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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Stumbling Stoned is the opening book in The Patchwork Prince series by A. Van Wyck, an urban fantasy featuring an unusual character, a world of drugs and magic, cannibalism, and an adventure of love. Readers are introduced to a hilarious character who claims to know only two phrases in French: “Where is the toilet?” and “Is your daughter eighteen?” And for him, they must have been witty conversation starters when he was still “sane.” He lives in a nut house, which is “not exactly Auschwitz.” Jean Dupont has just escaped from the Shady Oaks Mental Health Clinic, barely remembering anything about his identity, except his name and the fact that a week ago he was a vegetable. So, he seeks the help of private detective Paul Plouff to uncover the truth about his past. But is he ready for what the detective will find out?
This is a novel with powerful psychological underpinnings and great plot lines. The narrative is in the first person and in present tense — skillfully handled — something that gives the story a strong sense of realism; it’s as though the action is taking place before the reader’s eyes. The tone, the prose, the unusually beautiful turn of phrase are elements that will have readers turning pages, absorbed in the streams of consciousness of the narrator and utterly possessed by the unique humor that permeates the narrative. The first contact between the protagonist and the detective, Paul Plouff, is just one of the numerous instances where the author’s gift for humor comes out strikingly. When Jean Dupont introduces himself to Plouff, he says he wants Plouff to locate someone for him, and when he names the person, Plouff is surprised, because he is already there, but the detective is quick to understand this isn’t a physical locating of someone.
The characters are well-developed and readers will root for the protagonist — an intelligent, humorous, and lost soul, but a man determined to uncover the truth about his past. Stumbling Stoned is a masterpiece, a work with a cunning plot and awesome writing, interspersed with witticism and great dialogues. Emotionally engaging and psychologically compelling. You won’t put it down. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.