Fletch by Gregory McDonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When posing as a drug addict on the beach to find out the source of the beach's main dealer, Fletch is hired by a rich man dying of cancer to kill him. But does Alan Stanwyk really have cancer? That's what Fletch wants to find out...
I've watched both Fletch movies but not for a couple decades at least. When this popped up on one of my cheap-o ebook emails, I snapped it up.
Fletch the book is a pretty good dialogue-driven mystery. Fletch the character is a smooth talker, a man not afraid to tell bold faced lies to get the information he wants. While he shares the dry deliver of Chevy Chase from the movie Fletch, he's no Chevy Chase. There are no shots of Fletch falling down, no acting like an idiot, no Doctor Rosenpenis. The I.M. Fletchter of the book is a much darker character, a Vietnam vet who treats people like crap and throws cats out of seven story windows if the mood strikes him. He also shares a sleeping bag with a fifteen year old junkie on the beach.
Like the movie, the book is full of quotable dialogue. I eventually quit highlighting things and just tore through the book. It's very readable and probably 75% dialogue. It tipped to what was going on in both plot threads but I wasn't very far ahead of Fletch. I enjoyed it while I was reading it but not enough to grab another book in the series. Hell, the ending makes it seem like there shouldn't be any more books. I imagine McDonald caved to pressure to write more, though.
Fletch is a lot darker than the movie version but still an enjoyable read. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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