Thursday, August 14, 2014


KumquatKumquat by Jeff Strand

Beta-male Todd Bryan meets the girl of his dreams, Amy Husk, who shares his obsession with Exit Red, a long running television show. Turns out Amy has an inoperable brain aneurysm and not much of a shelf life left. Together, they go on a road trip to Rhode Island for a hot dog and much much more...

This is the twenty-sixth book in my Kindle Unlimited Experiment. For the 30 day trial, I'm only reading books that are part of the program and keeping track what the total cost of the books would have been.

So, that Jeff Strand is one smooth sea otter. "How smooth?" several of you ask. He's so smooth he got me to read something that some might consider to be a romance novel. I wouldn't say it's a romance, however. It reminds me of that Zach Braff flick The Garden State, only good instead of fairly boring.

Kumquat is about the relationship between two people who know they don't have a whole lot of time together. They go on a road trip, have a series of misadventures, and wind up at a sci-fi convention for a purpose I will not divulge here.

Strand and I both ventured outside our comfort zone for this one but not too far afield. You can still see our respective comfort zones in the distance. Strand's trademark dark humor is present, only without the gore or horror, although I suppose if you wanted to nitpick, you could say Amy's impending door gives it a horror element. Stop picking nits, though! What are we, chimps?

The story is chock full of dark humor, geek references, and some tender moments between Todd and Amy. As usual, Strand has quoteable lines on every page, like "At least she didn't say she had herpes" or "Virtually every social situation I'm part of ends without me having intercourse."

Each chapter is headed with a quote from Exit Red, the show they share a love for, which also sounds like the best TV show that never existed aside from that Fantastic Four series starring the guy that played the professor on Gilligan's Island. Google it.

Anyway, I dreaded the ending of this the whole way through, picturing myself sobbing like a teenage girl at the end of Titanic. Fortunately, the ending wasn't what I thought it would be, though I shared Todd's dread for most of the book.

I wasn't planning on giving this a five but I guess I'm a big softy despite my hard-boiled exterior. Five out of five stars. Strand is an author to watch.

Current Kindle Unlimited Savings Total: $134.84.

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