rating: 4/5


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