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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Falling From The Light by Adam Smith follows the ultimate down on his luck guy, Charlie Doyle, as he attempts to navigate and piece back together the shards of his life. Charlie stands at the Thanksgiving table, carving a dry turkey, while his wife is fondled by his sister's husband under the same table just before the house is swallowed up in a sinkhole. A few months after, Charlie's nephew is disabled by a hit-and-run driver, for which Charlie is blamed. His daughter needs commissary money for jail because that's where she lives now, and being out of a job makes paying her attorney's fees impossible, compounded by Charlie literally dropping all that he owns of any value. A new job starts to pay off in 3% chunks--screwing homeowners trying to screw insurance companies out of settlements with a woman named Effie who wears liquid smoke as an occasional perfume and threatens to sit on Charlie's face. It all comes to a grinding halt once more and all anyone can say to him is, “Sorry, Charlie.”
I could not stop laughing while whipping my way through Falling From The Light. Adam Smith writes with a natural wit and the string of events barrel through at a constant and perfect pace. There is so much to laugh at, but my favorite part is when Charlie's father-in-law Frank, whose own insurance claim is under review, takes a selfie when he thinks nobody is looking in front of yet another neighbor's home in a sinkhole. The storyline of Charlie's nephew Benny being hit by a drunk driver and having it all blamed on Charlie threads throughout but it really is the banter between Charlie and Effie, who is a total firecracker of a woman and the true star of this novel, that takes the cake. Still, when Charlie begins to figure out what happened to Benny, that kicker of a twist is brilliant, and only topped by the next revelation of the same crime. Overall, this is a tightly-written intelligent comedy that, despite its length, is entertaining enough to get through in the course of a weekend. Very highly recommended.