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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Stanley Pearl is a romantic comedy novel written by Maddie Cochere. In the book he was writing, Stanley’s hero was a hard-boiled private eye named Harry, a noir hero whose action-packed and intrigue-filled life seemed far different from Stanley’s own prosaic existence. In his real life, Stanley was the dad of a precocious 13-year-old boy, one who actually shared his own knowledge of the birds and bees with his naive and not at all with-it dad. Stanley’s wife, Mona, had left her husband and son in no large part because of his ordinariness and the lack of excitement in their lives, and had run off to the West Coast with her new artist-boyfriend.
Stanley’s life was about to change, however, in ways that no one, especially he, or even his fictional anti-hero, Harry, could have envisioned. It all began with a phone call from one of his accounting practice clients. Geraldine Archway had old money, and loads of it, and she had thrown a good deal of business Stanley’s way. She hammered right through Stanley’s protest that he wasn’t taking on any more clients and demanded that he see her nephew, Morty, the next day. She said Morty had some problems with his books, and that Stanley should fix them. Against his own desires and better judgment, Stanley agreed -- and that was precisely when all his problems began.
Stanley Pearl is a fun and fast-paced darkly humorous story about an accountant and single dad’s sudden immersion into a life of intrigue, danger and even soul-shattering romance. Cochere’s plot is sly and masterful as she parallels her hero’s life with that of his fictional character. Stanley’s tale is part delayed coming of age, part mid-life crisis, and seeing him develop from an otherworldly and somewhat reclusive accountant into a suave man of action is entertaining indeed. The author’s characters are credible and real, and her story delivers on a number of levels. Stanley Pearl is most highly recommended.