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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Search of Gwen Guattari by Hamilton Waymire

In Search of Gwen Guattari by Hamilton Waymire
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (10 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When porn starlet Gwen Guattari fails to show up for the shooting of The Gwen Commandments, her shady husband and manager hires private eye Benson Keirstad to find her. Keirstad soon learns that none of the people around Gwen, from producer to husband to secretary, are quite what they seem.

It’s easy to assume the worst when someone you love goes missing. The definition of the term worst, though, depends on who you ask. Have they been kidnapped? Did they run off with someone? Was anyone else involved in their disappearance?

Benson Keirstand is a difficult guy to like. From the moment he meets Gwen’s husband Horace and the other porn stars at 1000 Volt he judges their body art, occupations and trustworthiness in the blink of an eye. To make matters worse, he lets his assumptions about their lives cloud how he interacts with them. Yet despite this I found myself rooting for Benson as he conducts his investigation. It’s not easy to confront prejudices you may not even be fully aware you possess. I’ve certainly been embarrassed by things I’ve said and done without thinking in the past, especially when I don’t realize until much later how they may have come across.

The premise of this story snagged my attention immediately. At first I assumed Benson’s prejudices were going to be challenged as he inched closer to the truth. It was disappointing to see how stereotypically the porn star characters in particular were portrayed. This tale could have easily earned a higher rating had Benson met even one porn star at 1000 Volt whose well-adjusted life pleasantly surprised him. The plot was quite engaging but I just couldn’t get past the fact that an otherwise great mystery was so predictable in its characterization.

In Search of Gwen Guattari kept me on my toes. It’s a good choice for anyone who has ever wished they could sit down and talk with a character in their favorite book. Benson’s biggest flaw turns out to also be what made this reader eventually sympathize with him. He’s definitely not a perfect person. Then again, neither am I or you!

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