Sunday, July 30, 2023

Far Out by Khaled Talib

Far OutFar Out by Khaled Talib
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story is unique, strong, and compelling, with twists coming when you least expect them.

Far Out by author Khaled Talib is an intriguing modern mystery that will delight readers with surprising and fun glimpses into the past when one of the main characters mistakenly believes she's a 1960s hippie private eye after suffering a head injury in a car accident. As movie star Goldie Saint Helen randomly lapses into her free-spirited and anti-CIA alter-ego, Gypsy Star, her husband Blake Deco goes along with her delusion, hoping she'll soon overcome this temporary condition. However, he soon discovers unscrupulous forces behind the scenes are trying to take advantage of his wealthy wife's vulnerable state, and they are not above murder to get what they want.

Goldie has made a name for herself as an actress and is riding the wave of her talent, fame, and fortune. Despite her immense success, I liked that she's remained humble, kind, and generous. Goldie's lapses into the persona of Gypsy Star, the 60s hippie detective character she is to play in her upcoming film, come randomly as the "medication" Blake has discovered keeps her present in the real world wears off. Gypsy is bullheaded, blunt, and crude compared to Goldie but was so much fun to "watch." I loved how anything incongruous in Gypsy's eyes was altered in her mind to be consistent with the 1960s' time frame or deemed CIA technology to spy on the people.

Blake Deco loves and supports his wife in her career and has earned himself a reputation as a screenwriter. But it is his skills from his previous life in the military and Homeland Security and an old friend from those days that will help him the most to get to the bottom of their current dilemma. I loved the idea of the restaurant Mama Tacos and the secrets hidden within.

The underlying plot against Goldie cleverly unfolds bit by bit. The characters travel to diverse neighborhoods and even out of the country at one point. I particularly enjoyed the author's descriptions of Hollywood, Los Angeles, and the surrounding areas, especially those of actual locations. Blake and Jack's trip to Koreatown was wild and entertaining. The author's storytelling is strong and compelling, with twists coming when you least expect them. I was floored by what the bad guys had dreamed up to frame Goldie and Blake and couldn't put the book down from then on.

With its clever plot, unique twists, and engaging characters, I recommend FAR OUT to mystery readers, especially those who enjoy stories set in Hollywood with a fun bit of celebrity name-dropping.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.

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