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Material Things
Larry Spencer’s riveting, interlocking narratives circle the lives of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis and Christopher Styles, in a 1970s California backdrop that takes them from owning and operating a fashionable clothing boutique into the gripping world of an FBI under cover operation, drug trafficking, prostitution and a nefarious criminal element, that brings to light a Mafia contract killer, who’s out to bump off a stoolie in their midst. Material Things is based on true events surrounding the store that introduced bellbottom jeans to a hip Southern California crowd and how it became, not only a cottage industry but also an arena fraught with danger and moral strife that put the store and it’s owners under close scrutiny after an alarming number of felonious activities surface. The climax is anything but conventional as Matthew, Jon and Christopher are confronted with a life threatening reality that they never imagined could happen just by selling bellbottom pants.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot:Spencer’s tale about friendship, drugs, crime and betrayal is energetically paced. Focusing on fewer twists and turns could enhance the novel – the current storyline might confuse readers at times, but they will never become bored. 

Prose/Style:Spencer’s use of prose is solid, but sometimes a bit blunt. However, it is fitting to the genre and does justice to the narrative. 

Originality:The story of suicide, murder and betrayal is a narrative that is told many times, but the fact that it is based on true events lends to the plot’s credibility. The introduction of so many characters results in a somewhat chaotic tale, but the reader that perseveres will enjoy seeing the story develop. 

Character Development:The characters are believable, but could use a bit more development in their origins and motives. 

Date Submitted: April 02, 2019

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