Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery

John M. Daniel. Oak Tree (www.oaktreebooks.com), $14.95 trade paper (210p) ISBN 978-1-61009-061-2
Pleasant and unusually good-natured, this novel from Daniel (The Poet’s Funeral) harkens back to a time when printed books mattered and an independent bookstore could be a social club for passionately eccentric bibliophiles. Tall, bearded, and helplessly stuttering, Hooperman “Hoop” Johnson is happy to be hired at Maxwell’s Books in Palo Alto, Calif., in the summer of 1972, even if his secret assignment is not to take care of the books but to find out how big chunks of the store’s inventory are disappearing. Hoop becomes acquainted with Maxwell’s squabbling employees and begins a romance with Lucinda Baylor, one of the suspects in a case that turns out to be larger than amateur shoplifting. In fact, the effort to identify the thief soon takes a backseat to Daniels’s exploration of the odd quirks of human nature, as flashbacks reveal how Hoop became the person he is and lead to a sweet, gently satisfying conclusion. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/16/2013
Genre: Fiction
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