Hooperman-John M. Daniel

John M. Daniel
Oak Tree, Nov 1 2013, $14.95
ISBN 9781610090612

In 1972 stutterer Hooperman Johnson works as a shipping clerk at Maxwell’s Books in Palo Alto, California. Hoop enjoys being with the books though his actual assignment is to learn how major theft of the merchandise was occurring.

The undercover Hoop knows that the amount of pilfering is way beyond simple shoplifting so he surmises an employee must be involved. He observes the petty fights between the workers and begins dating suspect Lucinda Baylor; though he rationalizes that romancing her makes for a smart cover.

More a character study of eccentricity than a whodunit, Hooperman is a wonderful cozy that uses flashbacks to enable the audience to better understand what makes the bookstore cop tick while Hoop’s stuttering is superbly handled to include his embarrassment and harassment. Homage to a throwback to an era when the Indies mattered as social meeting places (and Amazon was a river), readers will appreciate this engaging nostalgic look back to life in a bookstore.

Harriet Klausner

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