By: Andrew Diamond
Publisher: Stolen Time Press
Publication Date: January 16, 2024
Review Date: December 13, 2023
Mystery and crime author Andrew Diamond is back with his newest book, The Sellout, set to be released next month. The Sellout is the story of a poor, struggling writer whose previous honest literary works have not yielded him any success. Deviating from his norm, he has now written a thriller full of plot holes and stereotypes and to his utter surprise, his newest book has him on the verge of fame and fortune.
Joe McElwee has been writing thoughtful works of fiction for years, and he has nothing to show for it. He has had to make ends meet by teaching creative writing to undergrads, which essentially amounted to reading piles of poorly written papers, while trying to offer constructive feedback without crushing the dreams of hopeful college students. In addition to needing to supplement his writing income, Joe was also still living as a bachelor at age 43, eating beans and ramen noodles and driving his old, barely-running Chevy. Joe’s newest book, Extraordinary Joe, has garnered praise from friends he hadn’t heard from in years, likening him to Niall Turner, a bestselling author who Joe happens to despise for his poorly developed plots and characters in his stories. However, Joe’s good friend, Veronica, who also owns the bookstore at which Joe does his book readings, is not so quick to offer him congratulations. She feels, instead, that he has sold out and written a book without any heart. She is not shy about letting him know how she feels as he leaves her bookstore after his book reading one cold December afternoon.
The next thing Joe remembers is waking up with a pounding headache in an unfamiliar room with his hand clutching a bloody knife. On the floor next to him he sees a pile of cash and jewels. Joe eventually recalls what Veronica called out to him as he was leaving: “I think an author who writes crappy novels should be punished by having to live inside the novel of an even crappier author.” As this memory comes back to him, he realizes that Veronica has put a curse on him and sent him to live in 1940s Los Angeles, complete with poorly developed characters, plot holes and mindless action, all courtesy of the author he loathes, Niall Turner. Judging from how Joe wakes up, he assumes he has just committed a murder, so it is now up to him to figure out who he can trust in this alternate universe and ultimately, to solve this murder and get back to his real life.
The Sellout is truly one of the most unique books I have ever had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. The plot is so quirky and unusual, but Diamond makes it simply work and flow in his story. I felt like I was reading a story within a story, and it was simply intriguing the entire time. I was so curious as to how Joe would solve the mystery and get himself back to his real life, and Diamond does not disappoint with this aspect of the story at all. Diamond truly had a challenge when developing his characters for this book, since essentially several of the main characters had two different roles to play. This seems like it could have been a monumental task, but Diamond handled it flawlessly.
Quill says: With The Sellout, Diamond has crafted a truly unique story that is intriguing, suspenseful, and action-packed, complete with an utterly unpredictable ending that will leave its readers stunned.
To learn more about The Sellout, please visit the author’s website at: adiamond.me/