The Bottom Line: A pacey and hilarious crime caper that will thrill fans of David Wong and Janet Evanovich.
Hollywood movie star Goldie Saint Helen isn’t herself after an accident on the Pacific Coast Highway. Unable to remember her real identity, she believes she’s living in the 1960s as a hippie detective who must save a teenage girl from a wild CIA drug experiment (it’s actually the plot of a role she’s been hired to play). She also thinks her husband Blake, a screenwriter, is her intern.
Schemers Denise Carlton and Frieda Spriggs (“Sounds like a woman who’d ride a Streetfighter”) know a good opportunity when they see one. In a plot to take control of Goldie’s estate, they plan to keep her in a funny farm while they complete their work. And if she suddenly recovers her memory? Well, repeated electrotherapy shocks or a lobotomy should do the trick. And that’s not just lip service. It’s clear they’ve gone to such dastardly lengths before.
Author Khaled Talib had us the moment Goldie exclaimed, “Screw the CIA!” The dialogue coming from Goldie’s lips is consistently entertaining (“I’ll eat whatever you’re eating. That way, you won’t feel like I’m using you”), and her 60s hipster dialogue (“cool cat,” etc) keeps it light. The on-page chemistry between her and Blake is also a winner. Compared to Goldie’s lunacy, Blake comes off as a logical saint, and watching him gradually understand that there’s a real crime in play alongside Goldie’s imagined one is memorable. Most importantly, Talib endears these characters to us quickly, which makes the book fully captivating throughout.
Talib keeps the pace moving with short, tightly-written chapters that are chock-full of action and one-liners. All-in-all, Far Out is a taut, fun ride that can be enjoyed on a long flight. Bravo.