The Sellout

Fiction - Thriller - General
227 Pages
Reviewed on 12/29/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Sellout is a sleuth mystery thriller by Andrew Diamond. Joe McElwee has finally attained mainstream success with a pulpy thriller bestseller after spending years on literary works that left him financially destitute. However, his recent success can't satisfy his conscience or his friend, Veronica Wentworth, who was a fan of his earlier works. Veronica puts a curse on Joe that somehow catapults him into the world of a hugely popular thriller writer Joe loathes, Niall Turner. He suddenly finds himself in 1940s Los Angeles as one of the Turnerverse protagonists, Joey Sternjaw. Now, he has to solve the murder of a wealthy woman whose married granddaughter, Dorothy, is having an affair with Joe. Meanwhile, Veronica is also in this world as a femme fatale. Will Joe be able to solve the mystery and return home unscathed?

Andrew Diamond has crafted an entertaining part satire, part sleuth mystery yarn that pokes fun at mass market action thrillers with hilarious results. The Sellout tells the tale of an author struggling to tread the fine line between literary accomplishment and financial success without compromising his creativity. The story is divided into three parts, with the narrative seamlessly switching genres between drama, satire, thriller, romance, and even comedy. Joe is a multifaceted protagonist with inner turmoil over his choices and decisions, and it makes him such a fascinating character to follow. Both Veronica and Dorothy have distinct personalities and bring something unique of their own to the narrative. The ending is somewhat bittersweet yet satisfying nonetheless. I think sleuth mystery enthusiasts and thriller lovers will find a lot to love in The Sellout!

Natalie Soine

The Sellout by Andrew Diamond is a gripping thriller that delves into the dark side of success, identity, and the consequences of compromising one's artistic integrity. A struggling writer, Joe McElwee, achieves unexpected fame and fortune with a blockbuster thriller. However, his success comes at a cost when he mysteriously wakes up in the fictional world created by a bestselling but formulaic author, Niall Turner. Trapped in the Turnerverse, Joe must navigate a poorly constructed narrative, solve a murder, and confront the ethical dilemma of his newfound success. As he grapples with his altered reality, Joe is forced to confront the choices that led him to this surreal existence and question the price of selling out.

Author Andrew Diamond masterfully weaves a compelling narrative that explores the intricate relationship between art, commercial success, and personal integrity. The Sellout engaged me with its thought-provoking themes, clever storytelling, and protagonist caught in a literary nightmare. Diamond's writing blends mystery, satire, and psychological depth, creating a novel that entertains while prompting reflection on the sacrifices artists make for success. The characters, especially Joe McElwee, Dorothy, Veronica, and Greenback are vividly portrayed, adding layers to the narrative as they grapple with the consequences of their choices. Diamond's exploration of the literary world, creativity, and the impact of compromise adds a unique dimension to the thriller genre. The Sellout is a thought-provoking and entertaining read that captivated me from beginning to end, showcasing Diamond's talent for crafting engaging and meaningful stories filled with surprises, twists, and turns.

Lex Allen

Years of writing thoughtful, heartfelt literary fiction have brought Joe McElwee nothing but poverty and obscurity. His blockbuster formulaic thriller, full of mindless action and tired but proven tropes, has him on the verge of wealth and fame. Joe's friend Veronica, a staunch supporter of his honest early work, criticizes him for selling out. Veronica curses him, forcing him to live as a character inside the novel of an author he despises, the bestselling hack Niall Turner. He's now in 1940's Los Angeles, and his character has apparently committed murder!

"An author who writes crappy novels should be punished by having to live inside the novel of an even crappier author." And the next thing Joe knows, he awakens in 1940s Los Angeles smack in the middle of Turnerverse. This line alone sets the stage for a fascinating, and to my knowledge, unique plotline that accurately describes and demonstrates the genius of author Andrew Diamond. Not only is the concept one I would think impossible to assemble in any form or fashion, but Diamond demonstrates fascinating attention to detail in meeting the multitude of challenges in characterization, intertwining individual plotlines, and keeping the reader guessing, a key goal in detective thrillers, especially those written in the heyday and style of pulp fiction. Most readers will look for that all-important happy ending, where the hero McElwee saves the day and gets out of Turner's universe to live happily ever after with Veronica, writing detective novels that stand head and shoulders above the drivel his nemesis Turner cranks out — think again!